News Politics ‘He got desperate’: New details emerge of Morrison’s alleged dirty campaign
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‘He got desperate’: New details emerge of Morrison’s alleged dirty campaign

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Scott Morrison has suffered another bruising night on the campaign trail after his attempts to connect with voters at a regional pub backfired and a former Liberal Party member detailed more allegations of racially charged political tactics.

In a bombshell interview on Wednesday night, Michael Towke told Channel 10’s The Project that he was made to look like a “dodgy Leb” in a desperate campaign he insists was being carried out with the Prime Minister’s knowledge.

“He was front and centre,” Mr Towke said of the campaign, which he said included slanderous accusations that he was involved in criminal activity, had engaged in branch stacking and misrepresented his qualification.

“For him and he was involved. He got desperate.

“From what I’ve been told, he was pretty explicit that you can’t have this particular Lebanese [person].”

Mr Towke sensationally claimed that a member of Mr Morrison’s cabinet had sent him an unsolicited statement of support since his account of what transpired in the Cook preselection first emerged last week.

“This person is a Minister of the Crown,” Mr Towke said.

“[They said] ‘I just want you to know, I believe you’.”

Voter accuses PM of abandoning vulnerable Australians

While the program aired, Mr Morrison was in Newcastle where he made an impromptu visit to the Edgeworth Tavern.

He was hoping to pull pints and have a beer with locals – but not everyone was happy to have the PM in the pub.

In a video published by the Newcastle Herald, Mr Morrison is seen being confronted by a disability pensioner who shares his plight and accuses the PM of breaking promises.

“I’ve been fighting for 12 years, mate – you treat a disability pensioner that worked all his life…he paid his taxes, now he’s getting taxed ahead,” the man is heard telling Mr Morrison.

Angry pensioner confronts Scott Morrison

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‘Let him sign a stat dec’

Expect Mr Morrison to face questions over that confrontation on Thursday.

The scrutiny over his behaviour during a 2007 preselection battle will also continue.

Mr Morrison has strenuously denied the account by his former rival, which has previously been attested to in a statutory declaration by former Liberal Scott Chapman, who said the Prime Minister had falsely raised allegations that Mr Towke was a Muslim in order to swing party members.

Mr Towke seized on a moment last week during which Mr Morrison said he was prepared to sign a sworn statement denying any involvement in a campaign of slander before apparently backtracking to raise questions about the Prime Minister’s credibility.

“Scott Morrison doesn’t have much credibility,” he said.

“He’s been called out by his own side, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott, the French President [Emmanuel Macron], Barnaby Joyce.

“Let him sign a stat dec.”

Mr Towke, a then-southern Sydney Liberal, initially thumped Mr Morrison in the race for the Liberal nomination for the seat of Cook but was later forced to withdraw.

“Figuratively [they] put [a] political gun to my head, and basically told me that they were going to ruin me,” Mr Towke said.

“I would never be employable ever again if I didn’t withdraw from the preselection, and throw my votes in behind Morrison.”

Mr Towke won a defamation payment from News Corporation in connection to reporting about the allegations made against him.