• ‘Damaged goods’: Abbott survives leadership coup
• EXPLAINED Leadership spill: what is it, what happens
• Tearing down the Abbott fairytales, one by one
• Shock poll shows Abbott government in trouble
3.40pm And with that, we bring to a close today’s coverage of the Liberal spill motion. Thanks very much for reading, and feel free to leave a comment. We’ll be back on the next big day of political drama.
3.32pm The no confidence motion is going to a vote and will be defeated. Despite an enormously difficult morning in which he was “chastened” by his own party, Abbott has finished on a strong note. He returned to what he does best – bagging Labor’s past failures in government.
3.29pm Abbott is very feisty today, even accusing Labor of being racist for opposing opening up the submarine contract to Japan and visas for foreign workers.
3.26pm Abbott is saying nothing new, but doesn’t appear weakened by this morning’s attempted spill. He has even taken on the topic of climate change, repeating his pledge to cut emissions by 12 per cent.
3.22pm In response to the motion, Abbott went straight for Shorten’s weak spot.
“We are not going to take lessons in unity from a leader of the opposition who backstabbed two prime ministers,” Mr Abbott said.
He then returned to the familiar theme of Labor’s failures, including debt accrual and the Pink Batts scandal.
“The Labor Party has not learned any lessons and is entirely unsuitable to ever occupy the government benches of this country.”
3.17pm Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek has seconded the motion, taking aim at the unfairness of the federal budget.
“Until they get rid of the policies that hurt everyday Australians, it doesn’t matter who leads the Liberal Party,” Ms Plibersek said.
“This was not a convincing victory because the people of Australia will not accept this man as their prime minister.
“It’s plain that if the ministry had not been bound, this result would have been even closer.”
3.13pm Shorten has signalled where Labor might take its stand in future, goading the PM to allow a mature debate on a republic and meaningful action on climate change.
“This morning was a debacle,” he said.
The real change needed is for the Liberal party to “sort out” the budget and stop attacking Australian workers, Mr Shorten said.
The Opposition Leader also took another stab at Turnbull — “a man who will say or do anything to gain power.”
3.08pm Shorten has moved that standing orders be suspended so he can move a no confidence motion in the PM. He then spends the first five minutes taking a swing at Turnbull, who he says couldn’t decide whether to be Labor or Liberal.
“This country doesn’t need a new Liberal prime minister. It needs a new government,” Mr Shorten said.
“You have a nation of lifters being led by a nations of leaners.”
3.03pm Hilarious interjection on relevance from Jason Clare, who is Turnbull’s Labor counterpart. “Turnbull is only being 39 per cent relevant. He needs to be 100 per cent relevant.”
3.00pm Shorten tries to ask Malcolm Turnbull why he is still on the frontbench. The Speaker rules it out of order, despite Manager of Opposition Business in the House Tony Burke protesting twice. Instead, Turnbull takes a question from his backbench that allows him to say how bad Labor was at rolling out the NBN.
2.57pm Liberal backbencher asks Joe Hockey, who has been very quiet in the media today, about the “green shoots” in the economy. Hockey reminds us of the looming debt crisis, says the economy is strengthening, and then blames Labor for obstructing the government’s agenda in the Senate.
2.52pm Labor’s third question goes to Education Minister Christopher Pyne and is unrelated to the spill motion. It seems the Opposition is not going as hard on the spill as some expected.
2.49pm Abbott is doing a good job of fielding questions from Shorten. “I certainly agree that it’s time to get on with government,” he says. “All we hear from Labor is one long loud complaint, with no answers.”
2.48pm Julie Bishop is rushing through a summary of The New Colombo Plan, which gives scholarships for uni students to study in the Indo Pacific region.
2.46pm “I stand by my Treasurer,” says Abbott three times in response to a question from Bill Shorten. The Opposition Leader said Abbott had abandoned Joe Hockey in his press conference after the spill motion, in which he declined to say that Hockey had his full support.
2.44pm A Dorothy Dixer question from the backbench gives Abbott a chance to boast about successes for business, and repeat all the old slogans. “This is a government that is not resting on its laurels,” Mr Abbott said. “We are getting on with the job we were elected to.”
2.40pm Bill Shorten starts QT with the question we’ve all been expecting: how can the prime minister claim to have a mandate given the spill motion result? Abbott keeps it brief, needling Shorten with the election result “he would rather forget”. “This government did win an election, and that is the mandate we are carrying out,” Mr Abbott replied.
2.35pm While the lower house is preoccupied, let’s revisit history. As Fairfax Media reports, many previous prime ministers have been removed after a failed initial attempt. For example, it took Bob Hawke six months to roll Bill Hayden; Paul Keating six months to replace Hawke; and six days for Malcolm Turnbull to finally be brought down by Abbott. It took 16 months for Kevin Rudd to seize back the prime ministership from Gillard after a failed initial attempt.
