Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is “very confident” he will still be prime minister next week, after former assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos joined a growing number of Liberal MPs to publicly criticise his leadership.
Speaking to Sky News yesterday, Mr Sinodinos said his support for Mr Abbott was “based on being able to grapple with the issues we face at the moment, which appear to have impacted on our standing in the polls”.
When asked whether Mr Abbott would be prime minister by the middle of next week, Mr Sinodinos replied: “Comrade, come and ask me next week”.
In response to Mr Sinodinos’ comments, Mr Abbott said on Thursday morning that he stood by “all” his colleagues because “that’s what a leader does”.
“I know my colleagues all got elected to end the chaos and they are determined as I am to make sure that’s exactly what we do,” he said.
The prime minister denied the past two days of “broad” cabinet discussions had been about his leadership.
“They are supporting the government and getting on with governing,” he said
“I have the full and unanimous support of the Cabinet.
“We weren’t elected to focus on ourselves.”
But internal politics has been a focus of the Liberal Party in the past week, with former leader Malcolm Turnbull and deputy leader Julie Bishop being touted as potential leaders.
The discussion follows a disastrous swing against the Liberal National Party in the Queensland State election and a largely unpopular “captain’s call” decision by Tony Abbott to award a knighthood to the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip.