The Courier-Mail

8 GAY WEDDINGS DEBATE TRIAL

Latest captain’s pick comes at a price for Liberal fundraiser­s

- RENEE VIELLARIS THURSDAY AUGUST 13 2015 COURIERMAI­L.COM.AU

FRUSTRATED Liberal Party fundraiser­s are privately talking-up the joint leadership potential of Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull as they lament their inability to raise money under Tony Abbott’s prime ministersh­ip.

The message has reached the office of moderate Liberal Party frontbench­ers, who are fuming over Mr Abbott’s decision to prevent a conscious vote on gay marriage.

Described to The Courier-Mail yesterday by one frontbench office as “the worst captain’s pick” Mr Abbott had made, talks are re-emerging of Mr Turnbull (pictured) again not ruling out a challenge to Mr Abbott. However it is conceded the Communicat­ions Minister does not have the numbers.

One person has flagged a Julie Bishop-Malcolm Turnbull joint ticket – with Mr Turnbull becoming the deputy but handling the treasury portfolio.

Mr Turnbull said yesterday a conscience vote was consistent with Liberal Party tradition. “It would have meant the matter would be resolved in this Parliament, one way or another, in a couple of weeks,” Mr Turnbull said.

It is understood Ms Bishop argued for

a con- science vote but would have voted against gay marriage.

The moderates within the party are becoming more frustrated but also, more emboldened.

Some voiced their concerns about “ScoMo” (Social Services Minister Scott Morrison) and his ambitions.

The Courier-Mail was told yesterday to expect MPs to do more walk-throughs of Parliament House over the coming days – which allow them to be peppered with questions from reporters.

Sources have said the Liberal Party is struggling to raise money because of Mr Abbott, “and we are 12 months out from an election”.

The Liberal Party is worried about losing a number of seats at the election, especially in Victoria and South Australia.

One Canberra insider said Queensland fundraiser­s had complained they could not convince people to put their hands in their pockets for an Abbott Government.

Another was questionin­g “why the f--k do we care what people do in their bedrooms?” Moderate MPs say the PM’s call had condemned them.

“This was all about the PM shoring up the vote in the hard Right. People like Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz,” one highly placed source said.

“Now we don’t have a position (on marriage equality). After all that, what is our position?

“We look like idiots. We are a joke.”

PM’s sister on sad division over state of the union

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