Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at press conference at Parliament House. He’s just been delivered a horror Newspoll result. Picture by Sean Davey.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at press conference at Parliament House. He’s just been delivered a horror Newspoll result. Picture by Sean Davey.

Tony Abbott’s sister to fight for Turnbull’s seat

CHRISTINE Forster has confirmed she wants to run for the federal electorate of Wentworth to be vacated by Malcolm Turnbull, as one of several high profile candidates circling the seat.

Ms Forster, the sister of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, said she was being encouraged by several people within the party to run for Liberal pre-selection in Wentworth to replace the ousted prime minister.

Mr Turnbull is yet to announce his resignation from the harbourside seat but told reporters last week it would be "not before too long".

"If and when the seat becomes available I'm considering nominating," the City of Sydney councillor told AAP.

"I think as someone with local credentials and a strong track record of strong liberalism, I feel they are the types of candidates we want in any seat.

"I've been strong in espousing and representing Liberal values in the city of Sydney."

Councillor Christine Forster has said she wants to run for the Sydney electorate of Wentworth. Picture: Toby Zerna
Councillor Christine Forster has said she wants to run for the Sydney electorate of Wentworth. Picture: Toby Zerna

Businessman and former Australian ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma is said to be the frontrunner to replace Mr Turnbull as the Liberal candidate.

NSW MP Alex Greenwich and health advocate Dr Kerryn Phelps are also both considering running as independents.

Waverley Deputy Mayor Dominic Wy Kanak has been announced as the Greens candidate for the seat.

Tamarama Surf Lifesaving Club president and local businessman Tim Murray will run as Labor's candidate.

It comes after Peter Dutton was sworn in as Home Affairs Minister earlier than the rest of Scott Morrison's new-look cabinet so he could attend an intelligence security meeting today.

The former leadership contender was appointed in the role again after standing down last week in his attempt to overthrow Mr Turnbull's prime ministership.

 

Peter Dutton is sworn in as Home Affairs Minister by the Governor General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House, Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith
Peter Dutton is sworn in as Home Affairs Minister by the Governor General, General Sir Peter Cosgrove at Government House, Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith

The Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove conducted the ceremony at Government House in Canberra this morning.

The rest of the new ministers will also be sworn in later in the week.

WORST NEWSPOLL FOR LIBS IN A DECADE

Support for the Coalition collapsed to its lowest level in a decade, and new Liberal leader Scott Morrison starts his first week as prime minister with just 33 per cent of Newspoll respondents saying he's the right person for the job.

Labor's Bill Shorten jumped seven points in the prepferred prime minister ratings. for a total of 39 per cent.

Morrison's rating is 12 points lower than that of the man he replaced, Mr Turnbull.

According to The Australian, the new Newspoll figure shows the Coalition's primary vote dropping four points to 33 per cent, while Labor's rose to 41 per cent.

The new didn't seem to bother Deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydenberg, who told 3AW Melbourne this morning the poll was "as big a surprise as the sun coming up tomorrow."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is off to a rough start. Picture: Sean Davey.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is off to a rough start. Picture: Sean Davey.

On a two-party-preferred basis, the margin is now 44 per cent for the Coalition, with 56 for Labor.

This is a significant reversal of the figure just a fortnight ago of 49 per cent in favour of the Coalition versus 51 per cent for Labor.

But Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack believed the government could turn it around.

"We have to turn that around, and we will turn it around, we must turn it around," the Nationals leader told ABC radio today.

"What we need to do is ensure that stability, unity and decisive action on the things that really matter to Australians. Cost of living, including power prices... jobs, wages, economic growth, national security - they're the things we now need to focus on."

Mr Morrison yesterday unveiled his "next-generation" frontbench, saying it would draw a line under the chaos of last week and bring "healing" to the government.

But his cabinet included rebel MPs such as leadership aspirant Mr Dutton and chief plotter Greg Hunt - raising questions as to why those behind the turmoil had been rewarded.

Mr McCormack said the new prime minister had appointed people "he thinks can do the jobs best".

"We've got a new team, bringing a fresh energetic approach to the job that we have in hand," he said.

SCOTT MORRISON'S NEW-LOOK CABINET

The new ministers are set to be sworn in at Government House in Canberra later in the week after Mr Morrison announced his ministry yesterday, following the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

New Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's former role as both environment and energy minister has been split between Rhodes scholar Angus Taylor (Energy) and WA lawyer Melissa Price (Environment).

With Ms Bishop going to the backbench and expected to retire from parliament at the next election, former Defence Minister Marise Payne will take on Foreign Affairs.

Christopher Pyne moves across to Defence, formerly held by Senator Payne, and former Trade Minister Steve Ciobo will replace him as Defence Industry Minister.

Steve Ciobo is now the Defence Industry Minister. Picture: Sean Davey
Steve Ciobo is now the Defence Industry Minister. Picture: Sean Davey

Dan Tehan has been moved into the troubled education portfolio while his predecessor Simon Birmingham moves to trade and tourism.

Mitch Fifield, who quit the cabinet last week, returns to communications, while Greg Hunt retains health.

