'Turnbull should go before Christmas' says Nats leader
NSW National Party leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro has said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should quit and "go before Christmas as a Christmas gift" to Australians.
Speaking on radio this morning, Mr Barilaro told 2GB's Alan Jones he no longer supports Mr Turnbull as Prime Minister.
He said Mr Turnbull had no chance of winning the next election and had lost the support of his partyroom over his backflip over a banking Royal Commission.
"My view is Turnbull should give … a Christmas gift and go before Christmas," he said.
Mr Barilaro said "desperation" has led him to call on the PM to stand down with the decision yesterday to announce a Royal Commission into the banks the final straw.
He described the PM as "out of touch" and the reason the federal government is in disarray.
"Turnbull is the problem. The prime minister is the problem. He should step down and allow for a clean out of what the leadership looks like federally," he said.
Mr Turnbull reacted by accusing Mr Barilaro of "trying to engratiate himself with Alan Jones"
Speaking with Neil Mitchell on 3AW, Mr Turnbull said Mr Barilaro's comments came as a surprise.
"The last time I was with him was in Cooma and we were talking about the Snowy Hydro 2 and he was full of joy with the big investment we are going to make there," he said.
"He's never raised these matters with me in person."
"If that was a serious view he held you would think that he would speak to me directly."
When asked whether his time was running out Mr Turnbull responded "absolutely not".
Mr Barilaro's comments come just 24 hours before the polls open in the New England by-election being contested by former Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
In October, Mr Barilaro accused the PM of being "soft" in the energy debate and being too "pro-renewables".
Just this week, Nationals backbencher Andrew Broad accused Mr Turnbull of a failure of leadership, in another sign of growing tensions inside the federal Coalition.
Mr Broad spoke out after conservative senators had a range of amendments to the same sex marriage legislation slapped down in the upper house.
"I think, in my view, there's been a complete lack of leadership," Mr Broad told ABC radio.
More to come