Nutt resignation triggers Liberal rethink

Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer
Nutt resigns as federal Liberal director

The federal Liberal machine is set for an overhaul after veteran director Tony Nutt quit just days ahead of a report into the party's 2016 election campaign.

Mr Nutt issued a statement on Wednesday night saying "it is time" for him to move on after serving the party for more than 35 years in various roles.

"Earlier today I indicated to the federal president, Richard Alston ... the federal executive should appoint a new director to take the party forward," he said.

"A change now will give the federal executive time to select a new director who can work with the prime minister, parliamentary party and the organisation to prepare for the next election."

Mr Turnbull described 59-year-old Mr Nutt as the "consummate political professional".

"The Liberal party has no more loyal or dedicated servant," Mr Turnbull said.

Mr Nutt, a former chief of staff to John Howard, took over the directorship of the party in late 2015 after Mr Turnbull seized the leadership from Tony Abbott and then director and Abbott confidant Brian Loughnane stood down.

Mr Nutt noted the close result in last year's election had been "the subject of criticism" and he was sure the review report by former minister Andrew Robb would have "a number of important recommendations".

Party pollster Mark Textor, who has also copped his share of blame for the campaign, praised Mr Nutt on Twitter.

"(He) won his last three campaigns - three out of three (Victoria 2010, NSW 2015 and federal 2016). They are the irrefutable, hard numbers. A loss to the profession. Importantly, a good bloke."

It is understood Mr Nutt was not pressured to go and the Liberal party does not have an immediate replacement in mind.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Nutt had taken over the directorship of the party in "very difficult circumstances".

"He then proceeded to direct the campaign which saw the government returned in the face of a ferocious fear campaign," Mr Turnbull said.

The prime minister and Mr Nutt have blamed Labor's so-called Mediscare campaign for the eclection's tight finish, and have since sought to put in place new rules to ban the impersonation of government entities such as Medicare and ensure all communications including text messages are authorised.

The next federal election could be held as early as August next year.

Mr Nutt said in his election post-mortem speech to the National Press Club last year he took ultimate responsibility for the campaign, which left the government with a one-seat majority and delivered a bigger and less workable Senate cross bench.

While Mr Turnbull's elevation to the leadership temporarily lifted the Liberals' stocks, he said "community expectations of quick solutions to difficult issues reached unrealistic levels".

Some Liberals were critical of Mr Nutt's campaign style as it did not allow for a tougher attack on Labor and Bill Shorten's credibility.