Dutton: I won’t bag the PM in public
CONSERVATIVE cabinet minister Peter Dutton has offered a lukewarm assessment of his government's energy policy but refused to publicly criticise the Prime Minister.
It comes as dissenter Barnaby Joyce said he was aware frontbencher Keith Pitt, who was understood to be considering crossing the floor over the NEG, had "very strong views" on the issues.
But the former deputy prime minister said he would "never push him to resign" his frontbench position which would be required if Mr Pitt voted against government policy.
In an interview on 2GB Mr Dutton was pushed to distance himself from the NEG.
Asked whether the NEG was "suboptimal" - a term used by Liberal colleague Jim Molan in a separate interview - Mr Dutton was not overly enthusiastic. "Well, it's a policy that the government's got," he said.
"The prime minister, like all of us, wants to see power prices reduced for businesses, for households, for pensioners, and the government's come up with a policy. We believe that's the best policy available to us."
"I give frank advice, I promise you that, to the prime minister and other colleagues if I don't agree with what we're doing or with a policy.
"I'm not going to be a part of the cabinet and then bag the prime minister out."
Mr Dutton said if he had something to say to his ministerial colleagues, he would raise it with them in private.
"If my position changes - that is, it gets to a point where I can't accept what the government is proposing or I don't agree - then the Westminster system is very clear, you resign your commission, you don't serve in that cabinet," he said.