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Abbott dismisses reshuffle reports

Tony Abbott has hosed down reports he is planning a reshuffle of his ministry.

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“They’re wrong,” the prime minister told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Reports of end-of-year reshuffles were “a dime a dozen”.

“This is a government which is totally focused on jobs, economic growth and community safety, not Canberra insider gossip,” Mr Abbott said.

“It’s speculation, it’s speculation,” Social Services Minister Scott Morrison told Sky News on Friday.

Mr Morrison, mentioned amongst Liberal MPs as a possible successor to the prime minister, was responding to a Daily Telegraph report that pressure is mounting on the prime minister to make swift and significant cabinet changes.

Those in the firing line include Defence Minister Kevin Andrews, government Senate leader and Employment Minister Eric Abetz, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, Trade Minister Andrew Robb and junior infrastructure minister Jamie Briggs.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, under fire from coalition MPs disgruntled with his performance, is not amongst the ministers under threat.

“I’m sure his job is absolutely secure,” cabinet colleague Christopher Pyne told the Nine Network.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese says some ministers should be “very nervous”.

“These stories don’t come and go when they are in the Daily Telegraph,” he said, describing the newspaper as an annexe of the prime minister’s media office.

Mr Albanese said any clear-out would be a response to Mr Abbott being “stalked” by Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Mr Morrison.

“All they are trying to sort out is who the challenger will be,” he said.

Mr Pyne dismissed this as rubbish, counterclaiming Mr Albanese was stalking Labor leader Bill Shorten.

“Absolutely not,” Mr Albanese replied.

A spokesman for Mr Andrews said he was getting on with the job of being defence minister.

“The first priority of this government is the safety and security of its citizens and this is a responsibility we take very seriously,” he told AAP.

Mr Robb’s office declined to comment.

Earlier this week Mr Robb dismissed talk he had been approached to replace Kim Beazley as ambassador to the United States.

Other ministers mentioned in the report have been contacted for comment.

Mr Hockey told Radio 2GB the only jobs he was concerned about were those of other Australians.

“We can speculate every day,” he said when asked to respond to the report.

He suggested cutting the budgets of some of his ministerial colleagues might have something to do with talk about his performance.

“Some of them aren’t very happy,” he said.

The treasurer denied suggestions his relationship with Ms Bishop was not what it should be because of cuts to her foreign aid budget.

“We get on well.”

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