Turnbull is the problem: Barilaro
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should quit before Christmas as a gift to the country.
The Nationals leader said he had “lost all hope” in the Prime Minister after the LNP’s apparent loss in the Queensland election. While Queensland LNP leader Tim Nicholls is refusing to concede defeat, so far the party has only 36 seats of the required 47 to win a majority.
“What really got my goat 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,” Mr Barilaro told outspoken 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones.
“I mean that’s just a joke. If you’re completely out of touch like that comment … in my mind it just shows there is no leadership.”
Mr Barilaro said if Mr Turnbull did not quit soon, he might be rolled by his own party.
“The best thing that can happen right now – we don’t want to see the stabbing in the back – but that’s exactly what we’re going to see in the months ahead if something doesn’t happen,” he said.
“My view is Turnbull should give Australians a Christmas gift and go before Christmas.”
Mr Barilaro said his comments were not an endorsement of federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.
“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.
“Bill Shorten is the reason I’m speaking out.
“As someone from the Liberal and National Coalition government in a senior role, to step out like I’m doing today shows how desperate my electorate is, how desperate Australians are.”
He said Liberals and Nationals needed a federal “reset” if they wanted a chance of winning the next federal election.
“We’ve seen over and over again a guy that came into the leadership role … with a view of the world that many bought into but has delivered very, very, very little in his time in the leadership.”
The Prime Minister immediately hit back at the comments, dismissing them as an attempt to appease Jones.
“I think what’s going on is that he’s on Alan Jones and just trying to ingratiate himself with Alan, telling him what he wants to hear,” Mr Turnbull told radio station 3AW.
“If that was a serious view he held, you would think that he would speak to me directly.”
He said he had called Mr Barilaro following a previous criticism but had not received a call back.
“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.”
Asked if the attacks irritated him, Mr Turnbull said: “Not really.”