Malcolm Turnbull says a vote for One Nation is a vote for Labor

The Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham has warned the Coalition won’t counter the electoral threat from One Nation by mirroring its worldview, and Malcolm Turnbull says a vote for One Nation is a vote for putting Labor into power.

Moderate Liberals have warned against cosying up to Pauline Hanson’s party as the results of the Queensland election – in which One Nation fractured the conservative vote in the regions – cause ructions in Canberra and embolden the National party to pursue more obvious product differentiation.

Birmingham said the Coalition would not counter the One Nation insurgency “by trying to become One Nation-lite”.

“You do it by taking the fight up to them in terms of explaining to the electorate the benefits of open markets, the benefits of trade, the benefits that will accrue to those communities because we’re increasing exports and generating more jobs, the risks to them if we actually get pushed into becoming a closed shop economy,” he said.

Victorian Liberals also warned associating with One Nation was damaging for the Liberal and National parties.

The Liberal MP Tim Wilson said any association with Hanson’s party was “toxic” and fellow Victorian Russell Broadbent said the Victorian branch of the Liberal party had “always” put One Nation last on how-to-vote cards.

“I would expect that to continue in Victoria,” Broadbent said.

There is renewed speculation about a demerger between the Liberal and National parties in Queensland following the disappointing weekend result for the LNP. The two parties are a single entity in Queensland.

On Sunday the resources minister, Queensland National Matt Canavan, emphasised the importance of having a “strong Nationals party” and a separate campaign at the federal level to show voters they had a “strong voice in Canberra”.

But the prime minister on Monday said the LNP in Queensland was functioning very well. Turnbull said the LNP had been a “great success” in Queensland and he did not think there was any initiative to change that.

Turnbull also sharpened his message about the risks for conservative-leaning voters in supporting One Nation.

“Voting for One Nation in the Queensland election has only assisted the Labor party, let’s be very clear about that,” Turnbull said on Monday. “The One Nation voters, I want to say to them, your votes for One Nation have assisted Annastacia Palaszczuk.”

He said the Coalition would make that point “very, very strongly” at the next federal election.

“If you want to have a Coalition government, then you should vote for the Coalition, vote for the LNP in Queensland, and the Liberal party or National party elsewhere. That is the only way to be sure you get and keep a Coalition government.

“Voting for One Nation, as we’ve seen in the Queensland election, has only benefited Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Labor party”.

Fraser Anning, who was sworn in as a federal senator for One Nation before exiting the party, also criticised his former colleagues about the preference strategy they followed during the Queensland poll.

“This crazy policy of indiscriminately preferencing against sitting members means that lefties will be returning to George Street and good conservatives will lose their seats, compliments of a supposedly rightwing party,” Anning said Monday.

“As the conservative protest party, you would expect One Nation would be supporting the most conservative candidates or members in each seat.

“That’s what I would do and I’m sure it’s what a majority of One Nation voters want.”

The former prime minister, Tony Abbott, told 2GB the Queensland poll was largely fought on state issues but “background influences” could not be ruled out.

With instability in the government continuing as the Coalition fronts up for the final two parliamentary sitting weeks of the year, and the results of two byelections triggered by the citizenship debacle due over the coming weeks, Abbott also observed the coup culture in Canberra had to end.

Declaring the “the era of the political assassin has to end”, Abbott – who has not ruled out a return to the Liberal party leadership if he were to be drafted – said dishonourable behaviour in Canberra was turning voters off.

Abbott said voters were switching off when they saw politicians “acting dishonourably … People are behaving badly”.

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