Julie Bishop has addressed reports an unnamed Coalition MP is threatening to quit next month in a move which could cost Malcolm Turnbull government. Picture: AAP
Julie Bishop has addressed reports an unnamed Coalition MP is threatening to quit next month in a move which could cost Malcolm Turnbull government. Picture: AAP

Julie Bishop moves on Coalition quit threat

JULIE Bishop has addressed reports an unnamed Coalition MP is threatening to quit next month in a move which could cost Malcolm Turnbull government.

The Foreign Affairs Minister has urged her colleague, who spoke anonymously to News Corp Australia columnist Andrew Bolt about his decision to quit, to speak to her or the Prime Minister first.

If the MP did carry out his threat, the government would be in an even worse position in the lower house than currently.

Two former MPs - Barnaby Joyce and John Alexander - are already out fighting by-elections after being caught up in the citizenship fiasco.

Even if they were returned on December 2 and December 16, one more MP leaving would cost Mr Turnbull his one-seat majority.

It would be the second Coalition MP to quit this year after former Liberal senator Cory Bernardi left in January to form the Australian Conservatives.

Ms Bishop told Sky News this morning she was not aware of any Coalition MP who wanted to quit but would be "very concerned" if someone felt that way.

"If they are thinking that way I would hope that they would come and talk to me or talk to the Prime Minister about their concerns rather than talking to the media," she said.

"If somebody really is concerned, then come and talk to us. My door is always open."

The new crisis comes one day after the government took the extraordinary step of delaying the House of Representatives' next sitting week until December 4, after the December 2 by-election in New England where former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is expected to be re-elected.

Labor, the Greens and crossbench MPs have accused Mr Turnbull of using the delay to avoid an embarrassing backbench revolt over a banking Commission of Inquiry or a move to reverse Sunday penalty rate cuts.

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The MP is threatening to quit when Parliament resumes in the first week of December unless Malcolm Turnbull is replaced as Prime Minister by a conservative member of the Coalition.

He specifically ruled out backing Ms Bishop to replace Mr Turnbull as Prime Minister.

Asked about the reports, Ms Bishop said: "I can't begin to speculate what this is about."

"Nobody has raised that with me," she said.

Ms Bishop also defended the decision to delay parliament for a week, saying it was necessary to deal with an outstanding citizenship issues.

Meanwhile, Mr Turnbull has told reporters in Sydney this morning the decision was "just common sense".

It would give the government the time needed to deal with same-sex marriage legislation and any citizenship issues, which he said were the "two major issues" Parliament needed to address before the end of the year.

The delay gives the lower house two extra weeks after the same-sex marriage bill passes the senate.



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