Cormann says he explained coup reasons


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Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says he did not engineer the coup that brought down Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, but has been transparent about his co...

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says he did not engineer the coup that brought down Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, but has been transparent about his contribution to it.

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His comment comes after Mr Turnbull named the senator, along with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, Health Minister Greg Hunt, and former prime minister Tony Abbott as the leaders of the "insurgency" that toppled him.

Defence Minister Chrisopher Pyne has since said those colleagues must be "responsible for their actions" during the August coup.

"They made a decision about not supporting Malcolm and they have to be responsible for that," Mr Pyne told the Nine Network on Friday.

Senator Cormann says he was accountable as he was clear about why he shifted support away from Mr Turnbull at the time that he did.

That step came after a first leadership ballot showed Mr Turnbull's leadership was "irretrievable", he said.

"It was in the interest of the country, the government and the Liberal Party for the issue of the leadership of the Liberal Party to be resolved with more certainty before we left that week," the senator told Sky News on Friday.

"I certainly believe that I was publicly accountable for my actions in what was a very difficult week."

Asked whether others should have offered more of an explanation for that week's events, the senator said he would let them speak for themselves.

Mr Turnbull has also said those who helped roll him might have been worried he would win the next federal election, with the overthrow coming despite internal polling showing the government leading in marginal seats.

"We were doing the best we had done since the 2016 election, as it happened," he told ABC's Q&A program on Thursday.

"Maybe they were worried we'd win the election. Maybe they were not worried we'd lose it - maybe they were worried we'd win it."

But Mr Turnbull believes Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he says he wasn't involved in the coup.

Despite saying he didn't watch Mr Turnbull's appearance on television, Mr Pyne said he had done a "great job" and that he spoke to him afterwards.

"He's a friend of mine, so I asked him how it went. We texted each other and he's entitled to have his views about things," he said.

But he said both Mr Turnbull and his party have moved on.

"We're getting on with it and he's getting on with it."

Australian Associated Press

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