Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has accused Fairfax Media and the ABC of trying to topple Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Coalition Government.
Mr Dutton told morning radio there was a “huge move by Fairfax at the moment to try and bring the Government down”. Later in the morning he doubled-down on his comments, accusing the media organisation of conducting a “jihad” against the Government.
“I think regardless of what Tony Abbott does, Fairfax will say it’s bad,” he told the ABC’s AM program.
Mr Dutton accused some journalists of over-stepping their responsibilities, adding Fairfax was “being helped by the ABC”.
“They aren’t supposed to be political players, they’re supposed to be objective reporters of the news and I think many of them have morphed into frustrated politicians,” he said.
In an interview with Sky News on Tuesday morning, he criticised the use of anonymous social media accounts to leak information.
“The reality is there is a bit of a jihad being conducted by Fairfax at the moment. Hard to get a good story up in Fairfax,” he said.
Mr Dutton’s attack on Fairfax echoes complaints about News Limited’s political coverage from Julia Gillard when she was prime minister.
Then communications minister Stephen Conroy once accused the Rupert Murdoch-owned stable of trying to bring about “regime change”.
Fairfax journalists have been the recipient of several damaging leaks from Mr Abbott’s Cabinet over recent months.
Coalition sources have also regularly vented complaints about the Government’s performance to the ABC.
Warnings from the Prime Minister that leaks and backgrounding would not be tolerated have done little to stem the flow of damaging reports.
Mr Dutton has warned his colleagues they will hand Labor the next election if they are not unified.
“If people want to play mischief, then you know what happens,” Mr Dutton said.
“That’s the consequence of parties that aren’t unified.
“The worst possible outcome would be to allow Bill Shorten and his union mates at the CFMEU to get into The Lodge, to get control of this country.
“It would be a disaster for the economy.”
The latest internal chatter surrounding Treasurer Joe Hockey prompted Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos to slam ministers for briefing journalists against colleagues.
Yesterday he urged the Prime Minister to sack any minister caught leaking.