Rebel MPs fall into line behind Abbott after spill defeated
THE backbencher who led the push for a Liberal leadership spill this morning believes Prime Minister Tony Abbott should be given a chance to change.
West Australian MP Luke Simpkins spoke to Sky News after he moved a failed motion for a "spill" of all leadership positions within the party this morning in Canberra.
He said the vote, which saw 39 MPs vote for a spill to ahead defeated by 61 MPs who rejected the prospect, was a "strong showing that we were not happy with the Prime Minister in a number of areas".
But he said Mr Abbott told the party room the government would undertake "greater consultation" with the medical profession over the toxic GP co-payment policy, which remains in limbo as Health Minister Sussan Ley drives the talks with industry.
Mr Simpkins said Mr Abbott had "a long time to be able to make the changes" and he thought changes in his leadership style would take place "very quickly".
"I don't think it's about the polls, it's about the attitude and the approach the Prime Minister has to the backbench," he told Sky News.
But on the GP co-payment policy, MR Simpkins said the policy should be revisited "very carefully, because it doesn't go down well out in the community".
Queensland MP Andrew Laming, who supported the spill motion, said it was a "signal" to the Prime Minister, but the backbench had "heard the signal back" in the party room today.
Mr Laming had also proposed bringing a private members bill against the Prime Minister's knighthood appointments, a bill now understood to be abandoned.
Bill Shorten says Libs in paralysis
"The Liberal Government is in paralysis - and Australian families and the Australian economy are paying the price for its chaos,'' Opposition leader Bill Shorten said in a statement on Monday.
"The Prime Minister and Minsters should be protecting the living standards and jobs of all Australians - but they're only interested in their own jobs.
"The Liberal Government has launched an unprecedented attack on low and middle income Australians through:
- A new GP Tax
- An increased petrol tax
- $100,000 university degrees
- Cuts to pensions and family support
- $80 billion in cuts to schools and hospitals
"Every single member of the Abbott Cabinet voted to support this unfair and destructive Budget. It doesn't matter who leads the Liberals - it's what they stand for that's the problem."
Tony Abbott: Australia deserves to keep me as their PM
AFTER seeing off a motion for a spill of Liberal Party leadership positions, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told voters they "deserve" to keep the Prime Minister "until you have a chance to change your mind".
Mr Abbott gave a short statement to Channel Nine television cameras, but without allowing reporters to be involved, just after the Liberal party met this morning in Canberra.
He said the government wanted to "end the disunity and the uncertainty which destroyed two Labor Governments and give you the good government you deserve".
"We think that when you elect a government, when you elect a Prime Minister, you deserve to keep that Prime Minister until you have a chance to change your mind," he said.
Mr Abbott is also expected to hold a press conference with reporters later today.
The Liberal Party has dealt with the spill motion and now this matter is behind us.
We are absolutely determined to work for you the people who elected us. We want to end the disunity and the uncertainty which destroyed two Labor Governments and give you the good government that you deserve.
We think that when you elect a government, when you elect a Prime Minister, you deserve to keep that government and that Prime Minister until you have a chance to change your mind.
So the focus now is once more on jobs, families, a stronger economy and a secure nation.
We do face many challenges.
At heart, we are a highly successful country, justifiably proud of what we've achieved.
In essence, we are a strong economy with so much creativity and dynamism and the challenge for government is to work with you, not against you. I love this country.
I will do my best to help our country to succeed.
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Tony Abbott remains PM, spill motion defeated 61 - 39
THE federal Liberal Party has rejected a motion to vote on the future of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's political career, but the party remains split on the future.
Chief Government Whip Philip Ruddock told reporters this morning the motion on a potential spill was voted down 61 to 39, with one MP absent and one informal vote.
Mr Ruddock said the vote was conducted "informally", and that the question surrounding Mr Abbott's hold on the party leadership was put to rest.
However, the substantial vote for a spill to be conducted, at almost 40% of the Liberal Party, has effectively put Mr Abbott on notice.
The indecisive vote could serve as encouragement for the dissenters within the federal party, similar to a failed leadership spill on former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, before a later and divisive spill re-installed Kevin Rudd in the Prime Minister's Office in mid-2013.
Mr Ruddock said Mr Abbott was addressing the party room, as he spoke to reporters, but Mr Abbott did not address the party room prior to the vote.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott faces fight of his life, as poll shows popularity slump
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott will face a motion to trigger a Liberal Party vote to remove him, as a poll out this morning shows the Coalition at a record low in voter support.
Mr Abbott on the weekend brought forward a scheduled party room meeting from Tuesday to this morning at 9am, in a bid to "deal with the spill motion as quickly as possible and put it behind us".
