News National Malcolm Turnbull names ‘insurgents’ and ‘wreckers’ in final speech as Prime Minister

Malcolm Turnbull names ‘insurgents’ and ‘wreckers’ in final speech as Prime Minister

Malcolm Turnbull addresses the media for the final time as Prime Minister. Photo: AAP
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Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he will resign from Parliament, during a  final appearance as Prime Minister in which he excoriated the “insurgents” and “wreckers” within the Liberal Party.

Mr Turnbull lost the leadership of the Liberal party on Friday during a ballot at 12.20pm which he did not contest, won by Treasurer Scott Morrison.

Addressing reporters for the final time as PM, Mr Turnbull described the “insurgency” against him, led by leadership candidate Peter Dutton, as “extraordinary” and “madness”.

“Australians will be dumbstruck and so appalled by the actions of this week,” he said.

“Many Australians will be shaking their heads in disbelief.”

“Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others who chose to deliberately attack the government from within did so because they wanted to bring the government down, to bring my government down.”

“Insofar as there has been chaos this week, it has been created by the wreckers.”

On the question of whether he would resign from Parliament immediately, which could risk the government’s one-seat majority and trigger a by-election in his Sydney seat of Wentworth, Mr Turnbull indicated he would not remain.

“I will be leaving the Parliament not before too long, as I’ve always said.”

Mr Turnbull, who referred to himself as a “reforming Liberal Prime Minister” during his remarks, spoke of his achievements in office.

He mentioned the passing of same-sex marriage legislation as one of his government’s proudest achievements.

“Despite the minority position in the Senate and the one-seat majority in the House of Representatives, we’ve been able to deliver substantial taxation reforms,” he said.

“We have also been able to get on with the job of important historic infrastructure. I’m very proud that we are under way with Snowy Hydro 2.0.”

“So many other big infrastructure projects, and we’ve been able to do it because of strong economic growth.”

Mr Turnbull was joined by his wife, Lucy, daughter Daisy and grandchildren Alice and Jack.

He completed his remarks with a veiled swipe at the conservative forces within the Liberal party.

“We must never allow the politics of race or division or of setting Australians against each other to become part of our political culture.”

He also thanked his family for their support and praised deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop as “our finest Foreign Minister”.

Ms Bishop also contested Friday’s leadership ballot, but was the first candidate eliminated. Scott Morrison then defeated Peter Dutton in a two-candidate contest 45 votes to 40.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg was elected deputy Liberal leader with an “absolute majority”, defeating Health Minister Greg Hunt and Trade Minister Steve Chiobo.

Mr Turnbull is expected to present the Governor-General with his resignation today, paving the way for Scott Morrison to be sworn in as Prime Minister.

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