Former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews
Former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews

Conservative 'leader' Kevin Andrews would take on Turnbull

A FORMER minister under Tony Abbott has vowed to fight Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership if he attempts to steer the party towards supporting an Emissions Trading Scheme.

Conservative MP Kevin Andrews challenged Mr Turnbull for party leadership in 2009 when the party supported an ETS while in Opposition.

Mr Andrews said if that happened again, he would again be prepared to fight.

He also fought Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for the deputy leader role at the time of Mr Turnbull's ascension, saying there needed to be a contest.

"It has never been my burning ambition to be the leader of the party, but if circumstances arose which they did in both of those instances where I thought there should be a change or a contest, I am prepared to do it," he said.

Mr Andrews told his local paper - the Manningham Leader - he considered himself a "leader" of the Australian conservative movement.

He also promised to vote against same-sex marriage, regardless of how Australians voted in a $500 million ballot scheduled for later this year.

"In the end, a plebiscite is an indication of what people think, but for me this would be one of those matters of conscience," he said.

Mr Andrews was banished to the backbench after a brief stint as Defence Minister after Mr Turnbull successfully challenged Mr Abbott to lead the Coalition.

Conservative MPs including Mr Andrews were last year questioned about leading a "resistance" against the Prime Minister.