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Scott Morrison has been undermined by a second major leak against him in two weeks.
Extraordinary details of a cabinet meeting argument on Monday night have been leaked to journalist Peter van Onselen and published in The Australian.
Van Onselen is the reporter who ambushed the PM on live TV last week with leaked texts messages in which Gladys Berejiklian allegedly called him a ‘horrible, horrible person’.
He said his source was a senior Liberal cabinet minister but refused to say which one.
Scott Morrison (pictured in Parliament on Thursday) has been undermined by a second major leak against him in two weeks
Now Van Onselen reports that Mr Morrison was ‘rolled’ in a cabinet meeting where he proposed a controversial strategy to get enough support for his religious discrimination laws which were debated this week.
Mr Morrison allegedly proposed allowing Parliament to debate a revamped national integrity commission in exchange for support for his religion bill from moderate Liberals and independents.
There was apparently a heated debate in which several ministers including Communications Minister Paul Fletcher passionately spoke out against the plan which was ultimately deemed too risky and scrapped in an embarrassing defeat for the PM.
Cabinet meetings are secretive and private and leaks such as this are rare.
Van Onselen does not reveal his source for this story, instead only quoting a mystery Liberal who said the PM’s plan was ‘too tricky by half’.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said his office does not comment on cabinet meetings.
Mr Morrison last week said he is confident that no Cabinet minister tried to undermine him by leaking the Gladys texts.
Marise Payne, Greg Hunt, Karen Andrews, Paul Fletcher, Peter Dutton and Angus Taylor have publicly denied being the leaker.
Network Ten political editor Peter van Onselen confronted the PM on live TV with the incendiary text messages
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian take a selfie after making an address to thousands of high school students in Sydney in 2019
When Van Onselen presented the texts between the former NSW Premier and a mystery Liberal cabinet minister at the National Press Club, he told the PM: ‘I’ve got them right here.’
‘In one, she (Gladys Berejiklian) described you as, quote, ”a horrible, horrible person”, going on to say she did not trust you, and you’re more concerned with politics than people.
‘The minister is even more scathing, describing you as a fraud and, quote, ”a complete psycho”.
In a statement released hours later, Ms Berejiklian said she had ‘no recollection’ of the remarks, but didn’t deny they were said.
Van Onselen says he got the texts from the federal cabinet minister who was involved but has refused to name his source, sparking a witch hunt.
The journalist later addressed criticism that he deliberately picked his moment to ambush the PM with the messages to inflict maximum political damage.
‘I was only authorised to use them recently, but I was made aware of them a while ago,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘The National Press Club was the best opportunity available to put the messages to the PM and get a proper response. At a news conference, he would have dismissed that question long before it was over,’ he added in his column.
In the text exchange Gladys Berejiklian allegedly called Mr Morrison a ‘horrible, horrible person’
Source: Daily Mail