Or so says The Australian:
The Australian can reveal the former prime minister has been messaging Dr Phelps, the independent who claimed his seat of Wentworth, and a former electorate office staffer worked for his successor for three days as part of a “handover”.
A senior Liberal source said they believed that Mr Turnbull was advising Dr Phelps on strategy and that “his hands are all over the Julia Banks” resignation.
“He is consumed by bringing down the government,” the Liberal source said.
Well, why not. The other dozen or so former PMs did it.
Meanwhile, Scummo is reeling, at the AFR:
Scott Morrison is battling to reassert his authority after another day of chaos, with Labor accusing him of running a “part-time Parliament”, Julie Bishop fuelling suspicions she has leadership ambitions, and growing calls for Peter Dutton to refer himself to the High Court.
To compound another tough day, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was embarrassingly forced to withdraw from the G20 summit to tend to domestic issues, while Mr Morrison has been snubbed by Donald Trump and has been denied a bilateral meeting with him in Buenos Aires.
With the Coalition still reeling after Victorian marginal seat holder Julia Banks quit the Liberals to become a crossbencher, leaving the government able to muster just 73 votes on the floor of the Parliament, there is the possibility of further defections with NSW MP Craig Kelly leaving open the option of going if he loses an upcoming preselection contest.
There’s more at Domain:
Liberal Party branch members and sitting MPs have privately urged Dave Sharma to oust Tony Abbott from Parliament, as consensus grows in Canberra that the former prime minister needs to leave politics to let the Coalition heal from an expected election loss.
But Mr Sharma – who lost last month’s byelection in the neighbouring electorate of Wentworth to independent Kerryn Phelps – rebuffed the advances and is focused on recontesting the seat next year.
And Herald Sun:
Kelly O’Dwyer, one of the most senior women in the Morrison Government, would lose her seat to Labor at the next federal election according to a new ReachTel poll.
Finally, lost amid it all is Scummo of Labor, also at The Australian:
Scott Morrison will use his pre-election budget war chest to deliver extra funding for schools, hospitals and pharmaceutical benefits, in a move to claim back political leverage from Labor ahead of delivering the nation’s first surplus in a decade.
We have six more grueling months of this before they get thrown out!