ScoMo is ‘done with’ Malcolm Turnbull
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is "done with" Malcolm Turnbull and will no longer ask the former leader to represent Australia at international conferences following his failure to help campaign in Wentworth.
In September, Mr Morrison asked Mr Turnbull to represent the Australian Government at the 'Our Ocean Legacy' conference in Bali next week - a decision that has been met with a backlash from Liberal and National MPs after the former Prime Minister did not even send a tweet backing the Liberal Party in the by-election caused by his resignation.
Senior Liberal sources told The Daily Telegraph while he would not rescind the decision to allow Mr Turnbull to represent Australia next week in Bali, Mr Morrison was now "done with" Mr Turnbull - a claim denied by the Prime Minister's office.
"Scott has said to a number of senior Liberals that he doesn't want anything further to do with Malcolm," a senior Liberal source said.
The pair had been communicating regularly over WhatsApp prior to Mr Turnbull's decision to reject Mr Morrison's request to help Liberal Party candidate Dave Sharma campaign against independent Dr Kerryn Phelps in Wentworth.
Mr Turnbull, who told journalists yesterday he was "out of partisan politics", was initially invited to attend the conference by the Indonesian Government in March when still prime minister.
After the August leadership spill, Mr Morrison said he was unable to attend the conference, so asked Mr Turnbull to still go. It was understood to be an "olive branch" extended to the former leader.
All of Mr Turnbull's travel and accommodation costs will be covered by taxpayers during the trip.
"I did request the former prime minister to represent us at that conference, and he'll be there representing the policies of our government," Mr Morrison said yesterday.
His office later issued a statement denying that Mr Turnbull had been banned from representing Australia at such events, adding that Mr Morrison "will be seeking to maintain a positive relationship with the former PM as he would do with any other former PMs".
"Mr Morrison rejects the suggestion made to the Telegraph," the statement said.
"The decision to invite Mr Turnbull to represent Australia was initiated eight weeks ago after direct discussion with President Widodo of Indonesia and was well received by the President."
However, Nationals MP and former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said Mr Turnbull may be "sulking" after losing the leadership and should not represent Australia at the conference, especially given his refusal to campaign in Wentworth.
"It is a problem and there should have been a bit more thought put into this" Mr Joyce said. "I think he's angry about losing his job - one can only presume some sulking. I suggest that probably gives us a very good reason not to send him to Bali."
The Wentworth by-election has still not been officially declared, with the Australian Electoral Commission still counting postal votes yesterday.
Dr Phelps' lead dropped by 74 votes to 1552 as Mr Sharma secured 55 per cent of the postal votes counted yesterday. He needed upward of 70 per cent to dent the margin.
Mr Morrison defended the pending result, saying that while the Liberal vote in the eastern suburbs seat dropped by about a third so did the Labor and Greens vote.
Fronting the Coalition party room for the first time since Saturday's by-election, Mr Morrison hit back at calls from moderates in the party for action on climate change and the urgent removal of refugees from Nauru.
"We're not shifting to the left or the right - it's not hokey pokey politics," he told the closed door meeting.
"We will continue to be a strong centre-right government with strong centre-right parties focusing on the things that matter."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, whose leadership has been under pressure from renegade Nationals, urged MPs not to be "spooked" by the result in the once-safe Liberal seat.
"What they think in Double Bay is not what they think in Dubbo," Mr McCormack said.