Christopher Pyne Blames Labor For Liberal Leadership Chaos
"The change in the leader is not the right thing to do".
Government MPs are still struggling to answer questions about why a leadership change was necessary, with some raising bad polls, policy indecision and party instability as causes, but minister Christopher Pyne has pointed his finger at a new cause.
Pyne, the defence minister and leader of the House, raised the unlikely answer in a debate in parliament on Monday as Labor moved to criticise the Liberals for weeks of instability and drama which saw former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted from the top job and resign from parliament.
"The government deposed the elected Prime Minister, but no-one is able to explain why," Labor leader Bill Shorten said.
"The government continues to be wracked by infighting, with government members leaking against each other on an almost daily basis."
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In response, Pyne brought up the obvious parallel -- the chaotic Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years which saw Labor change leaders constantly -- and said the period had destabilised Australian politics as a whole.
"You've got to admire their chutzpah," Pyne said, as Labor MPs jeered, before he made a startling admission, that changing leaders was a bad choice.
"They were a party that changed their leaders very routinely. And I agree with them, the change in the leader is not the right thing to do."
Government MPs have been trying to smooth over the drama of the last few weeks, publicly insisting it is 'business as usual' after Turnbull left the parliament. Pyne's admission was made all the more interesting as TV cameras showed only one man sitting behind him on the government benches as he made his speech criticising the leadership woes -- Peter Dutton, the man who initially challenged Turnbull and initiated the spill.
"The Australian public are quite rightly most disconcerted with what's occurred and I do think the last 10 years of politics in Australia, the instability that was initiated by the Labor Party from 2007 to 2013 was the wrong way to treat the Australian public," Pyne said.
"But they began the process that has led to this 10 years of instability in Australia."
Pyne did have kind words for new PM Scott Morrison however, saying that "in two short weeks, the member for Cook has put his stamp on the Prime Ministership" and claiming he is "making the Labor Party hard heads of the caucus and the union movement scratch their heads".
But it comes on a day where veteran Liberal MP Warren Entsch reignited debate about the factors leading to the leadership spill, revealing media shock jocks had been furiously lobbying politicians for a change, and with senator Lucy Gichuhi threatening to name names of politicians who had "bullied" colleagues.
It's also just a day after deputy Liberal leader and treasurer Josh Frydenberg became the latest MP to struggle to explain why Turnbull needed to be booted.
It is hardly an easy day to welcome Morrison on his first parliament day as PM, and shows there is a long way before the government can overcome its deep and festering split.