Christopher Pyne confirms Coalition ‘disunity’ but rubbishes Tony Abbott’s return as PM

Christopher Pyne addresses the question of disunity in the coalition as newspoll announces its latest results. Photo: ABC Q&A Christopher Pyne said despite the disunity among the party room the coalition would win the next election. Photo: ABC Q&A
Nanjing Night Net

Pyne hums a flat show to life

Christopher Pyne has confirmed the current disunity in the Coalition party room and conceded the government had a “messy week”, but on ABC’s Q&A he denied the spectre of a second Abbott government would disrupt the election campaign.

The latest Newspoll results announced during Monday night’s program found Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had relinquished the Coalition’s lead for the first time since the leadership coup against Tony Abbott, with Labor seizing 51-49 in the two party-preferred rating.

The news came as one audience member asked the panel whether Turnbull’s sliding approval ratings would herald the return of former prime minister Abbott.

“How can you assure Australians that a vote for the Liberal party is not a vote for a second Abbott government?” the questioner asked Pyne.

“I can absolutely assure you that if you vote for Malcolm Turnbull at the next election – and I hope you will because the alternative is Bill Shorten – that you will get Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister for the next three years,” Pyne said. #Newspoll Federal 2 Party Preferred: L/NP 49 (-2) ALP 51 (+2) #auspol— GhostWhoVotes (@GhostWhoVotes) April 4, 2016#Newspoll Preferred PM: Turnbull 48 (-4) Shorten 27 (+6) #auspol— GhostWhoVotes (@GhostWhoVotes) April 4, 2016

“So sure, polls come and go. And today’s Newspoll is a reflection of the messy week that Greg Sheridan so helpfully talked about at the beginning of the show,” Pyne said.

Host Tony Jones interjected: “I thought you said it was a triumph,” referring to Pyne’s earlier comments during the program.

Jones brandished an excerpt from political commentator Nikki Savva’s recently published book, The Road to Ruin, in which Abbott purportedly said that in a second Abbott government he would be better than in the first.

The question of a return to an Abbott-led Coalition comes as former frontbencher Kevin Andrews sparked a fresh outbreak of Liberal Party disunity after suggesting he was prepared to challenge Turnbull for the prime ministership. He later claimed he was taken out of context.

Concerns over disunity have been fuelled by mounting tensions between the PM and Treasurer Scott Morrison following several public incongruencies that set the two men at odds, and conservative senator Cory Bernardi registering his own Donald Trump-style political party.

“How can you stop this internal division hurting your electoral chances?… Could these people damage your prospects at the election?” Jones asked Pyne.

“Disunity is always unhelpful. Of course it is, I mean it’s obviously a statement of the bleeding obvious,” Pyne said.

“The reality is no one in the Coalition party room wants Bill Shorten to be prime minister of Australia,” he said.

Asked whether Abbott wanted the leadership back, fellow panellist Greg Sheridan, long time friend of the former prime minister said: “My guess would be that Tony Abbott will be very disciplined during the campaign and will work hard to get Malcolm Turnbull re-elected.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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