2.30pm Abbott has moved another condolence motion, this time for the death of Kep Enderby, a Labor politician, judge and war veteran.
2.24pm Sometimes teary tributes to Tom Uren have been followed by a moment of silence in the lower house.
2.20pm Perhaps as a soon of what’s to come, Labor is directing almost all of its questions in the Senate at the leader, Eric Abetz.
2.10pm The Senate has already begun its Question Time. Senate leader Eric Abetz has been pummelled with questions about the spill, which he described as a “firm endorsement” for Abbott. But the Senator admitted that the vote was “a wake-up call”.
Penny Wong has a case of the grins in qt today — eleanor bloom (@eleanorbloom) February 9, 2015
2.05pm Prime Minister Tony Abbott is sharing his condolences on the passing of Tom Uren, a former Labor Party deputy leader and war veteran.
2.03pm Question Time starting soon. Abbott has already described the spill motion as “a shot across my bow”. Expect some heavy artillery fire in the next hour.
1.54pm Political journalist Peter van Onselen describes the Prime Minister’s press conference on Sky News as “rhetoric without real change”.
1.51pm In a closing comment, PM Abbott implies that he will stay in the role in the “weeks and months and years ahead”.
1.47pm Abbott dodges question on whether Treasurer Joe Hockey has his full confidence. “The point I make is that this has been a very chastening experience. “All of us are determined to lift our game,” he said. He also dodged a question on Peta Credlin’s future.
1.45pm Abbott says what has changed is: no more paid parental leave scheme (“a bit of a favourite of mine”); no more PM-appointed Australia Day honours; more full ministry meetings; no more PMO veto of staff appointments; a change to public service travel; and other “internal changes”. “I am also very confident that this is a party room, which believes in the marrow of its bones that we are a government which has good answers for the people of Australia,” Mr Abbott said.
1.40pm Abbott acknowledges that the his budget was too ambitious, and pledged to do better in “the next few months”.
“We had a bold and ambitious budget last year. With the wisdom of hindsight, perhaps too bold, and perhaps with the wisdom of hindsight, we bit off a bit more than we could chew.”
This may confirm the report that he asked the backbench for six more months to turn around the government’s performance.
1.38pm PM Abbott’s comments: “Obviously I accept that the last few weeks have been difficult weeks for the government, but they’ve also been difficult weeks for the Australian people because the people expect and deserve a government that is getting on with the job. “I’m confident as of day we are back at work. “We have looked over the precipice and we have decide we are not going to go down the Labor path of a damaged and dysfunctional government.”
1.30pm Standing by for the PM’s first presser since this morning’s spill motion, which he won 61 votes to 39.
1.15pm Abbott is expected to hold a press conference in the Prime Minister’s Courtyard at 1:30pm. At least one social media user is sceptical.
1.12pm Backbench Senator Cory Bernardi has said he thinks the leadership question has been resolved and urged his colleagues to “suspend the circus” and “suspend the egos”. “It’s absolutely wrong to be undermining a first-term prime minister.”
1.07pm The ABC’s political editor Chris Uhlmann says Abbott has one last chance to reboot. “This was a referendum on the leadership of the Prime Minister and 40 per cent of his own party voted against him,” Mr Uhlmann said. “I’d stay at this stage if you were a betting person, the odds are stacked against [Abbott surviving].” The NSW state election and the next budget will be major hurdles. There is also still a mood in the party to replace his chief of staff, Peta Credlin.
1.00pm The Australian‘s columnist Dennis Shanahan has opined that the spill motion is “an almost fatal blow” to both Abbott’s prime ministership and the Liberal Party. This is because Liberal voters dislike Turnbull, the most obvious alternative, he explains. “The Liberals can’t win where they are and can’t win without the Liberal voter base.” As one Twitter user says, the government is “wedged”.
12.53pm Controversial political candidate Pauline Hanson added her thoughts to the spill motion earlier this morning, describing Abbott as “out of touch”. Hanson said she wouldn’t back Turnbull because he looks after big business, nor Bishop because she supports foreign investment to the detriment of local industries. Her pick would be Scott Morrison because he “is currently carrying out his jobs with success, that being his immigration and welfare portfolios”.
12.47pm Fun historical fact: Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed on this day in 1587. After the failed Gillard challenge, Abbott described it as a “stay of execution”.
12.42pm Former Liberal leader Dr John Hewson has told ABC radio that it was “too high a risk” for Turnbull or any other candidate to declare their hand and challenge Abbott.
12.35pm References to popular American TV shows have been rife throughout the Liberal leadership saga. Before the vote, Tony Abbott told his party it should avoid a Game of Thrones-style bloodbath, while backbencher Wyatt Roy reportedly compared the PM to Joffrey, a hated character on the show. Post-vote, Twitter has christened Turnbull as Francis Underwood, the political machinator in House of Cards. In the words of Turnbull, quoting the House of Cards catchphrase: “You may well say that. I couldn’t possibly comment.”
