No threat to Turnbull ahead of poll: Libs
Posted on 02/18/19 4:13 PM
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told colleagues he is delivering for the coalition.Conservative and moderate Liberals alike say there is no threat to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership ahead of a likely 30th Newspoll loss in a row.
Mr Turnbull cited former leader Tony Abbott’s 30 consecutive Newspoll losses when he toppled him in September 2015, but he’s now about to face the same benchmark.
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne insists no one in the community cares about Monday’s two-party preferred vote, which the coalition has not won since 2016.
“Sure there might be a bad Newspoll on Monday, nobody cares,” Mr Pyne told the Nine Network on Friday.
“We have a prime minister who will stay the prime minister and lead us to the next election and win.”
Other Liberals told AAP there was no chatter about Mr Turnbull’s leadership.
They say there is still hope for the prime minister to turn polling around, with Bill Shorten potentially facing some difficult by-elections if more MPs are referred to the High Court over their citizenship.
Conservative WA Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, a good friend of Mr Abbott, said ns would respect Mr Turnbull if he confronted the expected Newspoll loss head on.
“Just acknowledging the irony is probably a good way forward … Take it on the chin – that’s all he can do,” Mr Hastie said.
“I don’t think anyone’s entertaining the prospect of Tony returning.
“He’s a good friend, I have learned a lot from him, but I believe in stable government. I know there’s no chatter.”
Mr Turnbull is urging coalition MPs to look beyond Monday’s expected result.
“The strongest jobs growth in the nation’s history surely is a demonstration that our economic policies are working,” he told the n Financial Review.
“The confidence, the support for investment, the support for employment which we are delivering, is paying results.”
Mr Turnbull pledged to deliver economic leadership and a traditional cabinet government when he took over in 2015, and he said he had delivered both.
Former prime minister John Howard urged Liberal MPs to bury their differences.
“I don’t find any evidence in the party that people want a change of leader,” Mr Howard told ABC TV.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann reflected on how, in 2001, Mr Howard’s coalition was behind Labor, at 43 points to 57.
“The record shows that John Howard won the election later that year,” he told Sky News.