New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro has called on Malcolm Turnbull to resign, describing the Prime Minister as “completely out of touch”.
In an explosive interview with radio host Alan Jones on radio 2GB on Friday morning, Mr Barilaro questioned Mr Turnbull’s leadership and said he had “lost all hope”.
“Turnbull is the problem, the Prime Minister is the problem,” he said.
“He should step down, allow for a clean out of what the leadership looks like federally.
“And whoever governs the country needs to make sure that they put the country and its people first.”
In response, Mr Turnbull said Mr Barilaro should have raised these issues with him personally and suggested the Deputy Premier was “trying to ingratiate himself” with Mr Jones by making the comments.
Mr Barilaro’s boss, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, hung him out to dry on Friday morning.
“Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has my full and absolute support,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.
“Mr Barilaro has expressed a personal view which I do not share. Mr Barilaro is well aware of my position.”
Ms Berejiklian said she looked forward to working with the Turnbull government to deliver better quality lives for the people of NSW.
Mr Barilaro, the NSW Nationals leader, is the highest ranking Coalition MP to publicly call for the Prime Minister’s resignation.
“You’ve got a party in disarray, a Coalition Government in disarray and a community not unified and that is all at the feet of the Prime Minister of Australia,” he said.
Mr Barilaro rose to become NSW’s deputy premier earlier this year.
“My view is, Turnbull should give Australians a Christmas gift and go before Christmas,” he said.
‘He’s got my number’: Turnbull
Mr Turnbull said Mr Barilaro had not spoken to him about the concerns.
“It is odd he has never raised these matters with me personally,” Mr Turnbull told Melbourne radio station 3AW on Friday morning.
Mr Turnbull said if it was a serious view, Mr Barilaro would have spoken to him directly.
“He has got my number he can call me anytime,” Mr Turnbull said.
He said people were not telling him that he should resign and when asked directly if the thought his time was running out he said: “No, absolutely not.”
Mr Barilaro’s criticisms on Friday included the Prime Minister’s response to the Queensland election.
The Deputy Premier said the state result had been a “disaster”.
“What really got up my goat was on Sunday, was to hear the Prime Minister of this nation say there were no federal issues that affected the state election,” he said.
“That’s just a joke.
“If you’re completely out of touch like that comment, which showed clearly that the federal issues were impacting on the way state voters were voting in a state election, in my mind, it just shows that there is no leadership.”
Mr Turnbull said Mr Barilaro had made similar criticisms, “a little while ago and I left a message for him and he did not call me back”.
He said such views should be expressed privately and face to face.
“I wouldn’t be bagging them in the media like that,” Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Turnbull’s cabinet colleagues are backing him.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she could not disagree more with Mr Barilaro.
And Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said he completely rejected Mr Barilaro’s proposition which he called “completely unhelpful”.
“He is not a federal member of parliament, I don’t know him, I have never met him, it is a regrettable comment, it is uncalled for, it is wrong, I reject it,” Senator Cormann said.