Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull believes his successor, Scott Morrison, was the source of damaging leaks that put the government on the back foot ahead of the 2016 federal election.
Mr Turnbull does not believe the Morrison-led Coalition deserved to win the 2019 federal election.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was disdainful of Mr Morrison’s conduct, the book says, texting Mr Turnbull “we have a treasurer problem”.
The book, according to Nine newspapers, alleges Senator Cormann attempted to have Mr Morrison cut out of policy talks in order to end the leaks.
Mr Turnbull believed Mr Morrison came close to resigning as treasurer.
“I have spoken to Morrison again and again about this and it was important the cabinet see that I am putting my foot down,” Mr Turnbull wrote at the time.
“He has to be, and be seen to be, on notice. He almost offered his resignation to me afterwards but didn’t.
“In my study here in The Lodge, we agreed to go forward but strictly on the basis that we agree on matters like this privately and then announce. No more front-running.”
Mr Turnbull also criticised Mr Morrison’s bid to portray himself as the “daggy dad” from the suburbs during the election campaign as cringeworthy.
“He’s a professional politician who understands marketing and messaging better than most,” Mr Turnbull writes in his memoir, A Bigger Picture.
“His cringeworthy ‘daggy dad’ persona is more exaggerated than it is conflated, but in net terms it probably helped.
“All that aside, however, the truth is that Labor lost the election that the Coalition, after the August coup, did not deserve to win.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the memoir would likely end up on his bookshelf but for now he remained focused on the government’s coronavirus response.
“I’m not going into the entrails of the past,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky on Thursday.
“When I get a second, I’ll start reading books again.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said he would not be reading the memoir, which levels accusations at many government ministers, including him.
“None of us are perfect, I absolutely acknowledge that,” Mr Hunt told Sky.
In the book, Mr Turnbull also takes aim at his former cabinet colleagues, including Mr Morrison, for their roles in the coup that led to his resignation in August 2018.
According to The Australian, Mr Turnbull accuses Mr Morrison of double dealing in his bid to succeed him when he had had to be “propped up” as treasurer.
Malcolm Turnbull’s views on….. pic.twitter.com/11J3idFycH
— Ewin Hannan (@EwinHannan) April 15, 2020
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, a coup leader, was a “narcissist” and “self-delusional” for thinking he could be prime minister, Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Dutton said he would give the book a miss.
“I wish Mr Turnbull all the best in his retirement and I’m not going into a tit for tat,” he told 2GB radio on Thursday.
The memoir will be launched next Monday.