Dutton poised to strike!

CANBERRA: A trainwreck of a performance by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the National Press Club yesterday and horrific Newspoll findings for the Coalition have reignited speculation here that Defence Minister Peter Dutton (below, right) is primed to challenge for the leadership.

The Bug understands Mr Dutton’s minders have once again turned to former Finance Minister Mathias Cormann (pictured at top) to crunch the numbers for the Queenslander who has received some troubling internal polling of his own about his chances of retaining his seat of Dickson to Brisbane’s north-west despite the electorate being chockablock with happy clappers.

Mr Cormann has agreed to take time out from his job as general-secretary of The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to once again crunch the numbers for Mr Dutton.

The Bug has been told that Mr Cormann has already advised Dutton’s campaign team that his initial figures show that of the 91 federal Liberal Members of the House of Representatives and Senators eligible to vote in any parliamentary caucus room leadership spill, the current numbers are Dutton 45, Morrison 42 with 21 undecided.

Mr Cormann is believed to have decided to back Mr Dutton’s latest leadership bid after reading the latest Newspoll figures released earlier this week by The Australian.

Mr Cormann is understood to have been particularly concerned about the polling figures for preferred prime minister showing a close race between Scott Morrison and Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese. (pictured)

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CANBERRA: News that the $400 second payment to aged care workers will be handed out personally and in cash by Liberal voting booth workers at the looming federal poll has been defended by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“It’s going to save a lot of time and money in getting these payments to the wonderful, amazing aged-care sector workers who totally deserve this recognition for the tireless and brave work they have undertaken during the pandemic,” Mr Morrison said, his voice wavering with faux heartfelt appreciation.

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SYDNEY: Claims at the National Press Club that Gladys Berejiklian as NSW Premier had described Scott Morrison in an email to an unnamed current member of the PM’s Cabinet as “a horrible, horrible, man” have been addressed in an overnight statement by Ms Berejiklian.

“I have no recollection whatsoever of who I used to be in a former life,” she stated emphatically before being led back into her room on the Edward Moses Obeid/Ian Macdonald wing of the Hospice for Demented Former Politicians Scarred By ICAC Apperances.

A close friend of Ms Berejiklian contacted The Bug to declare the former Premier would never, ever, have formed such an opinion about Mr Morrison “who is, an remains, a good close personal friend of Gladys’s”.

“Honestly, where on earth could she possibly have come to that conclusion about any member of her own political party, let alone the leader of our nation.”

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MELBOURNE: Online betting agencies have struck very similar odds as to which of the three Peter van Onselens who comment on Australian politics is the one who dumped the “psycho” tag on Scott Morrison in Canberra yesterday.

The Peter van Onselen who teaches politics at the University of Western Australia and who thinks the Nazis’ National Socialists and Socialism are much of a muchness is at $1.50, the Peter van Onselen who is federal politics editor for the Ten Network and appears on The Panel far too often for most people’s liking is at $1.80 with the Peter van Onselen who writes regularly for The Australian and who just about got deknackered for criticising 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame is not far behind on $2.01.