Malcolm Turnbull, a man who is definitely not mad about the Liberal Party‘s extraordinary decision to roll him as leader, is asking his confidantes to refer failed leadership challenger Peter Dutton to the High Court over the MP’s eligibility to actually sit in parliament.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last night the former prime minister has been texting his parliamentary mates and seeing who is keen to dibber-dob on Dutton, who has faced Section 44 scrutiny over his family’s childcare businesses.
Shortly after that report was released, Turnbull blasted this all over his Twitter:
The point I have made to @ScottMorrisonMP and other colleagues is that given the uncertainty around Peter Dutton’s eligibility, acknowledged by the Solicitor General, he should be referred to the High Court, as Barnaby was, to clarify the matter.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) September 12, 2018
Questions over Dutton’s Section 44 adherence recirculated before the successful ousting of Turnbull as PM, and the Home Affairs Minister would have been unable to sit in Parliament – let alone become Prime Minister – if he was found to have fallen afoul of that constitutional rule.
Dutton leaned on legal advice he had received saying he was a-okay, and the matter didn’t actually make it to the High Court. Now, it’s apparent the ousted leader and his crew are pretty keen to have Dutton’s dealings fully examined anyway. You know, just to “clarify the matter.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who successfully challenged Dutton in the party room meeting after Turnbull stepped down, seems unlikely to support the referral of Dutton to the High Court, especially when the government is trying to right itself after one of the most senseless and ridiculous leadership changes in… well, not that long.
But here we are: a former PM is now openly calling for extra scrutiny on a challenger for the leadership. Sound familiar?