Treasurer Scott Morrison channels Taylor Swift.
Treasurer Scott Morrison channels Taylor Swift. Evan Agostiniaap

Knifing Abbott? Media has to shake it off, says Treasurer

DETAILED revelations that suggest Scott Morrison was part of a plot to overthrow Prime Minister Tony Abbott alongside Julie Bishop and reigning leader Malcolm Turnbull have been dismissed as "old news" by the Federal Treasurer.

Appearing on Sydney radio this morning, Mr Morrison said the media needed to "shake it off".

The sprawling "Shirtfronted" feature from Fairfax Media's Peter Hartcher suggest Mr Morrison was in February offered the position of Treasurer -- a significant step up from Social Services Minister -- if Mr Turnbull was to overthrow the deeply unpopular Mr Abbott.

The phone call took place ahead of the February spill, in which Mr Abbott almost lost his leadership despite noone contesting the leadership, according to Fairfax.

Mr Turnbull was considering a tilt at leadership but backed off because he was not guaranteed success.

Mr Morrison described it as a "tin foil hat conspiracy" that months after this conversation occurred, it played out exactly as strategised.

"What happened in February and what happened later in the year were completely different issues and you should shake it off."

The pun on Taylor Swift's now iconic lyrics comes as the songstress played a massive Sydney crowd on the weekend.

Mr Morrison did not deny the telephone meeting took place, but that "nothing came of it, there was no deal, no offers".


How Malcolm Turnbull plotted for months to take out Abbott

SEVEN months before Tony Abbott was removed as Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull offered Scott Morrison the job of treasurer, according to a report from Fairfax Media.

According to the report, the day before the first spill motion against Mr Abbott, which was not successful, a call was made in which deputy leader Julie Bishop was also a 'silent participant'.

Fairfax's report is based on 'multiple informed sources' and is the first part of "Shirtfronted", a five-part series on the Abbott government.

Mr Morrison was open to the idea, yet non-committal, wanting to keep his options open. But neither did he reject the proposition, the report says.

From the conversation, it was clear that Mr Turnbull wanted her to be his deputy. "We basically agreed - Turnbull as leader, Bishop as deputy and Morrison as treasurer," is how one participant summarised the conversation to a colleague.

Mr Morrison was the social services minister at the time with Joe Hockey the treasurer.

According to the report, Ms Bishop did not make any commitment to the deal, wanting to keep the option open of running for the leadership position herself.

"Shirtfronted" also discloses that Barnaby Joyce has blamed the relationship between Mr Abbott and his then chief of staff, Peta Credlin, for giving Ms Credlin too much power.

The series also reports that Mr Abbott's most loyal supporters, including his numbers man Eric Abetz, explicitly told him after the February spill that he needed to dump Ms Credlin and his treasurer, Joe Hockey, if he hoped to keep the prime ministership.

Mr Abbott  refused to take the advice.​

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