Peter Dutton has ruled out hopes of one day becoming Liberal leader, but says the coup he helped instigate against Malcolm Turnbull helped the Coalition win the May federal election.
The Home Affairs Minister attempted to take the party’s top job in two leadership contests in August as Mr Turnbull’s prime ministership unravelled.
But in the final episode of Sky News’ Bad Blood/New Blood documentary series on Wednesday night, he said he no longer holds leadership ambitions.
Mr Dutton insisted he only put his hand up in the leadership spill because he believed a Turnbull government could not be re-elected, and claimed his actions played a crucial part in the Coalition’s “miracle” May election win.
“In doing what we did last August … we put the Liberal Party in the best possible position that it’s been in for at least 20 years,” he said.
“For me, it’s very clear, and I hope this is the case that there is now a long period of Government under Scott Morrison.”
Mr Dutton also argued that Mr Turnbull brought about his own demise by calling the first leadership spill.
“Malcolm made a fatal decision in going into the Tuesday meeting and declaring open the leadership. I didn’t go in and challenge, Malcolm had made a decision. It wasn’t my intention to challenge that week,” he said.
“Again, it was a demonstration in my mind of his flawed political judgement, and that’s what triggered the events last August.”
Mr Dutton isn’t the only person to have some rough words about Mr Turnbull, who is writing a book about his time in politics due for release later this year.
Former defence industry minister and retired MP Steve Ciobo had some himself, stemming from a “boozy dinner” with a former senior member of the Howard government.
“Malcolm made the remark to me, he said the problem with politics – and I’m not one to swear but I want to give an accurate portrayal – he said the problem with politics is that it f*cks people up.
“The point about that is that I think unfortunately what we’ve seen now in the months that have ensued, is that Malcolm in many respects has become what he was rejecting back then.”