Photographers and journalists have interrupted the US getaway of Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull as they – and Scott Morrison – try to escape the fallout of the Liberal Party’s draining leadership battle.
Mr Turnbull reportedly angrily told the paparazzi to leave him and his wife alone as they were followed on the streets of Manhattan near their luxury New York apartment on Monday (US time).
“Why don’t you leave us alone?” he told a News Corp reporter.
It was a far cry from the standing ovation Mr Turnbull received from press gallery journalists in Canberra when he announced he was stepping down as prime minister.
The New Daily has chosen not to run the invasive photos.
Try as he might, new Prime Minister Scott Morrison has struggled to move on from what he described on Tuesday as the “muppet show” of the leadership spill.
Even as photos of the Turnbulls splashed in the Australian media, Mr Morrison was being forced to address fresh allegations of bullying of female Liberal MPs by Peter Dutton’s supporters during the vote.
“One of my colleagues was in tears the whole day,” Senator Lucy Ghichuhi told the ABC on Monday night. Senior Liberal minister Kelly O’Dwyer confirmed bullying tactics were used, saying some had even “tried” to intimidate her.
For his part, Mr Dutton said he was unaware of any bullying.
“I wouldn’t condone it if it happened,” he told a breakfast TV show.
Mr Morrison said he had asked Ms O’Dwyer, the Minister for Women, and party whip Nola Marino to investigate the claims.
“And the curtain comes down on that,” he said, hoping to put an end to it.
But it didn’t go away. It didn’t help Mr Morrison that his new ministry is already leaking, with the second damaging story in as many days.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Mr Turnbull had been days away from striking a crucial peace deal with Catholic and independent schools that would have removed a major election problem.
Mr Turnbull was, according to the leak, about to sign a $4.4 billion, 10-year deal with Catholic and independent schools before he was voted out by his own party.
The standoff, especially with the powerful Catholic sector, over funding had been a major headache for the Turnbull government. Labor had promised to give more funding if elected.
Mr Morrison insisted he was “not terribly concerned” by the leak. He added a peace deal would be announced when it was reached.
“This is unresolved business at this point, this is unfinished business,” he said.
He could have been referring to the spill.