Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch

PM rallies troops ahead of election assault

THE federal election is already heading into combative territory as Prime Minister Scott Morrison tells his troops to prepare for "full engagement with the enemy".

Meanwhile, Malcolm Turnbull continues to fire potshots at his former colleagues from outside the compound.

In an early sign voters should prepare for an aggressive election campaign, Mr Morrison revved up his troops in a party room meeting and urged them to fight a tough ground game in their electorates.

"From the beginning of next year it will be time to move into full engagement with the enemy," Mr Morrison said.

"(You need to) deliver key messages of strength versus weakness, a strong Australia versus a weaker ­Australia."

His comments followed his predecessor Mr Turnbull, speaking at the Smart Energy Summit in Sydney yesterday, firing more shots at his former colleagues.

Mr Turnbull said there was "a huge gulf" between Liberal MPs' views on energy.

"There is a significant percentage of the Coalition members who do not believe that climate change is real," Mr Turnbull said.

"They are prepared to blow up the government in order to get their way."

Asked if his comments were helpful to the Liberal Party, Mr Turnbull replied that they were factual.

Meanwhile, three former prime ministers, John Howard, Tony Abbott and Mr Turnbull, all backed Mr Morrison's changes to Liberal party room rules which make it harder to remove a sitting PM.

The new rules mean a sitting Liberal prime minister cannot be removed unless two-thirds of the party room agree to do so.

Mr Howard, who in August said changing rules was not a good idea, said the party responded to a concern.

"But they also preserve the authority of the parliamentary party completely when it comes to choosing the leader," he said.

Mr Abbott said the changes were sensible and people were sick of leadership coups.

"They're sick of it and we're sick of it and it has to stop," he said.

Mr Turnbull said it was a good change but he was unsure how practical the new rules would be.

"I think people will welcome the prospect of there being less of the revolving door prime ministership. So it's a welcome reform," he said.



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