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Joyce accuses Turnbull of poisoning the Coalition Government

Politics

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has accused Malcolm Turnbull of “throwing him under the bus” and causing turmoil in the Liberal Party.

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Joyce, who was forced to resign earlier this year after having an extramarital affair with an employee, said the former prime minister was poisoning the Coalition Government.

“One of our big problems was Malcolm Turnbull … the person who threw me under the bus, but let’s put that to the side,” he told Sky News.

“He just started delivering this – almost this poisonous, incendiary approach now – in the assistance of trying to deliver us to opposition.”

Joyce is still furious at Turnbull for publicly denouncing his extramarital affair.

He is also angry at Turnbull for walking away from parliament after losing the leadership, and for supposedly not campaigning vocally enough for the Liberal Party candidate in his former seat of Wentworth.

Some Coalition MPs are also squeamish about Turnbull’s occasional public statements since leaving public office, especially those aimed at conservative colleagues who plotted his downfall.

Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie also took a swipe at Turnbull.

“I think former prime ministers of all colours should consider their legacy when they’re looking at their behaviour post-leaving parliament,” McKenzie said.

“I’m sure that every one of our MPs and senators is working hard to convince the Australian public that we will deliver for them.”

With the Coalition struggling to remain in control of parliament and languishing in opinion polls, Leader of the House Christopher Pyne has ruled out changing Liberal leaders again.

Former deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has confirmed she will recontest the next election and has not ruled out running for the leadership again in the future.

Research published by The Australian Institute this week found more Australians recognise Bishop than Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Appearing on the Nine Network today, Pyne was asked why the Liberal Party didn’t just “let Julie Bishop run the show” given her popularity.

“We have a leader, it’s Scott Morrison. We are not changing the leader again,” he said.

When asked if he was sure, Pyne replied: “Mmhmm, I am.”

Pressed on the government’s electoral prospects, he said the Coalition “has been in much worse positions than this”.

“Let’s not forget next April we are going to release a surplus budget, the first surplus budget since the Howard-Costello era,” Pyne said.

“There’s a lot to go between now and next election.”

– AAP

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