Turnbull responds to ‘Vote Tony Out’ follow
Malcolm Turnbull has broken his silence after copping criticism for following an Instagram page dedicated to voting Tony Abbott out of office, including a push to expel him from the Liberal Party.
The former Prime Minister took to Twitter this morning to address the backlash - which included potential Liberal candidate Warren Mundine calling him "Malcolm Termite" - after he followed the Vote Tony Out Instagram page.
"It's pretty obvious really but following someone on Instagram or Twitter does not imply support approval or endorsement - simply that you are for whatever reason currently interested in seeing the followed person's posts in your feed," Mr Turnbull wrote.
"And another equally obvious point. The more you try to bully people into NOT reading something the more they will do so. Freedom matters."
He did not comment on the push from the Roseville branch of the Liberal Party to have him expelled from the Liberal Party, which passed 16 votes to two on Tuesday night after it emerged he had followed the Instagram page.
Sources from the branch told The Australian members were angry that Mr Turnbull failed to support the Liberal Party in the Wentworth by-election.
They also cited Mr Turnbull ousting Tony Abbott, former Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson and former Wentworth MP Peter King during his political career as a reason to boot the former prime minister from the party.
Mr Mundine, a Roseville resident who is considering running for the Liberal Party in the marginal seat of Gilmore at the next election, welcomed the motion yesterday, saying: "I wish Malcolm Termite would crawl back into his little hole he come from."
"He lost the Republican Constitutional amendment, he backstabbed King, Nelson & Abbott, gave the government a by-election it didn't need [and is] now out to force the coalition to lose the next election."
The motion to expel Mr Turnbull is expected to be shot down when it goes before the party's Federal Electorate Conference, which includes all branches within the seat of Bradfield.
The Roseville branch of the Liberal Party raised eyebrows when it invited Liberal defector Cory Bernardi to speak at an event after he split from the party in 2017.
It has also previously hosted other conservative MPs for speaking functions, including Mr Abbott, Jim Molan and Andrew Hastie. In October, it hosted an event titled 'Is the Federal Coalition Government Worth Saving?'.
Jonathan O'Dea, the state MP for Davidson where Roseville is located, told News Corp that he didn't support the push to oust Mr Turnbull.
"I don't support that action - for expelling (Mr Turnbull) or for suggesting that either former leader should be treated in such a disrespectful way," he said.