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Tony Abbott: Malcolm Turnbull could be playing ‘dirty tricks’ on Peter Dutton

Article image for Tony Abbott: Malcolm Turnbull could be playing ‘dirty tricks’ on Peter Dutton

The former Prime Minister says the focus on Peter Dutton’s childcare centres is a “dirty tricks” campaign by either Labor or Malcolm Turnbull.

The solicitor general is looking at whether Mr Dutton has breached Section 44 of the Constitution.

Mr Dutton’s family trust owns two childcare centres, which are the beneficiaries of taxpayer funds.

If he’s found to be in breach, he may be ineligible to sit in parliament.

The Member for Warringah tells Ben Fordham the matter was resolved earlier this year, and it’s “strange” the Prime Minister didn’t shut down the speculation today.

“Given that there is QC’s advice that he is absolutely in the clear, I just think it was just very strange that today the Prime Minister didn’t simply say that this matter has been considered.

“There’s QC advice that Peter Dutton’s position is absolutely secure.

“I think a lot of people have wondered… over the last couple of days, they’ve thought, ‘more dirty tricks’.

“Whether these are dirty tricks from a Labor Party which is desperate not to have Peter Dutton as its opponent, or whether this is just one last throw from a despairing incumbent, I just don’t know.”

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The former prime minister has also rubbished speculation he’s been offered a Cabinet position in a future Dutton government.

He tells Ben he hasn’t done any deals.

“I don’t do deals, I just do my best to try to serve.

“I certainly have been made no promises, no commitments.

“I just want to do my best to bind up the Liberal Party’s wounds once we’ve put this episode behind us.”