Then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) offered the deputy Liberal leadership to his challenger Peter Dutton (right).
Then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) offered the deputy Liberal leadership to his challenger Peter Dutton (right).

Turnbull’s last-ditch offer to Dutton

A DESPERATE Malcolm Turnbull privately offered his challenger Peter Dutton the position of deputy Liberal leader in a last-ditch effort to stop a bloody political coup.

Revelations of the attempted peace deal tabled by the former prime minister come as Mr Turnbull's loyal supporters say he went out of his way to reach out to "rogue" conservatives.

It is understood Mr Dutton turned down the unity ticket pitch made during tense and hostile negotiations because he believed he had the support needed to topple Mr Turnbull, and it would have been viewed cynically by the party room.

The revelations raise fresh questions about what Mr Turnbull planned to tell his then deputy Julie Bishop, who is understood to have been further distanced in recent months from the former leader.

There is a growing belief a burned Ms Bishop will not contest the next election.

Mr Dutton refused to comment yesterday as new Prime Minister Scott Morrison was forced to play down another embarrassing leak about a solution to the Catholic school funding impasse.

Suggestions $4.4 billion over a decade would be poured into Catholic and independent schools under a Turnbull government plan were dismissed yesterday as being "at least $1 billion too much" by those who had day-to-day dealings.

The latest revelations of a pitch to Peter Dutton (rear) raise further questions of Malcolm Turnbull’s (front) relationship with former deputy Julie Bishop.
The latest revelations of a pitch to Peter Dutton (rear) raise further questions of Malcolm Turnbull’s (front) relationship with former deputy Julie Bishop.

Sources said the final figure had not been determined because work was still being done.

They also revealed it did not go to Expenditure Review Committee or Cabinet.

A relaxed Mr Morrison flew to Brisbane last night after impressing colleagues in north Queensland.

Having banned Huawei from Australia's 5G network on the grounds of national security risk, Mr Morrison yesterday announced $10 million for a new university centre partnered by the Chinese global tech giant.

He also hit FM radio stations, when he was asked where was the weirdest place he'd ever peed and which leader he would save out of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Kim Jong-un. He said he had "quite conventional habits" and would save the "Trumpster".

However he is planning to tell his party room next Tuesday that the Coalition has to treat its colleagues with respect, as he moves to heal wounds and address claims from some female Coalition MPs and senators that they felt bullied and intimidated.