I congratulate Scott Morrison on becoming the 30th Prime Minister of Australia. I also congratulate Josh Frydenberg on being elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.
Last week was an incredibly difficult period for the Liberal Party but I believe we are now unified and focused on working together to ensure Bill Shorten does not become Prime Minister.
At last Tuesday’s Liberal Party Room meeting the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull caused a leadership spill. This vote resulted in a large number of my colleagues voting for change. This unexpected number combined with a series of subsequent Ministerial resignations made it clear to me that the Leadership of the Parliamentary Liberal Party was unsettled and a second Liberal Party room meeting was required to resolve that issue.
I was one of 43 members who signed a petition to hold a second Party Room meeting before the end of the week so that the matter could be resolved. While my name may appear second on one sheet of that petition, there were a number of sheets circulating concurrently. My understanding is that a number of people had signed the petition before I signed that document.
At the Party Room meeting on Friday, three exceptional candidates put themselves forward for the position of Leader of the Liberal Party (and as such Prime Minister); Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop, each able to deliver for our nation. I had to make a difficult choice between three of my well respected colleagues. Ultimately, I voted based on who I thought gave the Coalition the best opportunity to retain Government at the next election.
I have been open and honest with my constituents in declaring that I voted for Peter Dutton, a Member from Queensland who I thought had the ability to help retain a number of Queensland seats which are required in order for the Coalition to hold Government.
I also considered the very strong support that Mr Dutton had provided me during my time as Member for Barker, in particular surrounding the need to lower energy prices.
I look forward to working with Prime Minister Morrison in the interests of all Australians and for me, most importantly working to deliver for Barker. I have always enjoyed a close and constructive relationship with Scott Morrison and I have every confidence that as Prime Minister he will be open and receptive to my views when representing the people of Barker.
No one enjoys leadership spills, particularly when they take place within the Party of Government. I’m glad that this is now behind us.
Most importantly, as a team the Liberal Party is unified, focused and committed to getting on with the job.