Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been accused of moonlighting for Galaxy Research, one of Australia’s biggest polling companies, according to unnamed Federal MPs.
The MPs claimed that Mr Turnbull has been asking respondents who their preferred leader of the Liberal Party would be, for a News Limited Poll expected to be published in the next couple of days. The action has started speculation that Mr Turnbull might be considering challenging Prime Minister Tony Abbott for leadership.
“It’s hard to say, Malcolm is so unreadable, but I think he’s gathering data to determine if he will make a challenge” a minister who wished to remain anonymous told The (un)Australian.
The member for Wentworth was apparently caught when several of the respondents called happened to be members of the House of Representatives.
“The caller stated that he was conducting a poll for Galaxy Research and asked me who my preferred leader for the Liberal Party was” Dr Dennis Jensen informed The (un)Australian, insisting that everything he told the paper be kept off the record.
“He sounded oddly familiar. My suspicions were further stoked when I told him I supported Julie Bishop for leader and the pollster let out an audible ‘fuck’.
“Finally, I knew something was fishy when I looked at the caller ID and it read ‘The Turnbullet’, which is my nick name for Malcolm.”
Mr Turnbull has so far refused to publicly rule out a challenge to the Prime Minister’s leadership, but has also been sidestepping questions asking if he’s trying to canvass support among ministers and backbenchers.
A spokeswoman for the Communications Minister insisted that “[Turnbull] was not trying to secure numbers for if there was a spill.”
“The position of Communications Minister involves many tasks including responsibility for overseeing the National Broadband Network roll-out, making phone calls on behalf of polling organisation, and determining the budget for the ABC.
“If reporters are going to assume that the Minister is canvassing support every time he attends a meeting about the NBN or calls people to collect data on who their preferred party leader is on behalf of Galaxy Research, then these journalists need to familiarise with what the role of Communications Minister exactly entails.”
According to a spokesperson for Galaxy Research “Mr Turnbull has not and does not work for the company.”
Matthew Farthing is the Political Editor for the (un)Australian. His brother is Michael Baird who has the most to gain from this rampant speculation.