PM Malcolm Turnbull didn’t hold back.
PM Malcolm Turnbull didn’t hold back.

Turnbull’s savage sledge to rival

AFTER his cringe-worthy press conference yesterday, you'd be forgiven for thinking we wouldn't see Malcolm Turnbull come out firing today.

With his Prime Ministership in tatters after a string of Ministers deserted him and former home affairs minister Peter Dutton priming for the role, the PM finally faced the cameras.

And what he gave Australians was the sort of performance we hadn't seen from him in a long while.

And a big up yours to Mr Dutton.

And former prime minister Tony Abbott.

And the MPs sniping within the party room.

But of course it was too little too late.

When the party room meeting is held at midday tomorrow, the PM will stand aside and the Liberals will elect a new leader.

And he'll leave in a way that Mr Abbott never did when he was rolled by Mr Turnbull in 2015.

When asked if he would stay on as Wentworth MP he had this biting response aimed directly at Mr Abbott.

"No I made it very clear that I believe former prime ministers are best out of the Parliament and I don't think there's much evidence to suggest that that conclusion is correct," he said.

"It's not correct."

‘Oh hi, Tone, I have one final thing to say.’
‘Oh hi, Tone, I have one final thing to say.’

It's a far cry from Mr Abbott's comments after he was knocked off from the top job: "There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping. I've never leaked or backgrounded against anyone. And I certainly won't start now."

But Mr Turnbull wasn't finished there.

"Australians will be rightly appalled by what they're witnessing in their nation's Parliament today and in the course of this week," he said.

And he also had a final dig at Mr Dutton, who he defeated in a leadership spill 48-35 on Tuesday.

Basically, if you have the support of 43 Liberal MPs like you say you do, send me the letter.

Mr Turnbull's up yours to Mr Dutton was over doubts whether he may have breached the Constitution and be ineligible.

Mr Dutton's wife Kirilly owns and operates two childcare centres, owned by RHT Family Trust, of which the family are all beneficiaries, according to ASIC documents.

The business receives Commonwealth subsidies under the Government's childcare reforms, which came into effect on July 2. It has received $5.6 million in taxpayer-funded rebates over the past eight years, according to The Australian, which are passed on to families.

This could mean Mr Dutton has a "direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the Public Service of the Commonwealth", or a case of an office of profit under the Crown, which would lead to a disqualification from Parliament.

Not a fan of the bullies is Malcolm.
Not a fan of the bullies is Malcolm.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said in a statement last night that he had referred questions over Mr Dutton's eligibility to sit in Parliament to the Solicitor-General.

Mr Turnbull wasn't letting Mr Dutton forget that either.

"It's important that before the party meeting is held, we have access to the advice of the Solicitor-General on the eligibility of Mr Dutton to sit in the Parliament," he said.

"I cannot underline too much how important it is that anyone who seeks to be Prime Minister of Australia is eligible to be a member of Parliament because a minister, let alone a Prime Minister, who is not eligible to sit in the House is not capable of validly being a minister or exercising any of the powers of a minister.

"So you can understood how important this issue is."

Mr Turnbull says the Solicitor-General should have a decision by tomorrow morning, so Mr Dutton can sweat until then.

Then he talked about the bullies within the Liberal Party.

"What we have witnessed at the moment is a very deliberate effort to pull the Liberal Party further to the right.

"I won't get into the merits of that, but I just say that what began as a minority has by a process of intimidation, you know, persuaded people that the only way to stop the insurgency is to give in to it.

"I do not believe in that. I have never done that. I have never given in to bullies, but you can imagine the pressure it's put people under."

And finally the soon to be departing Prime Minister spoke for most Australians over the past three days.

"The public hate what is going on at the moment. They want everyone here to be focused on them. I have done everything I can to keep the Liberal Party and indeed the Coalition united."

Too little, too late for Malcolm. But he has at least gone out all guns blazing.


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