Wilson coy on Dutton push

Saskia Adysti and Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull with Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson.
Camera IconPrime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull with Member for O'Connor Rick Wilson. Credit: Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

O’Connor MP Rick Wilson voted for Peter Dutton in both Liberal party leadership spills last week, despite offering support to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the 24 hours before the party coup.

Mr Wilson was among the 43 signatures on Mr Dutton’s spill motion which forced the party to vote on its leadership for the second time in a week on Friday.

The Advertiser’s sister-paper, The West Australian, reported that Mr Wilson voted for Peter Dutton in both Tuesday and Friday’s spills.

In Thursday’s Advertiser, Mr Wilson said: “The PM (Turnbull) won the ballot (Tuesday) quite convincingly, that was the end of it ... we move on.”

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A day later, Mr Wilson had again voted for Mr Dutton, one of three Liberal ministers to nominate in the spill, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and now former foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Mr Wilson reportedly voted for Mr Dutton in the initial three-way vote on Friday between Mr Morrision, Mr Dutton and Ms Bishop, before again voting for Mr Dutton head-to-head against Mr Morrison, which the latter won 45-40.

Mr Wilson declined any interviews after Friday’s vote, but did release a brief statement praising Mr Morrison.

“As Treasurer, Scott Morrison has presided over unprecedented economic achievements and I’m pleased that as Prime Minister he will be able to oversee the continuation of those policies,” he said. Mr Wilson said he was confident Mr Morrison and deputy leader Josh Frydenberg could re-unite the party. I look forward to working with the new Prime Minister and his deputy to take on the ALP and Bill Shorten next election,” he said.

“That’s the fight we have to focus on and I am confident we will now be able to win that fight.”

Mr Wilson was one of nine WA Liberal MPs to vote for Mr Dutton on Friday with Christian Porter, Michael Keenan, Andrew Hastie, Dean Smith, Michaelia Cash, Slade Brockman, Ian Goodenough and Mathias Corman.

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