Mathias Cormann has been returned as finance minister and Senate leader. Former Small Business Minister Craig Laundy and Local Government Minister John McVeigh have also stood down from the front bench.

Mr Morrison has brought back the old portfolio of Industrial Relations, handing it to Kelly O'Dwyer who will oversee the coalition's attacks on union misconduct while also taking a fresh look at productivity gains from workplace reform.

BISHOP ADDRESSES VOTING BETRAYAL

Julie Bishop has talked about the strategic tricks used to bump her from leadership contention.

The former foreign affairs minister, who said the events of the past week had been "personally devastating" for many people, said she was aware of the Whatsapp trail that exposed MPs who were scaring her supporters to vote for Scott Morrison.

In one message, MPs were told WA senator Mathias Cormann was putting votes behind Ms Bishop to knock Mr Morrison out of the race - ultimately setting up a contest between Ms Bishop and Peter Dutton, which Mr Dutton would be sure to win.

ABC Insiders was leaked a Whatsapp message regarding the vote for Julie Bishop in last weeks leadership spill. Picture: ABC Insiders
ABC Insiders was leaked a Whatsapp message regarding the vote for Julie Bishop in last weeks leadership spill. Picture: ABC Insiders

Mr Cormann has denied the claims.

"You would have to ask the individuals involved but it appeared to be a tactic to promote Peter Dutton into the prime ministership, whatever the cost," Ms Bishop told The West Australian.

Ms Bishop will move to the backbench after resigning, but did not say whether she would be quitting politics.

Ms Bishop had just 11 votes in the first ballot with none of those who voted for her from WA, where she was first elected for the seat of Curtin in 1998.

The publication claims Ms Bishop appeared to question why none of her supporters from WA voted for her.

One WA MP told the publication they felt they had been tricked into voting for Mr Morrison to keep Mr Dutton out of the top job.

"We were forced to vote for Scott in round one," an MP said. "There was a lot of people on that list who would have voted for Julie."

ABBOTT'S POSSIBLE RETURN FROM EXILE

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was offered a role as special envoy for indigenous affairs, but he is yet to accept the appointment.

A spokesman for Mr Abbott told The Daily Telegraph he was considering the role but wanted to know "the precise terms of what is being proposed".

"It's not clear how any such role would interact with the minister and all the other bodies in this space," the spokesman added.

Tony Abbott has been offered a job as special envoy for indigenous affairs. Picture: Ray Strange
Tony Abbott has been offered a job as special envoy for indigenous affairs. Picture: Ray Strange

Mr Abbott told Ray Hadley on 2GB this morning that he didn't want a "title without a role", after Mr Hadley encouraged him to take the job offer.

"It's something I want, to see us make a difference here," Mr Abbott said.

"I'm not retiring. I regard myself as a young man, a little younger than you (Hadley) even.

"I think the public will want to give Scott Morrison a fair go," he said, adding he would "absolutely" give Mr Morrison his support and loyalty.

Addressing the latest disspaointing Newspoll, Mr Abbott was optimistic: "It's all up from here I think."

Mr Frydenberg addressed Mr Abbott's new appointment on Sky News this morning, confirming he hadn't accepted Mr Morrison's offer.

"Scott Morrison has been speaking to Tony Abbott about a role, in particular in indigenous affairs where Tony is really passionate," he said.

"So let's see how those discussions go."

Former deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has agreed to a new role as special envoy for drought assistance and recovery.

OVERTHROWING A PM: SHOULD THERE BE RULES?

Suggestions to change Liberal party rules have been touted after the embarrassing leadership debacle last week.

Nick Greiner, the federal Liberal president, believes it would be a good move to make it harder to bring on a leadership spill.

"I'm not opposed to that idea, I think it's an obvious directional thing," he told Sky News.

"There are already members of the parliamentary party advocating it and Mr Morrison does not have a tin ear, but yes certainly I think it's something that ought to be on the agenda."

Former Prime Minister John Howard, the last PM to serve a full term, argued against changing the rules when speaking at a Canberra Writers' Festival event yesterday.

Former Prime Minister John Howard speaks at the Canberra Writers Festival. Picture: Rohan Thomson
Former Prime Minister John Howard speaks at the Canberra Writers Festival. Picture: Rohan Thomson

"I don't think changing the rules is a good idea," he said. "What's the point of bringing in rules if, in any event, they can be set aside?"

Labor implemented new parliamentary party rules after Julia Gillard toppled Kevin Rudd in 2010, before he took back the leadership and the party ultimately lost the election.

The rules state MPs and members can elect a new leader over a month-long process, with the long timeframe designed to give electors time to test their suitability. But the Labor caucus can overutrn this rule if they have a majority.

 

Peter Dutton with General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at the ceremony this morning. Photo: Kym Smith
Peter Dutton with General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at the ceremony this morning. Photo: Kym Smith
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten‘s popularity spiked. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten‘s popularity spiked. Picture: AAP Image/Ellen Smith
Marise Payne will take on Foreign Affairs after Julie Bishop’s resignation. Picture: AAP
Marise Payne will take on Foreign Affairs after Julie Bishop’s resignation. Picture: AAP


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