Australia

Turnbull puts focus on power prices as rebellion grows

0:00

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists he is focused on bringing down electricity bills as speculation rises of a rebellion within coalition ranks.

Malcolm Turnbull insists his focus is on power prices - not his own job - as infighting over energy policy threatens to cut short his time as prime minister.

There is growing speculation Mr Turnbull could be in strife amid internal divisions over his government's flagship National Energy Guarantee.

The prime minister has flagged a number of changes to his signature policy in an attempt to shore up support, including stricter controls on electricity retailers and a shift in the way carbon emission reductions are set.

However, it is far from certain whether the revised position will be enough to quell a rebellion inside his own ranks.

Mr Turnbull was asked on Sunday if he was concerned by critics claiming the numbers against him within the coalition party room were rising.

"I'm focused on getting energy prices down and I'll leave you to all of the speculation," he told reporters in western NSW.

Some conservative colleagues have begun drifting towards Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton as their preferred prime minister.

The leadership speculation gathered steam after a radio interview where Mr Dutton said further disagreements could lead to his resignation from cabinet.

"In relation to media stories today, just to make very clear, the prime minister has my support," Mr Dutton tweeted on Saturday.

"I support the policies of the government. My position hasn't changed from my comments last Thursday."

On Sunday, Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie twice refused to say whether she would like to see Mr Turnbull stay on as prime minister, before eventually saying "yes" when asked for a third time.

Senator McKenzie will be among cabinet ministers gathered for dinner at the Lodge on Sunday, where Mr Turnbull is expected to pitch major changes to energy and tax policy in a bid to quell unrest.

She insisted the prime minister was doing a great job when asked how safe his leadership was.

Quizzed about whether Mr Turnbull should remain in the top job, Senator McKenzie initially said her focus was on delivering for regional Australia.

"That's my one, two and three focus," she told Sky News on Sunday.

"I'll leave commentary on the Liberal Party to the Liberals."

Pressed again on whether Mr Turnbull should continue leading the government, Senator McKenzie said his record of delivery spoke for itself.

Questioned a third time on whether she would like him to stay on, the senator eventually said "yes".

"I think Malcolm Turnbull is our prime minister and I would like to see him stay as our prime ministers, and that is actually a decision for the Liberal Party," she told Sky host David Speers.

"I haven't heard anything personally that would suggest that is not going to continue to be the case."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch