Peter Dutton, 51, lashed out against Bob Carr, 74, after the Liberal Defence Minister was accused of playing a pivotal role in a text scandal which has hit Australian politics. Mr Dutton had been tipped as a potential candidate to replace Malcolm Turnbull, 67, in 2018.
However, Scott Morrison, 53, got the top job after what had been a turbulent few years for the Liberal Party leadership.
Mr Morrison now finds himself in a precarious position with one recent opinion poll suggesting Labor had opened up a double-digit lead against the Liberal-National coalition.
In a further blow to the Australian Prime Minister, text messages from an unnamed Cabinet Minister and Gladys Berejiklian, 51, who resigned as New South Wales premier after alleged corruption in October.
The messages called Mr Morrison a “fraud” and even a “complete psycho”.
Mr Carr, who served as Labor’s Foreign Minister from 2012 to 2013, accused Mr Dutton of leaking the messages.
Mr Dutton responded to the ex-politician in an interview with Karl Stefanovic, 47, on the Today show.
He said: “It was not me.
“Every family’s got this crazy uncle that wakes up from the rocking chair and in a startled way shouts out something and I just don’t know what is going on with Bob Carr.
“I mean, is he the full quid or not? He’s a bizarre guy.
“He hasn’t provided any evidence… I just find it bizarre.
“I think he has discredited himself – you can’t just make a claim and then back away from it.
“I think it’s embarrassing for him.”
However, on February 6, Mr Carr doubled down on his claims on social media.
He wrote on Twitter: “The minister who shared the text with van Onselen and gave permission to use it was Peter Dutton.
“He’s made a claim which is clearly defamatory and he now needs to produce the evidence, which he can’t of course because I never sent that text and it’s a farce.”
But the ex-New South Wales Senator responded with another tweet.
He said: “Only one way Peter Dutton can win his case: get another colleague to admit that they were the source for comments about the Prime Minister.
“If not you, Mr Dutton, which of your colleagues?
“Until then who has most to gain from undermining further a flailing PM?”
Mr Dutton has also stressed he is “100 percent” behind Mr Morrison.
He told Seven’s Sunrise: “I have been loyal to Scott Morrison from day one and I continue to be so because I have seen what he has done in taking us through what has been a difficult situation.”