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Forget Carr’s tweet, Morrison made it harder for him to be toppled

By TPS Newsbot

Bob Carr unexpectedly outing Peter Dutton has the mystery texter has many predicting the leadership challenge is nigh. But is it?

Last night, a hefty slab of beef was unexpectedly slammed on the table, as Bob Carr (of all people) named Peter Dutton as the mystery author of the text messages that criticised Scott Morrison early last week.

On Twitter, Carr wrote: “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.”

The tweet (of course) kicked off a wave of speculation on the platform, as users wondered a) does this mean the spill is upon us and b) why would Bob Carr know?

It mattered little, as the provocation pulled Peter Dutton out of hiding, tagging Carr, saying: ” @bobjcarr’s tweet is baseless, untrue and should be deleted.”



So, is the spill incoming, and can Peter Dutton win? The answer comes in the wake of the leadership spill he lost to Scott Morrison in 2018.

At a news conference after the ballot, Malcolm Turnbull lashed out at the “determined insurgency from a number of people both in the party room and backed by voices, powerful voices, in the media” that brought him down.

“Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others, who chose to deliberately attack the government from within – they did so because they wanted to bring the government down, they wanted to bring my prime ministership down,” Turnbull said.

The motion for a spill of the leadership was carried 45-40, an unexpectedly close margin and an indication that Malcolm Turnbull retained substantial support even amid the chaos. Turnbull, prime minister since he deposed Tony Abbott in 2015, had promised not to contest the subsequent ballot if the spill was carried.

At the time political analyst Michelle Grattan noted that; “…the result is a massive rebuff for Peter Dutton and his conservative backers who have consistently undermined Turnbull’s leadership. Abbott, who backed Dutton and believes Morrison betrayed him in the 2015 leadership coup, declared: ‘We have lost the Prime Minister, there is a government to save’.”

In the press conference that followed, Scott Morrison labelled himself; “the future of Liberal leadership”, before sharing his most notorious fallacy: “If you have a go in this country, you will get a go. There is a fair go for those who have a go. That is what fairness in Australia means.”

In December of the same year, the population was out for blood. Scott Morrison disappeared (for the first time) while New South Wales was on fire, and without an election on the horizon, many were clamouring for another spill to undo the last one.

Yet, a week later, Morrison unexpectedly called upon his flock to toggle the rules, thereby making it harder for a sitting leader to be knifed behind a curtain. It would now take a two-thirds majority to bring about the Ides of March and topple a leader.

In his own words, it was a move inspired by “listening to the Australian people”, with Morrison believing that the problem at the top was invalidating our votes. Therefore, he was doing us a favour by making it harder to remove him, who, at the time, wasn’t actually chosen by the people.


This article was originally published on The Big Smoke.

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  1. Margot

    Andrew Bolt is cheering for Peter Dutton. Article paywalled

    Andrew Bolt ScoMo has got to go
    Desperate ScoMo making a fool of himself for love
    Scott Morrison is despised by the Left and disrespected by the Right but while it’s too early to write him off completely, his latest media stunts make it look like he’s finished.
    Peter Dutton get ready to lead

  2. Michael Taylor

    Margot, I think Morrison might be too left-wing for Bolt’s liking. 😉

  3. Michael Taylor

    There’s never a dull moment.

    It’s as though we’ve entered the Abbott Mach 2 zone.

  4. Phil Pryor

    Morrison AND Dutton are subhuman, substandard, subnormal, and even sub a bee’s botty. We need humans who think, act, tell the truth, understand morals, ethics, decency and WORK.

  5. Mr Bronte ALLAN

    Dustpan instead of SloMo? How fucking crazy would that be? Great article, as usual AIMN!

  6. Patricia

    The leader of the party, and subsequently the PM, is never chosen by the people.

  7. RomeoCharlie29

    How would Bob Carr know? Just a bit of mischief-making to keep the pot boiling (sorry mixed metaphor) perhaps fire stoking. Either way it furthers the process of destabilising Morrison while holding out the prospect of a Dutton challenge to try to halt that popularity slide ( scummo and the Libs). Were there to be a spill and a Dutton success I can’t see any sort of bump for the Libs, the spud being widely seen as an authoritarian intent on squashing all privacy and democratic freedoms.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Carr says he got it from a rock solid media source. Is there such a thing? You never know who told them. Regardless of the truth, someone is trying to manipulate us. Who knows who or why anymore.

  9. James Robert LEONARD

    It’s doubtful the leak, or the e-mails were directly from Dutton. Our politicians don’t do their own dirty work. But it is quite certain that when the liar from the shire falls, one of those who stands to replace him orchestrated the whole thing. This is just the liberal party in normal mode, acting as it did throughout the post Holt years and beyond, until Fraser took control and they had no other talent to keep up the squabble. They were the same through the Hawke / Keating years with a conga line of hopefuls queueing to prove the Peter principle – and some of them even given a second shot by a desperate party.

  10. Max Gross

    In these dark and awful times it does my old heart good to watch the LNP devour itself.

  11. New England Cocky

    I am sure ALL Australian voters would appreciate the opportunity to show Benito Duddo how he ranks in their political hierarchy. But we should encourage them because disunity is political death.

    @ Margot: Duddo is unfit to be a politician let alone lead anything.

    @ Phil Pryor; Now Phil, you know that it is unfair to accurately describe ”senior” members of the COALiiton misgovernment in public.

  12. Terence Mills

    Dutton is well known for suing in defamation when he feels he has been insulted, he even took a refugee campaigner Shane Bazzi to court and won damages of $35,000.

    He has intimated that he could sue Bob Carr and Carr has invited him to do so : truth is a complete defence.

    In the next few days we will know whether he was the leak ; if he doesn’t initiate legal action against Carr that would be quite telling.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Terry, wouldn’t Dutton have to prove detriment?

  14. GL


    The Spud is his own detriment, he makes people want to throw up in disgust at the very mention of his name. When a crowd sees him it’s like the vomit scene from Guest House Paradiso.

  15. Michael Taylor

    Indeed, GL, it’s difficult for me trying to find anything Dutton can consider detrimental.

    If anything, we could claim detriment for having this evil bastard in our government.

  16. calculus witherspoon.

    The worse the mess, the more vile they become.

    Thanks, Bob.

    Bob Ellis would be beaming in his grave.

  17. Terence Mills

    Hi Michael

    Dutton would need to prove that by erroneously attributing the text communication (calling the PM a ‘fraud’ and ‘a complete psycho’) to him Carr has damaged his reputation and that this has caused him distress and detriment.

    Your, tongue in cheek, point I take to be that Dutton does not have a reputation that can be damaged, it’s already in the gutter.

    He has no cause of action for defamation unless he proves that the publication has caused, or is likely to cause, serious harm to his reputation.

    I note that SKY talking heads have floated the idea that a text can be ‘fabricated’ and a screen shot taken and that this whole thing may have been an elaborate hoax on the part of the Labor party ; according to SKY that view is supported by one party having said that she had no recollection of the texts or her horrible, horrible person’ response and the other party hasn’t been conclusively identified.

    That could just be SKY muddying the waters and helping out their mates at the coalition so it would seem that it really comes down to Van Onselen and Carr providing some proof that this was a legitimate text exchange – shouldn’t be that hard to do.

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