The Prime Minister's hold on the party leadership has been under pressure for more than two weeks, with backbench MPs speaking out against him in both public and private.
Mr Abbott's previous attempts to quell the internal dissent, in a National Press Club speech where he dropped his largely un-supported signature paid parental leave policy, and promises to be "more consultative" have fallen on deaf ears within the backbench.
However, Cabinet ministers have consistently supported Mr Abbott in his current role, and it is unclear whether a backbench motion to conduct a "leadership spill", will get enough support to lead to an actual vote in the meeting.
West Australian MP Luke Simpkins last week wrote to Chief Government Whip Philip Ruddock to say he would move the motion for a spill, despite there being no actual candidate to stand against Mr Abbott.
Former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull was the most likely contender, with current deputy leader Julie Bishop expected to stay in her current role, irrespective of any change of leader, but neither has publicly confirmed any intention to stand.
But a Newspoll published late last night in The Australian, has further upped the pressure on Mr Abbott, revealing the Coalition now sits at a record low of 43% on the two-party preferred stakes, against Labor's 57% of support since the September 2013 election.
That poll puts the Coalition's 2PP support levels at 10 points below the 45% levels that helped it win office in 2013.
Some 68% of voters said they were "dissatisfied" with Mr Abbott's performance as Prime Minister, up 10 points on the last poll a fortnight ago, with just 24% "satisfied", down nine points.
Respondents were also asked their thoughts on Mr Turnbull as an alternative leader, with 64% of those polled saying they supported Mr Turnbull, and just 25% of respondents supporting Mr Abbott.
Tony Abbott battles to stay PM as Turnbull threat looms
TODAY is D-Day for Tony Abbott as he faces a secret ballot to determine if he will keep his job.
The Australian Prime Minister called the party room meeting early yesterday, saying he wanted to put "uncertainty" about his future to rest.
The move came as Treasurer Joe Hockey labelled Mr Abbott a "genuinely good human being" who had his full support while former frontbencher Arthur Sinodinos backed the motion to spill the leadership.
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, considered the leading contender for PM, said standing for the job was a" hypothetical question" and the decision to hold the meeting today and not tomorrow as originally planned was a "captain's call".
"The last thing Australia needs right now is instability and uncertainty," Mr Abbott said.
He made the announcement with his deputy, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop, by his side in Townsville.
"On reflection, and after talking to my colleagues, I've decided that the best thing we can do is deal with the spill motion as quickly as possible and put it behind us."
Mr Abbott raised the spectre of the Kevin Rudd-Julia Gillard leadership spill when he made the announcement.
"The only question for our party is do we want to reduce ourselves to the level of the Labor Party in dragging down a first-term prime minister," he said.
"Now, obviously, I've been talking to many colleagues over the last few days and my very strong sense is that we are determined to do what we were elected to do - to clean up Labor's mess and to give our people the economic security and the national security that they need and deserve."
Mr Turnbull said "that's a hypothetical question for the time being" when asked about running for the leadership.
"It's very important to remember that the leadership of the Liberal Party is, as John Howard says, is the unique gift of the party room," Mr Turnbull told reporters yesterday.
"If, for whatever reason, the leadership of a political party is vacant, then any member of the party can stand without any disloyalty to the person whose leadership has been declared vacant."
Mr Hockey said he supported his boss.
"The leadership team has my absolute and unqualified support and why? Because the Australian people voted for stability," Mr Hockey told reporters.
"The Australian people voted for certainty.
"We don't want to end up like Labor and the Australian people expect us to get on with the job of governing the nation?"
Mr Hockey side-stepped questions about Mr Turnbull running the show.
"I am absolutely committed to serving as treasurer of Australia under Tony Abbott," Mr Hockey said.
"He is a good man.
"He is a genuinely good human being."
"You have got to be stable. You have got to be focused."
Meanwhile, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said he supported Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey, while rejecting claims he suggested the latter should be replaced.
"Certain reports today have asserted that in the process of speaking to party room colleagues encouraging them to vote against the motion I have suggested that other ministers including the treasurer should be replaced," The Tasmanian senator said.
"This is emphatically denied.
"I continue to support the leadership team and I continue to support all of my ministerial colleagues, including the treasurer."
Mr Sinodinos said he backed the motion because "we have to have this discussion"
H said he was disappointed the meeting was moved to today.
"I am disappointed that the spill motion will now be considered on Monday and not Tuesday," the former John Howard chief of staff said.
"... it would be better to show respect for colleagues by sticking to the normal time."
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said bringing forward the meeting was the right way too go.
"It's inconceivable that it would be in the best interests of either the Liberal Party or the country for the prime minister to go into the Parliament tomorrow with this issue unresolved," Mr Cormann told the ABC's Insiders program.
Ms Bishop said last week she would vote against a spill.