Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has challenged claims that “hundreds” of members are leaving the Liberal Party after his coup to take down Tony Abbott.
The comments come after dumped Employment Minister Eric Abetz emailed supporters on Wednesday, saying members “owed allegiance” to party beliefs despite the change in leadership.
Mr Abetz cited “hundreds of resignations from the Liberal Party” following the leadership spill two weeks ago.
“It is disappointing to hear of a spate of resignations from the Liberal Party and of threats not to renew memberships over the recent federal leadership change in the Liberal Party,” he said.
“The Liberal Party has always been bigger than the person who holds the position of federal leader of the parliamentary party from time to time.”
But Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Thursday that his feedback was that people were “very happy with the transition”, adding that members come and go in political parties.
Speaking on ABC radio on Thursday, Treasurer Scott Morrison said he understood some people could be “feeling things deeply” after the leadership change.
But he said he hadn’t witnessed any unhappiness.
“If there are in other places, well, I think that’s part of what happens in these sorts of situations but the good news is that the transition has gone very well,” he told ABC radio.
Fellow frontbencher Alan Tudge said in Victoria a “few dozen members” had resigned, but more than that number had joined the party during the past fortnight.
“There certainly are members who have been disappointed with the change and we’re all trying to encourage them to say … don’t put in your resignation for your membership, reconsider your position and give Malcolm Turnbull a chance,” he told Sky News.
– with AAP