Malcolm Turnbull’s fluey quest for spicy soup has been miscast as a leadership challenge, the cabinet minister’s wife and former Sydney lord mayor Lucy Turnbull says.
Lucy Turnbull told the ABC’s Q&A on Monday there was no conspiracy when her husband met Mr Palmer, the leader of the Palmer United Party, for dinner last Wednesday night.
Mr Turnbull sent a text message at 6pm on Wednesday saying he had the flu and needed some spicy soup.
“He sent me a message at 6.30 in the morning saying ‘guess what, having dinner and then Clive came along.'”
“It was completely spontaneous.
“It has been completely miscast.”
Mr Turnbull on Monday labelled conservative political commentator Andrew Bolt “demented” and “unhinged” for suggesting he’s trying to take back the Liberal leadership.
Liberal senator Cory Bernardi, also a guest on the program, said he thought Mr Turnbull went too far in criticising Mr Bolt.
“It was inappropriate, it was unwise to do,” he said.
It kicked the whole thing along.
“Malcolm I just think went a bit too heavy today.”
On Sunday Mr Bolt asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the weekend whether Mr Turnbull’s recent dinner with Mr Palmer was an indication Mr Turnbull has designs on the party’s top job.
Mr Abbott on Sunday played down Mr Turnbull’s actions, saying it was “perfectly reasonable” for senior members of the coalition to talk with crossbenchers to help get the budget passed.
Mr Bolt has written on his popular blog that he is sure Mr Turnbull is not contemplating any imminent challenge.