Peter Dutton's Old Tweet Is Coming Back To Haunt Him
Sound the Lib-spill alarm.
Peter Dutton has sought to quash reports that he's angling to knife Malcolm Turnbull, which has left large portions of Australia practically tingling with excitement asking -- is it on?
This country is no stranger to political upheavals and leadership spills; for a few years there it was par for the course.
In the last few days, the Home Affairs minister has emerged as a real contender for a potential Lib spill, with reports on Friday that a group of disgruntled Conservative MPs were urging Dutton to seize the leadership from Turnbull.
It comes as ten MPs threaten to cross the floor over Turnbull's signature energy policy. Late on Friday night, the Prime Minister backed down on a plan to legislate emissions-reductions targets in a capitulation to pressure.
On Saturday morning, he tweeted a rare response to reports about him: "Just to make it very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government. My position hasn't changed from my comments last Thursday."
But there was another tweet getting a bit of traction on Saturday morning: one Dutton tweeted about then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011, less than a year after Gillard ascended from deputy to the top job by seizing power from Kevin Rudd.
"Some friendly advice Julia - beware a Deputy PM selling his 'softer' side at a time your party is looking for leadership," he said.
At the time, Wayne Swan was Deputy, and although he never took the leadership, less than a year later Rudd would come back in to power.
It's starting to feel like we're on the edge of another power move. It's not yet 'on', but it's seems close.
Speaking to 2GB on Saturday morning, Tony Abbott said that Turnbull's NEG backdown was "no way to run a government, making absolute commitments on Tuesday and then breaking them on Friday."
The former prime minister -- yep, the one who famously promised "no wrecking, undermining, or sniping" when he lost his job -- insisted that he'd prefer not to change the leadership if it could be helped, which isn't exactly rock solid.
"I'd rather change the policy than change the leader," he said.
"That's the question: can we change the policy without changing the leadership? I hope we can, and that's what I'm working for."
With a federal election looming next year, several conservative MPs are concerned about Turnbull's ability to win it.
There are even reports that several conservative MPs are claiming that Dutton is seriously considering a takeover.
"There's a lot of people who at the very least are looking for a change of direction, if not a leader," one of them told the Daily Telegraph.
On Friday, 2GB radio host Ray Hadley went as far to say that a Lib-spill is "happening for sure and certain ... 100 percent."
It looks like we'll be finding out more on Monday, when parliament returns.