Finance Minister Mathias Cormann says Prime Minster Tony Abbott has learnt his lesson after his controversial decision to grant Prince Philip an Australian knighthood.
‘He (Tony Abbott) has taken responsibility for this decision that he has made, he’s learnt his lesson given the reaction across the community in response to his decision,’ Senator Cormann told ABC Radio.
‘He will make some changes … he will consult more widely and I think that’s a good thing.’
The prime minister has been ridiculed by his own coalition party colleagues, the media and the public for his decision to give a knighthood to the Duke of Edinburgh as part of the Australia Day awards.
Mr Abbott has given an assurance there will be more consultation around the awards in future in the wake of the furore.
Senator Cormann said he disagreed with media baron Rupert Murdoch’s view that Mr Abbott’s chief of staff, Peta Credlin, should step down.
The News Corp chairman used social media on Wednesday to urge Ms Credlin to “do her patriotic duty and resign” or be sacked.
‘Rupert Murdoch is obviously a very eminent Australian who has been very successful internationally, but in relation to this matter I disagree with him,’ Senator Cormann said.
He said Ms Credlin did “not at all” block his access to the prime minister.
‘Not in any way, shape or form,’ he said. ’I’ve got every access I need to discuss the important matters … with the Prime Minister, with the Prime Minister’s office and with colleagues right across parliament.’
Mr Cormann said the prime minister had his “strong and unequivocal support”.
‘He is the best person to lead the Liberal Party, to lead our country, he’s a very strong leader,’ he said.
‘He has indicated that he has learnt his lesson and he will consult more widely in relation to these sort of appointments in the future.
‘It’s now time to move on and focus on the important issues for Australia, in particular how we can put Australia on a stronger foundation for the future.’
The comments come as a new ReachTel Poll, commissioned for Network Seven, shows just 11.8 per cent of respondents think Mr Abbott is doing a good job as prime minister, while 40.5 per cent rate it as very poor.
The survey polled 3690 residents across the country on January 27.
Mr Abbott is also losing the faith of long-time backers, with conservative columnist Andrew Bolt describing the Prince Philip knighthood as “pathetically stupid”.
‘This is just such a very, very, very stupid decision, so damaging that it could be fatal,’ he told Macquarie Radio.
‘I thought it was verging on fatal already but this is too much.’