Pasin supports new Liberal leadership bid

FEDERAL MP Tony Pasin will back former home affairs minister Peter Dutton in a three-way Liberal leadership contest between Treasurer Scott Morrison and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop at today’s likely party room meeting.

In a statement, the member for Barker said he believed Mr Dutton was the individual “best placed to work within the interests of the people of Barker” following a second bid to challenge the leadership of the Coalition.

Mr Pasin, who was one of 35 MPs who backed the conservative MP in Tuesday’s snap leadership ballot against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said his decision was based with his constituents’ “front of mind”.

“I have always endeavoured to work hard and represent the people of Barker to the very best of my ability,” Mr Pasin said.

“At this point my main concern is the party room needs to meet and resolve this issue as soon as possible.

“I want to remind the people of Barker no matter who the leader of the Liberal Party is, I will always fight for what matters to my constituents, as I have done constantly – lower electricity prices, more jobs, improved roads and better telecommunications – and always put Barker first.”

At a press conference held yesterday, the embattled prime minister said he would not stand as a candidate in a ballot before blasting a “minority” of Liberals for bullying and intimidation in their attempt to oust him as leader.

Before convening a party room meeting, Mr Turnbull has demanded to see a petition signed by a majority of MPs and highlighted Mr Dutton’s eligibility to sit in parliament as “very significant”.

Mr Dutton, whose family’s childcare businesses have received Federal Government rebates and benefits, will learn this morning whether the Solicitor-General agrees with the legal argument the money flows to parents rather than the centres.

A number of cabinet ministers, including senators Mathias Cormann, Mitch Fifield and Michaelia Cash, resigned from Turnbull’s ministry in the wake of the leadership crisis, with the trio swinging their support behind Mr Dutton.

Yesterday was the last day of parliament until September 10, with the Liberals’ next party room meeting scheduled for September 11.