A right wing group has admitted to deluging Liberal party MPs with tens of thousands of emails in a sustained effort to show prime minister Tony Abbott has support among the party's traditional, conservative "base".
The emails were sent through an easy-to-use tool on the website of the pro-Christian, anti-gay marriage pressure group, Australian Family Association. It is available to anyone and lets people send identical messages to dozens of Liberal politicians at once.
Last night's ABC Four Corners revealed an email campaign was launched last month by the AFA in a desperate effort to convince wavering Liberal MPs that the base was behind Tony Abbott.
BuzzFeed News has obtained an email as part of the campaign sent on February 4, which called for members to urgently email Liberal MPs showing support for Mr Abbott by using the handy group's email blaster.
It wanted people to remind MPs that Malcolm Turnbull "failed as leader" and Julie Bishop "was forced to resign as shadow treasurer" while Mr Abbott "held the line on marriage".
Another campaign called "standwiththepm.com" also claimed as many as 60,000 emails were sent to Liberal MPs in the days leading up to the failed leadership in early February.
Patrick Byrne, the head of the conservative National Civic Council and the author of the email call-out, denied the group worked with Mr Andrews or Mr Abetz in co-ordinating the email campaign.
He did freely admit right-wing pressure groups were trying to convince Liberal MPs that the "base" was behind Mr Abbott.
"That was our strategy, whether it has worked or not… I don't know," Mr Byrne said to BuzzFeed News.
He said the Australian Family Association and the National Civic Council work in tandem, like "sister organisations" with the AFA focusing on social issues like anti-gay marriage campaigns and the NCC on economic issues. The AFA's most recent cause is campaigning against the film Fifty Shades of Grey.
"We're like sister organisations, there's overlap... we probably have around 10,000 supporters."