While there’s plenty of talk to suggest Malcolm Turnbull could soon be ousted as prime minister, Liberals including Christopher Pyne and Scott Morrison insist that a leadership spill is not on the cards.
On Tuesday’s episode of Sunrise, host “Kochie” Koch grilled Pyne over the problems facing the coalition and who specifically was pushing for Turnbull to lose the top job. The host said the “nutty end” of the Liberals were stirring the pot when it came to a leadership spill and encouraged Pyne to out them.
“Come on,” he said. “Who are these people?”
Pyne said it wasn’t his job but Koch wasn’t having any of it.
“Yes it is. Come on. Grow a pair. You know who’s pushing for this,” Kochie hissed.
“Well David, maybe you know who they are too,” Pyne said. “Perhaps you should grow a pair because I’m sure you hear their phone calls as well. I’m not going to out anonymous people because I don’t know exactly who they are.”
Fired up, Koch then wanted to talk about the controversy surrounding Peter Dutton.
“Let’s talk about Peter Dutton. A couple of days ago he says he will not challenge. He will not run. Is he lying or telling the truth?” Kochie asked.
Pyne said he was certain Dutton was telling the truth.
“I’ve spoken to Peter Dutton. He’s told me Malcolm Turnbull has his absolute support,” Pyne told the Sunrise host. “That’s what he’s said consistently. I’ve spoken to almost all the cabinet ministers from the Liberal Party. Every one of them has told me they support the leader.
“If there are people who are saying behind the scenes that’s not true, I guess they have to examine their own conscience.”
Kochie wanted further clarification and continued to grill Pyne.
“Okay, so Peter Dutton has looked you in the eye and said, ‘Mate, I will not challenge the leader?’”
Pyne again clarified that Dutton supports Turnbull leading the party to the next election and winning the next election. Koch was then curious to know where all the talk was coming from and wanted to know who was stirring the spot.
“As you pointed out, there are people who work behind the scenes who are obviously disgruntled for one reason or another and they have been working behind the scenes probably for some time,” Pyne said. “At least Tony Abbott is publicly out there calling for a change and I think that the public would react very negatively to another change of leadership without them having a vote.
Koch also told Pyne he thought Turnbull showed weakness by backing down on the energy policy and questioned why he didn’t stand up to the “nutters” in the party.