It Took Three Anti-Abortion Liberal MPs 12 Hours To Totally Mess Up A Leadership Spill
Angered by her support of an abortion bill, three "rogue" MPs aggressively and loudly shot themselves in the foot.
Political spills are pretty easy to handle. You cause a little stink in the media, you count your supporters, and then you launch a motion against the leader of your party. But try telling that to three NSW Liberal MPs, who somehow managed to totally cock up their movement against Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
The whole sad, sloppy saga started over a recent abortion bill. First introduced to parliament by independent MP Alex Greenwich, the bill would see abortion decriminalised in NSW, overturning legislation that’s been upheld since 1900. For the record, in 1900, most cities around Australia were still dumping sewage straight into waterways without treating it, literally poisoning themselves with poo. So it’s safe to say that lawmakers of that age shouldn’t exactly be treated with esteem.
But try telling that to the Liberal Party. Ever since the bill was first introduced, the government has been tearing itself to shreds, with its increasingly vocal right-wing putting pressure on the rest of the party to kill the thing in its tracks.
Abortion should not be a crime in NSW, it should be treated as a health care issue and regulated with clarity and appropriate protections and safe guards. I’n grateful that a clear majority of government, cross-bench, and opposition MPs support this and our co-sponsored bill.
— Alex Greenwich MP (@AlexGreenwich) September 16, 2019
That internal rift put pressure on Berejiklian, who is being unusually forward-thinking on this matter (if literally no other). She has thrown her support behind the bill, placing her directly in the cross-hairs of her more regressive peers.
Ultimately, that tension spilled over into the announcement of a spill late last night. Led by three “rogue” MPs, Tanya Davies, Matthew Mason-Cox and Lou Amato, the planned spill was an attempt to usurp Berejiklian over her so-called “shameful” handling of the bill. If successful, the three “rogues” would have not only killed the bill but launched a parliamentary inquiry into abortion practices across NSW.
Only, they were extremely unsuccessful. Not only did the trio of MPs fail to alert their colleagues ahead of time to their plans, irritating the party room in the process, they didn’t even put anyone forward as Berejiklian’s replacement. As a result, even Liberals who presumably hold regressive views on abortion themselves were put off-side, with some telling The Sydney Morning Herald that they refused to “negotiate with terrorists.”
This is ridiculous. Our coalition agreement is with Gladys and any move would be a dumb move. https://t.co/KOB02BhRTg
— John Barilaro MP (@JohnBarilaroMP) September 16, 2019
Suitably shamed, the three MPs have released a press release announcing their plans to call off the spill, a little over 12 hours from the time it was first announced.
Not that it’s necessarily time to get comfortable. In their statement calling the spill off, the three announced they had “received confirmation that further concessions will be forthcoming in relation to amendments to the abortion bill.”
Sounds like this shitstorm is far from over.