Defence Minister Peter Dutton has pushed back against claims he was the unnamed minister who branded Prime Minister Scott Morrison “a complete psycho” in a set of leaked texts to former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian, which surfaced last week.
The minister has been unidentified since the texts were first revealed to the PM by Network
Former NSW Premier Bob Carr tweeted on Sunday Dutton was the culprit who exchanged texts with Berejiklian during the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.
The minister who shared the text with van Onselen and gave permission to use it was Peter Dutton. If PM Morrison has one more week in free fall the prospect of a leadership change pre-election is real. Party rules don’t count if most MPs think you will lead them to defeat.
— Bob Carr (@bobjcarr) February 6, 2022
Dutton tweeted in response late last night: “Bob Carr’s tweet is baseless, untrue and should be deleted.”
@bobjcarr‘s tweet is baseless, untrue and should be deleted.
— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) February 6, 2022
Carr hit back at 9am and said the only way Dutton could convince him that he wasn’t the texter was if another minister outed themselves.
“The only one way Peter Dutton can win his case: get another colleague to admit that they were the source for comments about the Prime Minister. If not you, Mr Dutton, which of your colleagues?” he wrote.
“Until then who has most to gain from undermining further a flailing PM?”
Only one way Peter Dutton can win his case: get another colleague to admit that they were the source for comments about the Prime Minister. If not you, Mr Dutton, which of your colleagues? Until then who has most to gain from undermining further a flailing PM?
— Bob Carr (@bobjcarr) February 6, 2022
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg went on ABC News Breakfast this morning to slam Carr for the claims.
“Well, Bob Carr was a waste of space as foreign minister,” Frydenberg said.
“He was described by his own colleagues as a narcissist and self-indulgent. He’s now suffering from a bad bout of relevance deprivation syndrome.
“I’m not about to second-guess his sources other than to say he wouldn’t know very much, I think, about the internal operations of the Liberal Party. You know, I think we’re wasting time talking about it because he hasn’t put up any evidence to back up his accusation.”
Speaking on Sunrise this morning, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also accused the the government of losing focus on issues that mattered, like aged care, in relation to *the other leaked text saga* involving Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
“If the Deputy Prime Minister cannot trust the Prime Minister, why should Australians?” Albanese said.
“By the issue here is … this is such a distraction. This dysfunction and the dishonesty and the disunity means this government is paralysed in taking action.”
Joyce addressed texts on Sunrise earlier and has taken “absolute responsibility” for calling the PM a liar.
Co-host Natalie Barr asked Joyce if he stood by what he said in the leaked texts from March last year, calling Morrison “a hypocrite and a liar”, or if Joyce was lying at the time.
He obviously didn’t actually answer the question, but blamed the comments on the pressure of dealing with the issue of gender inequality in parliament.
“Obviously, you are in a different mind space,” Joyce said.
“You are dealing with an incredibly dramatic and serious issue [the treatment of women in Parliament]. If that did not put you in a different mind space, what on earth would?”
Truly, it was the men who suffered here.
“It was my fault for writing [that text]. If I hadn’t, it never would have happened. I take absolute responsibility for what happened,” he continued.
“I had not worked closely one-on-one with the Prime Minister, but I have now. I know him vastly better now.
“As I have said before, he has honoured every agreement. They are the actions of a person who is trustworthy. It is a completely different relationship [now].”
This comes after Joyce’s Friday apology to Morrison, in which he admitted he handed in his resignation letter when the PM caught wind of the texts.
Morrison responded in a statement with comments curiously similar to Joyce’s this morning.
“I understand Barnaby was in a different headspace last year, both professionally and personally, and so I know he genuinely no longer feels this way,” Morrison said.
“Relationships change over time.”
We have a feeling this is not over.