Is Dutton set to challenge?

FEDERAL POLITICS:

A major rift at the highest levels of the Morrison Government has renewed speculation that Defence Minister Peter Dutton is set to move against Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s leadership.

The Bug understands both men clashed heatedly in a telephone hookup on Sunday afternoon over how the world No1 men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic should have been deported after losing his Federal Court appeal against being stripped of his visa.

And The Bug understands Mr Dutton’s minders have started counting numbers again, buoyed also by the latest Herald mastheads poll showing federal Labor now well ahead on undisclosed two-party-preferred terms.

The Bug further understands additional numbers crunched so far by former Finance Minister and current secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Mathias Cormann, look very encouraging for the former Immigration and Home Affairs Minster.

It’s understood that Mr Morrison was happy for Djokovic (pictured) to be sent packing in that late-night flight on Sunday to Dubai, simply to get the damaging saga over and done with.

But an angry Mr Dutton argued that the Serbian should have been flown immediately by RAAF aircraft to Christmas Island.

From there, an Australian Border Force vessel towing a leaking and dilapidated fishing boat would have taken him well out to sea where ABF officers would then have tied him to the deck of that fishing boat, tied ropes around the steering wheel to keep it pointed towards Indonesia, set the engine to full throttle and once the boat had disappeared over the horizon those ABF officials wearing menacing black uniforms that made them look like SS would have then turned around their patrol vessel and hightailed it back to Australian territorial waters, once they’d determined that was a safe thing to do.

“That’s how you fucking well deal with an illegal trying to enter Australia,” Dutton apparently angrily shouted down the line.

“And that’s yet another secret on-water matter that we could have selectively leaked and then milked publicly for all it’s worth.

He challenged an apparently startled and momentarily speechless PM with this: “Do you want to fucking well win this looming election based on our proud and strong border security, Fortress Australia, record that has kept grateful Australians safe – or not?”