CANBERRA -- Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has declared Tony Abbott will “retain the prime ministership” amid new rumbling about his leadership.
The Financial Review is reporting that Liberal “foot soldiers” are sounding out MPs over the leadership, in the wake of continuing poor polls, the Dyson Heydon controversy and confusion over the way forward on same sex marriage.
Cabinet Ministers last night discussed a possible "people's vote", but no decision has been made on either an Irish style marriage equality plebiscite or referendum.
It’s reported that the soundings are coming from the camps of leadership aspirants, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.
Tony Abbott survived a self-described "near death experience" in February, when a motion for a leadership spill failed to get up.
Josh Frydenberg has told ABC News Breakfast he has not been approached and he has declared himself a very strong supporter of the Prime Minister.
“I think Tony Abbott will retain the prime ministership and lead us to victory at the next election.”
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says the Liberal Party is dysfunctional.
"This is a Government at war with themselves," he told reporters in Canberra.
"Concentrating on themselves, concentrating on one job only, Tony Abbott’s job, when there are jobs of millions of Australians that need attention of the Australian government."
Josh Frydenberg says the Government has been behind in the polls before.
“If you go back to 2001 when John Howard was trailing Kim Beazley, 2004 when again he was trailing Mark Latham by greater amounts than we are behind today in the polls,” he told the ABC.
“With a year still to go to the next election, sure, we need to get the debate back to growth and jobs.”
“But we can turn the ship around.”
Meantime, the Assistant Treasurer says the case has not been made to remove Justice Dyson Heydon as head of the Royal Commission into Trade Union Corruption over allegations of perceived bias.
Justice Heydon yesterday conceded he overlooked Liberal Party involvement in a speaking engagement.
Josh Frydenberg says Labor and the Unions should back off, “He said yesterday he had overlooked the accompanying flier.”
“He’s an eminent jurist. This Royal Commission has revealed bribery, blackmail, corruption, secret payments, secret deals.”
The ACTU is considering going to the Federal or High Court in a bid to remove Dyson Heydon from his role.
Follow Karen Barlow on Twitter: @kjbar