Peter Dutton has angrily denied he is the mystery minister behind leaked messages which savaged the character of Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
In a stunning twist to the Canberra text message saga, former Labor NSW premier Bob Carr alleged Mr Dutton was the unnamed minister who was part of a supposed text message exchange with Gladys Berejiklian.
According to the reported exchange, which Berejiklian has since denied any recollection, an unnamed cabinet minister called Morrison “a complete psycho”.
Berejiklian called Morrison a “horrible, horrible person”, according to the report, in alleged texts sent during the 2019-20 bushfire crisis, when Morrison was also being criticised for taking a family holiday in Hawaii.
“The minister who shared the text with van Onselen and gave permission to use it was Peter Dutton,” Carr posted on Twitter about 9pm yesterday.
“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.”
That allegation prompted an immediate response from Dutton, who made his own post on Twitter declaring Mr Carr’s tweet “is baseless, untrue and should be deleted”.
Then, during a blistering attack on Today, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also hit out at the credibility of Mr Carr’s claim.
“Bob Carr was a waste of space as Foreign Minister,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“He now suffers from a bad bout of relevance deprivation,” going on to claim that “when (Mr Carr) was in government he was described by his own colleagues as a narcissist and self-indulgent.”
Mr Frydenberg also demanded Mr Carr delete his Twitter post.
According to Sky News reporter Laura Jayes, Mr Carr told her a “rock solid media source” had revealed Mr Dutton’s alleged involvement.
Jayes tweeted that Mr Carr said “there is only one person that stands to benefit in damaging an already damaged PM”, with the former NSW premier also claiming Mr Dutton has the numbers in “an increasingly right wing party room”.
Network Ten political editor Peter van Onselen, the journalist who stunned Mr Morrison with the text leak at last week’s National Press Club, has refused to reveal the source of the leak.