Scott Morrison tries to downplay explosive speech by Liberal colleague Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has dismissed out-going Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells' brutal character assessment as the actions of a colleague scorned after she accused him of being a "bully," of having "no moral compass," and being "not fit to be Prime Minister."

The Senator, who was relegated last weekend to the unwinnable third spot on the NSW Senate ticket, used parliamentary privilege on Tuesday's all important budget night to accuse Mr Morrison and his factional ally, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, of "having ruined the Liberal party in NSW by trampling its constitution".

While it is accepted that many politicians often break ranks on departure, the ferocity, timing and serious nature of the NSW senator's claims are particularly remarkable. She also accused the Prime Minister of using his "so-called faith as a marketing advantage." One Nation leader and Senator Pauline Hanson on Wednesday backed the "bully" assessment.

But, Mr Morrison argues a disgruntled Senator Fierravanti-Wells is simply "disappointed" her political career is ending.

"I know Connie is disappointed, having lost the preselection of some 500 members on the weekend," the Prime Minister told the ABC.

"Six years ago, I strongly supported her and ensured that she was able to be re-selected. She was very happy at that time.

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, left, giving her speech on Tuesday night and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Pictures: Screenshot, Elesa Kurtz

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, left, giving her speech on Tuesday night and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Pictures: Screenshot, Elesa Kurtz

"But now, after being unsuccessful on the weekend, I understand that she's disappointed - and I join a long list of those that she's said these things about at times like this."

Mr Morrison points to his predecessors, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull, experiencing "similar commentary" from the long-serving senator and former minister, but the timing and content of her speech was particularly explosive coming on budget night and just days from the expected calling of the election.

The Senator's criticism comes as she lost out in the extraordinarily delayed NSW division preselection battles. The federal executive of the Liberal Party has intervened extremely close to the election to sort out unfilled spots.


Senator Fierravanti-Wells has laid blame squarely at Mr Morrison and Mr Hawke, accusing them of trampling on members rights and installing captain's picks.

"He and his consigliore, Alex Hawke have deliberately contrived a crisis in NSW through a year of delays in not having selections," she told the Senate.

"Hawke, as his representative on state executive for months and months, failed to attend nomination review committee meetings to review candidates, thereby holding up preselections.

"Spurious arguments were mounted to justify the unjustifiable. The constitution was trashed."

"There is a putrid stench of corruption emanating from the New South Wales division of the Liberal Party," she told the Senate.

Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Photo: Adam McLean

Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Photo: Adam McLean

The Senator saved most of her disdain for the Prime Minister, ruing helping him get pre-selected for Cook in 2007, accusing him of using racist language and attacking him for using his "so-called faith as a marketing advantage".

"He is adept at running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds, lacking the moral compass and having no conscience," she said.

"In my public life, I have met ruthless people. Morrison tops the list. Followed closely by Hawke.

"Morrison is not fit to be prime minister. And Hawke certainly is not fit to be a minister."

The Prime Minister has faced numerous interviews while selling the budget on Wednesday and said the Senator could make her complaints directly to the federal president and NSW president of Liberal Party.

Mr Hawke, through his office, has declined to respond to Senator Fierravanti-Wells.

Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes has defended Mr Morrison and said that Senator Fierravanti-Wells would not be making the claims if she had recently won pre-selection, but Senator Hanson has backed the account saying she had seen first hand that Mr Morrison was a "bully".

"This is not a prime minister for the people. He is a bully and I back the senator [Fierravanti-Wells] up completely with that," the One Nation leader told the Senate.

"He is a bully because I have experienced it myself. He's a man where you do it my way or there's no way."

Mr Morrison has been forced to defend himself from a series critical prime ministerial character assessments, including leaked text messages between former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and a unknown cabinet minister, where he was called a "horrible, horrible person" and a "complete psycho".

Senator Fierravanti-Wells expects to give her valedictory speech after the election with her Senate term to end on June 30.

This story PM downplays colleague's explosive 'bully' claims first appeared on The Canberra Times.