1 December 2017Hot off the Press
New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro has described Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull “completely out of touch” and called for his resignation before Christmas.
During an interview on radio 2GB, Mr Barilaro said:
“Turnbull is the problem, the Prime Minister is the problem. He should step down, allow for a clean out of what the leadership looks like federally. And whoever governs the country needs to make sure that they put the country and its people first.”
Speaking on radio 3AW Melbourne on Friday morning, Prime Minister Turnbull responded to Mr Barilaro’s comments by saying the NSW Deputy Premier had not spoken to him about the concerns.
Mr Turnbull said it is odd that Mr Barilaro did not raise the issues personally and accused him of “trying to ingratiate himself” with radio host Alan Jones.
The Prime Minister said Mr Barilaro would have contacted him directly if the views were serious, adding, “He has got my number, he can call me anytime.”
Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann has rejected the call for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
“I suggest he focuses on the National Party partyroom in NSW and leaves us to focus on the Liberal Party partyroom in Canberra,” Mr Cormann told ABC News.
“I’ve never met him. I don’t know him. Our focus is on making decisions every single day to put Australia in the strongest possible economic and fiscal foundation for the future to deal with issues and continue to take Australia forward. I’m not interested in these sorts of internal shenanigans.
“It’s very unhelpful and obviously would have been better if he hadn’t [made the comments].”
Mr Barilaro is the most senior Coalition MP to publicly call for Prime Minister Turnbull’s resignation, and seems to confirm a growing rift in the Coalition.