Eligibility Questions Cloud Tumultuous Day In Parliament
"He has legal advice but I have not read it," Turnbull said.
Questions surrounding Peter Dutton's eligibility to sit in parliament have come under renewed scrutiny during another chaotic day in the nation's capital, as leadership turmoil continues swirl around Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Turnbull started the day by not accepting the resignations of ministers who voted for Dutton in Tuesday's leadership spill, preferring to try to heal wounds and move on.
Months of poor polling and a dispute over the National Energy Guarantee split the Liberal Party, with Dutton's first attempt at knocking off the PM landing just seven votes short of victory.
But, it could all be for naught, with questions surrounding the former home Affairs Minster's eligibility becoming a Question Time stick for a gleeful Labor opposition to belt the embattled government with.
Ten News revealed earlier this week that Dutton holds interests in childcare centres which now receive direct subsidies from the Commonwealth.
Section 44 of the constitution states someone with “any direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the Public Service of the Commonwealth” is disqualified from Parliament.
Two leading constitutional experts told Ten News on Monday there were questions to answer regarding Dutton's eligibility to sit in parliament.
A third senior legal expert laid out some worst case scenarios for the prime ministerial hopeful if his eligibility were challenged in the high court.
"The worst case scenario is as prime minister he's rendering decision that are completely legally invalid, and nothing does as prime minister will stand under challenge in the high court," said Rosalind Dixon, a Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, told Ten News.
"That would be the worst case scenario for the country, and one would presume for the government and the party."
"The next worst scenario is he's not eligible to be in parliament or (be) a minister and he's there, but he's subject to a challenge and he's removed pretty quickly by effect of a legal decision."
Fairfax reported the two childcare centres had received more than $5.6 million in public funding since 2010.
The case would have to be referred to the High Court for the former Home Affairs Minister to potentially be ruled ineligible.
Dutton claimed legal advice "clearly" showed he had no issues.
On Wednesday afternoon Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he had not seen the advice.
"I have not seen the advice that the member for Dickson, but he has confirmed to me he has legal advice but I have not seen it, I have not been provided with a copy of it," the PM said in response to a question from Labor during question time.
Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon told Sky News parliament should refer Dutton to the High Court.
“It’s a matter for the Parliament and the Parliament will make the reference... I think it should," he said.
Dutton on Wednesday continued his political charm offensive, telling Victorian radio listeners he wanted to scrap the GST from energy bills to reduce costs.
Turnbull, for his part, held a press conference with his money men -- treasurer Scott Morrison and finance minister Mathias Cormann -- to explain the dumping of his company tax legislation after he failed to garner support.
Amid the hurly-burly of the day questions had been raised about where Morrison stood in the leadership conflict.
On Wednesday afternoon he appeared put himself in the Turnbull camp, embracing the PM in a brief hug in front of cameras.