Outspoken radio host and Sky News commentator Alan Jones has admitted he contacted two Liberal MPs to urge change within the party during last week’s leadership spill.
Mr Jones told ABC’s 7.30 on Monday night that one of the MPs was the Member for Bennelong John Alexander, but refused to name the other.
“I contacted certain MPs, yes,” the 2GB host said.
“And encouraged them to recognise that if they wanted to go, Australia wanted to go the same way, there had to be change,” Mr Jones told 7.30.
“I didn’t turn against (Malcolm) Turnbull, but I turned against the (energy) policy,” he said.
“I contacted JA [John Alexander] and said this is critical stuff, you’ve really got to think about this, the party’s got to change direction.”
While he did not name the other MP contacted, Mr Jones was adamant he did not speak to cabinet ministers Mathias Cormann, Michaelia Cash or Mitch Fifield.
Mr Jones said he supported Mr Turnbull at the 2016 federal election, but the “writing was on the wall” for the Liberals.
“I tried to help Malcolm Turnbull at the last election because I thought it was a better option than the then-Labor Party,” he said.
“It is Australia that matters here … when people can’t afford electricity, for goodness sake.”
Mr Jones’ revelations come a week after Channel Nine political reporter Chris Uhlmann named him as one of the key media figures who helped bring down Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) August 25, 2018
Former editor of the Herald Sun and editorial co-founder of The New Daily, Bruce Guthrie, wrote in a column last week that it was no surprise the PM was deposed only weeks after Mr Murdoch visited Australia.
He pointed to a campaign by the Murdoch-owned press to force a change of leadership, “aided by an army of Sydney shock jocks, notably Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and Paul Murray”.
Mr Jones’ admission on Monday night also came after Mr Turnbull’s outgoing speech on Friday, in which he said he had been toppled by a “determined insurgency” backed by powerful voices in the media.
Mr Jones denied the claims and said he “couldn’t care” that the former prime minister probably had him in mind in his speech.
“It’s immaterial to me … I suppose so. In his eyes, yes, I’m sure I am,” Mr Jones said.
“I’m here to express an opinion and I express it strongly. I think I’ve been saying for months and months and months, there had to be two changes – leadership change and policy change,” he added.
“I think everybody has conceded, we don’t want to overstate the case, that Turnbull was hopeless.
“My position has been completely consistent. I said the day that Turnbull stabbed Abbott in the back, that this would end in tears. Well, it’s ended in tears and anger.”