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'Peak Crazy': Peter Dutton at centre of bombshell text message claim

As parliament returns, the political turmoil inside the government continues to take centre stage just months out from a federal election.

Another former NSW premier is at the centre of the latest blow-up, with Bob Carr, who held the top job in the state from 1995 to 2005, making a sensational claim in a late night tweet.

The former Labor premier claimed the anonymous Liberal minister who leaked damning texts between them and Gladys Berejiklian was defence minister Peter Dutton.

"The minister who shared the text with (Network Ten's Peter) van Onselen and gave permission to use it was Peter Dutton," the 74-year-old posted on Twitter on Sunday night.

"If PM Morrison has one more week in free fall the prospect of a leadership change pre-election is real. Party rules don't count if most MPs think you will lead them to defeat."

Defence minister Peter Dutton has previously sought the top job but lost out to Scott Morrison in a party-room vote. Source: Getty
Defence minister Peter Dutton has previously sought the top job but lost out to Scott Morrison in a party-room vote. Source: Getty

In the alleged text message exchange, publicly revealed at the National Press Club on Tuesday, a Liberal minister called Mr Morrison "a complete psycho" and a "fraud".

While he provided no evidence to support the claim that it was Mr Dutton who was behind the messages, Mr Carr reportedly said it was based on good sources.

Since the explosive leak was revealed following the prime minister's press club speech, separate text messages written by the now deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce were leaked over the weekend, outing him as the latest colleague to privately lament Mr Morrison's dishonesty.

"He is a hypocrite and a liar from my observations and that is over a long time. I have never trusted him and I dislike how he earnestly rearranges the truth to a lie," he wrote.

The message was intended for former Liberal staffer Brittney Higgins who provided them to the media after Mr Joyce demanded that the minister at the centre of the initial text messages come forward.

Mr Morrison has blamed his deputy prime minister's damning character assessment of him on 'human frailty'. Source: Getty
Mr Morrison has blamed his deputy prime minister's damning character assessment of him on 'human frailty'. Source: Getty

'Peak Crazy': Peter Dutton rejects claim he was behind leaked texts

Mr Dutton responded soon after Mr Carr's claim with his own tweet to strongly reject the assertion.

"Bob Carr's tweet is baseless, untrue and should be deleted," he said.

Other senior government figures have also dismissed the claim during media rounds on Monday morning.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was scathing in his criticism of the former NSW premier and former federal foreign affairs minister, calling him a "waste of space".

"Bob Carr when he was foreign minister was a waste of space. He now suffers from a bad bout of relevance deprivation syndrome," he told ABC radio.

"I think this is poor form from a guy who probably knows no better."

Veteran political journalist Laura Jayes summed up much of the reaction, labelling the latest twist in the saga as "peak crazy".

"A former NSW Labor Premier sends a late night errant tweet stirring the pot on his political opponents… and it’s being taken seriously," she tweeted.

Regardless of the veracity of Mr Carr's claims – which remain online – it continues to keep the spotlight on instability within the federal government as Mr Morrison faces growing questions about his character.

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