A veteran Coalition backbencher has urged his colleagues to publicly name the MPs who allegedly bullied them during the Liberal leadership crisis, arguing they must be held accountable.
As Federal Parliament returns after a two-week break, the claims of bullying, intimidation and stand-over tactics remain unresolved and threaten to spill over onto the public record.
Victorian Liberal MP Julia Banks has already announced she is quitting politics at the next election, while her Senate colleague Lucy Gichuhi is expected to use a speech this week to outline her complaints and possibly name names.
Queensland LNP MP Warren Entsch said the conduct of some of his colleagues was “grossly inappropriate”.
“I’m glad to see Lucy’s prepared to stand up and name them and I hope Julia does the same,” he said.
“The small number that’s out there … they need to be fingered and they need to be held accountable for their actions”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the party’s whips are leading the process to handle any complaints, but no one has been able to outline what that process is.
Arriving in Canberra overnight, some MPs continued to express bewilderment at the change of leadership.
LNP MP Ian McDonald described it as “ego-driven stupidity”.
“It’s a bit like World War I and World War II,” he said.
World War II was an extension of World War I and I think this leadership problem is an extension of the one that happened three years ago.”
His Queensland colleague, Mr Entsch, unloaded on the conservative commentators who, he said, played a “very significant role” in the crisis.
“If they want to play the game, why don’t they step down, give up their million-dollar-a-year job, throw their hat in the ring for preselection, and then they can have all the say they want in the party room,” he said.
But Mr Entsch said Mr Morrison had broken a decade-long cycle of Liberal leadership instability because he did not “knife” his predecessor.
“The last person who was elected on merit, without stabbing his predecessor in the back was Brendan Nelson,” he said.
“We’ve now got Scott Morrison in exactly the same position. This has broken the cycle.”
The Government is preparing for a tactical onslaught by Labor this week, testing its numbers on the floor of the Lower House.
Mr Turnbull’s resignation has robbed the Coalition of its outright majority, but with key crossbenchers promising stability, the collapse of the Morrison Government appears unlikely.