Turnbull to Promote Abbott’s Ally Dutton, the Australian Reports

  • Australian premier reaching out to conservative wing: report
  • Bloc was disaffected by Turnbull’s coup against Abbott: report

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, projected to be re-elected with a smaller majority, is offering a larger leadership role to Peter Dutton, a long-time ally of former premier Tony Abbott, the Australian newspaper reported.

Immigration Minister Dutton may be added to the national security cabinet, a role that was stripped from him last year after Turnbull wrestled the leadership from Abbott, according to the the newspaper, which didn’t say where it got the information. Turnbull is unlikely to offer Abbott a minister’s portfolio, known as a frontbench position, it said.

Turnbull is seeking to shore up support within his party and from independent lawmakers after losing ground in the July 2 election. His Liberal-National coalition is forecast to win 76 seats of the 150-member House of Representatives, down from the 90 it won in 2013 under Abbott, according to projections from Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The prime minister will probably appoint younger members of the Liberal Party’s conservative bloc, such as Michael Sukkar and Zed Ses­elja, to ministerial vacancies created by election losses, the newspaper said. Six seats remain in doubt, the ABC said on its website. The Australian Electoral Commission won’t declare a definitive tally before July 15, the deadline for postal votes to be received.

The Liberal Party is in the midst of a civil war and the government has no direction, opposition leader Bill Shorten told a caucus of his Labor Party on Friday, according to the Australian. That could force the country to again head to the polls within a year, Shorten said.

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