Voices calling for Malcolm Turnbull’s urgent resignation just got an almighty gust of wind at their backs.
Alan Jones this morning drilled NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader John Barilaro on one main question: should the Prime Minister resign? The answer pleased him.
At first, Jones asked a broader question in the context of the Queensland election.
Jones: The Queensland election was a disaster for both the major parties, Labor and the Coalition, but moreso for the Coalition … Now, Canberra is the problem isn’t it?
Barilaro: Oh look definitely Alan you’ve just touched on it … what really got my goat on Monday, and on Sunday, was to hear the Prime Minister of this nation turn around and say there were no federal issues that affected the State Government and the state election. I mean that’s just a joke. I mean if you’re out of touch, completely out of touch like that comment, which shows clearly that the federal issues were impacting on the way state voters were voting in the state election, in my mind it just shows there is no leadership. Y’know, often when you talk about leadership, you need leaders that can unify, and bring people together if you want to lead. You’ve got a party in disarray, a Coalition government in disarray and the community is not unified and that is all at the feet of the Prime Minister of Australia.
The second prompt was more direct.
Jones: So basically Turnbull should go?
Barilaro: Well look I’ve spent four days on the road, travelling through the Riverina, and the south of this state, talking with ordinary people, in small regional towns, and regardless of the message where we’re trying to sell, you know we had some great announcements and all that, I was often confronted by individuals, from all sides, from all politics on the political landscape, that kept talking about the lack of leadership federally.
The third push gave Turnbull a script for the resignation speech.
Jones: Should Turnbull recognise that he is the problem and listen to people like you and simply say “look, in the interests of the party and the nation I am resigning let a new regime begin”?
Barilaro: Look definitely look Turnbull is the problem, the Prime Minister is the problem, he should step down. Allow for a cleanout of what the leadership looks like federally, get on with governing the country, and whoever takes the reins going forward needs to make sure they put the country and its people first.
And one last time, just to ram it home.
Jones: What should … Turnbull should go that’s what you’re saying?
Barilaro: My view is Turnbull should give Australians a Christmas gift and go before Christmas
Jones: There you are. Good to talk to you. Hang in there will you. We need someone who’s got the guts that you’ve got to stand up and say what the public are saying.
Malcolm Turnbull shot back saying the public call-out from Barilaro was poor form.
“He’s got my number, he can call me any time. If I had a view about a state leader of that kind I would express it privately and face to face, I wouldn’t be bagging them in the media like this.”
The comments come after growing dissent from the Nationals especially over a banking inquiry, the Liberal/National majority in Parliament is thrown in doubt by citizenship chaos.
But the words of Barilaro’s boss are perhaps the greatest cause for concern for Turnbull.
NSW Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement this morning that: “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has my full and absolute support.”
Such language would be awfully familiar to former prime minister Julia Gillard, said by powerbroker Mark Arbib in 2011 to have the “full support of the party”.
Next week’s final sitting days will reveal if “Turbo” Turnbull is losing further wattage in the party room.