Senior Coalition figures are trying to contain the rebellion over the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).
Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne has rejected a suggestion Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton could be considering a leadership tilt.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Mr Dutton was being urged to “seize the leadership from Malcolm Turnbull within weeks on a policy platform of lower immigration and cheaper energy bills”.
“Absolutely not,” Mr Pyne told Channel Nine when asked if Mr Dutton was “going to have a crack”.
Yesterday Mr Dutton told radio 2GB he was a team player.
That interview caused some raised eyebrows, because he also said if he did not agree with a policy then he would resign.
But today his colleagues have played that down, saying Mr Dutton was simply explaining the Cabinet process, not signalling that he did not support the NEG.
Mr Pyne insisted Cabinet was 100 per cent united behind the Prime Minister and said there was “a lot of hyper-ventilating going on”.
“There’s a few people I think who are trying to put the band back together from the late 2000s,” he said.
Mr Pyne would not say who he was referring to.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham insisted Mr Dutton was “one of the great team members of Team Turnbull” and noted he was “a great contributor to our team”.
Abbott continues railing against NEG
Former prime minster Tony Abbott has written a seven-point plan to deliver lower energy prices.
He said the NEG did not focus on price and called for a range of actions, including keeping coal-fired power stations like Liddell open longer.
Senator Birmingham dismissed that.
“I think Australians are sick and tired of politicians who want to pick fights over energy policy rather than deliver real solutions, practical solutions that will be enduring into the future,” he said.
The Federal Government is expected to reveal the details of its plan to bring down retail power prices within days.
It is tipped to include a standard electricity price to make it easier for consumers to compare retailers’ offers.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky no-one had raised the suggestion of Mr Dutton making a push for the leadership with him.
He said he and Mr Dutton were both very committed to the task of the Turnbull Government.
Nationals MP hasn’t ruled out quitting frontbench over NEG
The internal Coalition debate on the National Energy Guarantee is an ongoing pressure point for the Government, with some MPs threatening to cross the floor to vote against it.
Assistant Minister Keith Pitt has not ruled out quitting the frontbench so he can cross the floor on the NEG.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Michael McCormack said Mr Pitt had not told him he was considering resigning from the frontbench.
Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie urged people speaking out against the Government policy to “get on board”.
“I would say it is a couple of outliers and we know their names and we are not surprised,” Ms McKenzie said when asked if the disunity over climate policy that cost Mr Turnbull his leadership in 2009 was happening again.
“Not at all,” she said.
Mr McCormack highlighted the Government’s message to try to bring down the cost of power and its threat to use a “big stick” to cut energy costs for consumers.