Peter Dutton slams ‘slurs’ against wife amid clash with Malcolm Turnbull

Peter Dutton claimed his family has been emotionally affected by the slurs against his wife. Source: Twitter/ The Today Show

Peter Dutton has claimed he and his family have been hurt by the onslaught of “slurs” against his wife over her childcare business and suggestions he was profiting from Commonwealth funds allocated to the business.

The minister for home affairs has been embroiled in a heated debate with Malcolm Turnbull this week after claims the former prime minister questioned Dutton’s eligibility for leadership due to the family’s childcare business receiving government subsidies, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.

A new book by political journalist David Crowe claims Turnbull argued that Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove should not accept Dutton as prime minister if he came out on top during the leadership spill in August last year, claiming he might have been ineligible to sit in parliament. Under section 44 of the constitution MPs are prevented from having “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the public service of the commonwealth”.

On Friday, after a week of turmoil, the politician explained his reasoning for the renouncement in an interview on the Today show. Dutton claimed during the chat that the debacle has affected his family emotionally.

“My wife’s business is her business and the fact that my wife has been slurred repeatedly over the last couple of years is upsetting to me and my children frankly as well,” he admitted.

“I think this draws a line under it and puts it beyond any doubt whatsoever so that the political plays can’t continue.”

His comments follow a series of tweets from Turnbull, who explained in detail what apparently occurred during the leadership spill to see him seek advice from higher up.

“During the week of 24 August 2018 there was advice from leading constitutional lawyers Bret Walker that Dutton was ineligible to sit in the parliament and thus ineligible to be a minister, let alone Prime Minister,” he wrote. “I ensured I sought the advice of the Solicitor General.

“The SG’s advice was delivered on the morning of Friday 24th and duly published. His advice was that the ‘better view’ was that Dutton was eligible but it was ‘impossible to state that position with certainty’ and there was ‘some risk’ the High Court would rule he was ineligible.”

Turnbull continued: “I took the responsible course of action, obtained the necessary advice, published it and the Party Room was informed when it made its decision to elect Mr Morrison, rather than Mr Dutton, as leader.”

The tension between Dutton and Turnbull kicked off again on Monday when the home affairs minister sensationally claimed in a no-holds-barred TV interview that the former PM offered to dump Julie Bishop and make him deputy Liberal leader, after narrowly surviving the first leadership challenge in August, 2018.

In a clip from Sky News‘ two-part political documentary Bad Blood/New Blood Dutton also went on to claim he’d have been more successful as prime minister than current PM Scott Morrison.

“Malcolm came up to me after that partyroom meeting and said, ‘I want you to stay on as Home Affairs Minister’, and I said, ‘Malcolm, that position is untenable and I can’t accept that’,” Dutton told Sky News.

“It’s all pretty high-stakes discussions and a desire to see the best possible outcome, so in my mind an easy transition is always the best but … he [Turnbull] offered me the deputy leader position. I said to him, given what had just taken place, that wasn’t credible and it wasn’t his to gift either.”

Hearing the comments, Turnbull’s office slammed the claim as “nonsense”, according to The Australian, insisting he would never have attempted to replace Bishop while she held the position – nor was he in any position to make such an offer.

What do you think of Peter Dutton’s latest comments? Would you have supported him becoming Liberal leader or deputy leader?

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