Let’s Catch Up With #LibSpill, Shall We?
"Doing an Abbott" is your new favourite phrase.
First, some quick background.
Last night, after weeks of speculation over whether or not the Liberal Party would boot their leader — a day after the PM crashed and burned through his National Press Club address, two days after the disastrous result for the party in the Queensland election, and a week after Abbott’s universally deplored decision to bestow a meaningless title on a Prince — WA Liberal MP Dennis Jensen became the first to publicly call Tony Abbott to step aside.
“On 23 January I texted him and said he no longer has my support, three days before Prince Philip,” Dr Jensen told Fairfax, proving that the SMS-centric world of House of Cards wasn’t as far off the mark as everyone expected. “I believe in being up front and honest about it … I know a number [of other MPs] feel similarly.”
Queensland MP Warren Entsch was the next to rear his head, telling Fairfax he also believed “it needs to be resolved”, and declaring he’d support a party room ballot at the first parliament sitting of the year, which is scheduled for Tuesday. Queensland MP Mal Brough, who has denied rumours he would be challenging the PM, refused to give him “unequivocal support” — and while there is no way in hell he would be successful if he did challenge, it would pave the way for other, less terrible [but still kind of terrible] options.
Like, for instance, “somebody else”, who according to the Herald Sun is now polling at over 11%.
Julie Bishop has assured the PM she has no intention to challenge him — but was not at all happy about being asked to prove her loyalty, and reserved the right to contest the leadership if a ballot is declared. Which it looks like it will be; according to some estimates, as many as 30 backbenchers are pushing for a change, as Liberal MPs Christopher Pyne, Joe Hockey, Craig Kelly and Mathias Cormann rally in the Prime Minister’s defense.
Also, this just happened.
BREAKING: Two federal Liberal MPs have just confirmed to me that Malcolm Turnbull has called to ask if they will vote for him as leader.
— Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) February 4, 2015
This morning, Tony Abbott gave an extended interview to 2GB’s Ray Hadley (above), in which he said he was “getting on with Government”. When asked about the party’s dissatisfaction, the PM seemed to offer a warning more than an answer: “What I think everyone in the party room understands is that the last thing we should do is go anywhere near reproducing the rabble of the Labor years,” he said. And then, with apparently no irony at all, “I think there is a determination by our party room to knuckle down to good government.”
“One of the things I’ve noticed among my mates when the boss makes a blue,” Hadley offered, “is they shake their heads and say –”
“He’s doing an Abbott!”, the Prime Minister interjected prematurely.
“No, no, not as personal as that,” Hadley laughed. “They say, ‘that’s a Captain’s call’.”
But the damage had been done.
Twitter. I present – Doing an Abbott Wednesday. — Latika Bourke (@latikambourke) February 3, 2015
— Daniel (@DanJW_) February 3, 2015
— The Annoying Peasant (@AussieAce_) February 3, 2015
As #DoingAnAbbott vies with the #LibSpill hashtag on Twitter, it’s important to remember these things tend to get overblown by the media. Fairfax, the Guardian and News Limited are now fairly universal in their condemnation of the Prime Minister, and together have about as much power to trigger a spill as any politician does.
Until we know more, it’s worth referring to that bastion of truth we have all come to know and love: istonyabbottstillpm.com
Feature image by Stefan Postles, for Getty.