Hockey yet to deny leadership bid
Joe Hockey is still refusing to speak on whether he intends to run against Malcolm Turnbull for leadership of the Liberal Party.
Yesterday, he was spotted visiting former Prime Minster John Howard at his home in North Sydney, reportedly to get his advice on his own future and the direction of the Liberal Party.
Meanwhile, Turnbull and Hockey are neck and neck amongst voters as preferred leader, a Galaxy poll shows.
The poll of 400 voters, published in the Sunday Telegraph, puts Turnbull and Hockey on 29 per cent each, with Tony Abbott trailing on 22 per cent.
Turnbull, though, is claiming that he has the full support of the Shadow Treasurer.
“Joe Hockey has told me as recently as last night that I have his complete support,” Mr Turnbull said.
Speaking to the Nine Network on Sunday morning, Turnbull said “Joe is absolutely at one with me on the need to get this legislation passed.”
Turnbull then entertained the idea of a Hockey leadership, if only to denounce it.
“If Joe was the cuddly, friendly face of the Liberal Party but spouting Nick Minchin’s lines that would destroy him and destroy the party,” Mr Turnbull said.
Hockey thought to have more support than Abbott
One liberal frontbencher told the Australian newspaper that “there will be a change of leadership. If Joe runs it will be him and if Tony Abbott runs against Malcolm it will be Tony.”
Tony Abbott has declared he’s willing to challenge Turnbull, but Turnbull says if it comes to a vote at Tuesday’s party room meeting, he has the numbers to win.
Gillard slams Hockey
Hockey’s silence has been slammed by Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard who says he can’t be a credible Liberal leadership contender if a bunch of “tweets” convinces him to change his mind on emissions trading.
Mr Hockey last week went on the Twitter website asking for views on the government’s amended ETS, in what was seen by some as a sign his support for the scheme may be wavering.
Gillard told ABC TV that Hockey can’t expect to be seen as rational or serious if he changes his mind after sending a tweet into cyberspace.
Turnbull on the attack
Mr Turnbull came out swinging at his right-wing rivals this morning.
“The Minchinites (referring to Senator Nick Minchin) do not want to delay consideration of the legislation, they do not believe that climate change is real, they do not believe that humans are causing it and they do want to do anything about it,” the opposition leader said.
“If Nick Minchin wins this battle he condemns our party to irrelevance.”
Mr Turnbull questioned the integrity of Senator Minchin, Mr Abbott and last week’s leadership challenger Kevin Andrews for previously supporting an ETS and now opposing Labor’s scheme.
“There is a recklessness and a wilfulness in these men which is going to destroy the Liberal Party.”
“I will win on Tuesday and am not interested in being a mouthpiece…for people who’s views are completey wrong and contrary to the best interest of..our nation and the Liberal Party.”