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Pyne blames "shouty press" for Turnbull's demise


South Australian cabinet minister Christopher Pyne says he fears for the state of Australian political culture, blaming “shouty press” for Malcolm Turnbull’s demise as Prime Minister.

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With the parliamentary year set to begin tomorrow, the events of last year continue to haunt the government with Pyne suggesting the party bowed to irrational pressure in dumping Turnbull.

“I felt that the constant social media, shouty segment of the press, that keeps everybody on edge in this building all the time – and might actually not reflect at all the way the public think – had won, and that sensible people had bowed to that irrational pressure,” he told The Age. “And I thought that this is the Australian polity of the future. This is what we’ve now got. And it’s different to what I think is good for the country.”

He refused to name the “shouty” elements of the media, saying: “That’ll just ruin the rest of my life. I don’t need that.”

Pyne indicated some despair about Australia’s politics and the capacity for politicians to get things done for the future good of the nation. “I think it’s going to be very hard. And I can’t see that model changing. I just can’t see it changing.”

Pyne, a leading moderate, was a strong supporter of Turnbull amid last year’s leadership ructions, but confirmed to The Age that he helped guide moderate votes towards Scott Morrison because he believed he had a better chance of beating contender Peter Dutton than “best moderate” Julie Bishop.

He judged that Dutton would be “electorally unpopular except for probably in Queensland”.

Pyne’s revelation came as Morrison attempted to set a new tone for the first parliamentary sitting week of 2019, with an election looming in May.

The prime minister will today announce $78 million in fresh funding for families escaping domestic abuse, as part of a wider speech about domestic and international security.

He will also tell the National Press Club in Canberra about record defence spending over the coming decade and border protection.

“Our government has demonstrated we have the mettle to make the right calls on our nation’s security,” he is expected to tell the event, ahead of parliament returning on Tuesday.

“We have embraced tough calls rather than seeking to buy weak compromises for cheap political cover or opportunism.”

– with AAP

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