In his parting speech as prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull make a thinly veiled dig at some of his former colleagues – claiming “wreckers” and “insurgents” had plotted to end his career.
While he didn’t name Peter Dutton directly, it was the former immigration minister himself who made the first challenge for Liberal leadership against him.
Now, Dutton has insisted he’s not a wrecker and claimed in an interview with Seven News that he’s proud of his actions – which he believes will help the Liberal party win the next election.
Asked if he feels responsible for ending Turnbull’s political career, Dutton told the 7 reporter: “No and I’m very proud of the actions that we’ve taken.”
On Friday Turnbull was replaced as Liberal leader and PM by former treasurer Scott Morrison, leaving Dutton to suffer a massive defeat following his initial move to take the position himself.
However, he has now pledged his full loyalty to Morrison, and said on camera: “I think we’ve now got a man who’s honourable and will do well for our country.”
He added: “At the last election under Malcolm Turnbull, we lost 14 seats and 13 ministers resigned from cabinet. There were serious issues and we were on our way to annihilation at the next election. I think we’re now in a much better position.”
Dutton also confirmed he has been in talks over whether he will take back his home affairs position in government, but it is so far unconfirmed.
It comes after Turnbull slammed “wreckers” in parliament in his final press conference on Friday, insisting Aussie voters will have been left “dumbstruck and appalled” by the leadership spill scandal over the last few weeks.
“There was a determined insurgency from a number of people both in the party room and backed by voices, powerful voices, in the media, to bring down, not bring down the government, but bring down my prime ministership,” he said on the televised broadcast on ABC. “It was extraordinary. It was described as madness by many, and I think it’s difficult to describe it in any other way.”
Asked about the leadership spill more generally, Turnbull admitted: “Australians will be dumbstruck and so appalled by the conduct of the last few weeks.”
He added: “How the insurgents were not rewarded by electing Mr Dutton, for example, but instead my successor, who I wish the very best, of course, Scott Morrison, a very loyal and effective treasurer.”