Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ‘roasted’ Treasurer Scott Morrison in front of Cabinet colleagues during a dinner at The Lodge in February.
According to The Australian, Mr Turnbull gave Mr Morrison a serving over his public handing of the GST, and the possibility of a tax hike while in the company of a number of ministers.
The dinner occurred just before the Coalition fell to 50-50 in a two-party preferred vote, signalling the end of the Turnbull honeymoon.
The newspaper is reporting the Prime Minister blamed the poor figures partly on Mr Morrison’s unsatisfactory media performances – including a speech at the National Press Club in which he referred to the budget as a “unicorn” – and the public’s poor reception of his continued hard sell on the GST.
Mr Turnbull apparently told Mr Morrison to scale back his media commitments to avoid more damage to the party.
Neither men denied the dinner incident, according to the newspaper.
This week, Mr Turnbull admitted Mr Morrison had not been party to the small circle of ministers consulted before the Prime Minister recalled both houses to parliament, thus moving one step closer to a double dissolution trigger.
Just one hour before the Prime Minister announced the anticipated move, Mr Morrison was on talkback radio spruiking a May 10 budget.
“May 10, May 10!” he said when pressed by 2GB host Ray Hadley. “We’re preparing for May 10, Ray.”
By 11am, Mr Morrison’s budget had moved to May 3.
Unofficially, the Coalition has unofficially begun the longest campaign in Australian election history, with it looking likely Senate crossbenchers will strike down Mr Turnbull’s ABCC revival bill.