Channel Ten commentator Peter van Onselen has warned he will reveal a third government leak tonight.
Van Onselen has recently exposed two government leaks including a cabinet argument and texts in which Gladys Berejiklian allegedly called the PM a ‘horrible, horrible person’.
Urging Australians to tune in to his latest expose, the Network 10 reporter wrote: ‘Another government leak tonight on @10NewsFirst tune in for the details.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday
Journalist Peter van Onselen has warned he will break a third government leak tonight
Last week Van Onselen reported that Mr Morrison was ‘rolled’ in a cabinet meeting where he proposed a controversial strategy to get enough support for his religious discrimination laws which were debated this week and held up in the senate.
Mr Morrison allegedly proposed allowing Parliament to debate a revamped national corruption watchdog proposal in exchange for support for his religion bill from moderate Liberals and independents.
There was apparently a heated debate in which several ministers including Communications Minister Paul Fletcher passionately spoke out against the plan.
Mr Morrison’s friend Stuart Robert and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham were in favour but it was ultimately deemed too risky and scrapped in an embarrassing defeat for the PM.
Cabinet meetings are secretive and leaks are rare.
Van Onselen (left) quizzed minister Stuart Robert (right) about the cabinet meeting but he replied: ‘I do not discuss matters of cabinet confidentiality’
Van Onselen does not reveal his source for the story, first published in The Australian, instead only quoting a mystery Liberal who said the PM’s plan was ‘too tricky by half’ and a mystery minister who said the PM looked ‘rattled’.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said his office does not comment on cabinet meetings.
Van Onselen – who contributes to The Australian and 10 News – quizzed Mr Robert about the cabinet meeting but the minister replied: ‘I do not discuss matters of Cabinet confidentiality’.
Two weeks ago Mr Morrison said he is confident that no Cabinet minister tried to undermine him by leaking the Gladys texts.
Marise Payne, Greg Hunt, Karen Andrews, Paul Fletcher, Peter Dutton and Angus Taylor have publicly denied being the leaker.
The second leak came after a turbulent week in Parliament which saw Mr Morrison’s Religious Discrimination Bill – designed to end discrimination on the basis of religion – pass the lower house with support from Labor but get delayed in the senate until March 29.
Last Wednesday Australian of the Year Grace Tame and former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins blasted the PM for a lack of action on women’s safety.
The week before he failed to say the price of bread, was told about texts from Gladys Berejiklian which called him a ‘horrible, horrible person’ and was blasted for backing Mark McGowan’s hard border in WA.
Three conservative commentators tore into Mr Morrison, with Andrew Bolt branding him ‘finished’ after his ‘sad stunt’ washing an apprentice’s hair in a salon on February 4.
Bolt urged conservative favourite Peter Dutton to ‘prepare to lead’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian take a selfie after making an address to thousands of high school students in Sydney in 2019
When Van Onselen presented the texts between the former NSW Premier and a mystery Liberal cabinet minister at the National Press Club, he told the PM: ‘I’ve got them right here.’
‘In one, she (Gladys Berejiklian) described you as, quote, ”a horrible, horrible person”, going on to say she did not trust you, and you’re more concerned with politics than people.
‘The minister is even more scathing, describing you as a fraud and, quote, ”a complete psycho”.
In a statement released hours later, Ms Berejiklian said she had ‘no recollection’ of the remarks, but didn’t deny they were said.
Van Onselen refusal to name his source sparked a witch hunt, with various ministers blamed on social media.
The journalist later addressed criticism that he deliberately picked his moment to ambush the PM with the messages to inflict maximum political damage just months before an election.
‘I was only authorised to use them recently, but I was made aware of them a while ago,’ he wrote on Twitter.
In the text exchange Gladys Berejiklian allegedly called Mr Morrison a ‘horrible, horrible person’