12.25pm Question Time will be brutal for PM Abbott. Here is what he asked Julia Gillard after she survived a challenge from Kevin Rudd in 2012: “My question is to the Prime Minister. Given that one-third of her parliamentary colleagues have today expressed their lack of confidence in her, how can she claim to have a mandate to continue as Prime Minister?” Expect something very similar from 2pm this afternoon.
12.20pm Media mogul Murdoch has weighed in, telling Abbott how to fix the problem via the PM’s least favourite medium, “electronic graffiti”.
Abbott survives 61-39. Now needs to say he understands complaints and will govern more inclusively, both with public and his party. — Rupert Murdoch (@rupertmurdoch) February 9, 2015
12.16pm There are unconfirmed reports that Abbott’s office was promised 70 votes, which materialised into 61.
12.10pm Time for a lunchtime recap. Prime Minister Tony Abbott entered Monday’s leadership spill with the worst approval rating of any prime minister since Paul Keating in 1994. After winning the party leadership by a single vote against Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey back in 2009, Mr Abbott survived a spill motion by 22 votes this morning. After the win, which many commentators are interpreting as a substantial vote of no confidence, Mr Abbott reportedly look shaken, and pledged to reform his ways. He also asked for six more months, some reports suggest. Rather than holding a press conference, the PM made a statement to a Channel 9 camera crew. He is expected to front the media before Question Time.
12.04pm Sportsbet has Malcolm Turnbull as the firm favourite to be LNP leader at the next election on $1.35, with Tony Abbott paying out $4.00, Julie Bishop $7.00, and Scott Morrison $21.
11.57am There are unconfirmed reports of what exactly was written on the one informal vote.
11.52am Assistant Infrastructure Minister Josh Frydenberg tells Sky News that “there are obviously a group that are unhappy,” but draws comparisons to John Howard, who was repeatedly written off during his four terms.
11.50am More informal vote mirth. As a reminder, one of the Liberal MPs failed to clearly vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the spill motion.
11.42am Backbencher Dennis Jensen, who supported the spill motion, tells Sky News that it is party process, not the prime ministership, that requires change. “As I said all along, it was about the what, not the who,” Mr Jensen says. “I clearly think the Prime Minister should be given air to set his agenda.” The vote’s result was not overwhelming support for Abbott, but “it is the will of the party room,” he says. Winning the election from here will be a tough ask, Mr Jensen concedes.
11.35am The rivals crossed paths in Parliament this morning.
11.29am Veteran political journalist Paul Bongiorno reportedly says an actual challenge could be in the works.
11.24am PM Abbott described the spill motion as a “near-death experience” in his post-vote speech, several media outlets report. He has reportedly asked for six months to repair the government’s fortunes.
11.20am The controversial GP co-payment is emerging as a key battleground within Abbott’s own party. Spill motion trigger Luke Simpkins said at first that Abbott had vowed to dump it, but then backtracked, saying he only promised further consultation. Health Minister Sussan Ley has confirmed that plans for the co-payment are unchanged, but that the government is consulting with the medical profession.
11.16am As a reminder, this morning Tony Abbott effectively ran against himself for PM, and 38 per cent of his party didn’t vote for him.
11.12am While putting the condolence motion, Abbott made an extremely pertinent comment: that this sitting year, as always, there will be “moments of bitterness, contention and drama”. We’ve already seen plenty of those, and it’s only day one.
11.06am Abbott speaks directly to the victims and their families, who are watching from the gallery. “I want to assure you we are still with you as you come to terms with that horrific experience.” “We grieve with you and we hope that you draw hope and comfort from the support of the people of this country.” He is stumbling over some of his words and sounds tired. Parliament, which he describes as the “cradle of democracy”, seems to be taking its toll.
11.02am The PM is currently moving a motion of condolence for the Sydney siege victims in Parliament. His voice is croaky.
11.01am After a three day hiatus from tweeting, Abbott makes a return to “electronic graffiti”.
10.50am Professor John Wanna, a political expert at ANU, says only 25 MPs were expected to vote for the spill motion. “But when you’ve got 39 voting for [a spill], that’s a much bigger number. “With numbers like those, clearly some of his ministry didn’t vote for him.”
10.47am Abbott has continued to claim that it is the Australian people, not the party room, that appoints a prime minister. “We think that when you elect a government, when you elect a prime minister, you deserve to keep that government and prime minister until you have a chance to change your mind,” Mr Abbott said during his televised statement. This claim has been repeatedly rebutted by senior members of his frontbench, including Trade Minister Andrew Robb, who have rightly pointed out that electorates vote for local members and the party room elects leaders.
10.42am Labor shadow minister Anthony Albanese says “this is certainly NOT over.” The knives sharpen. Just as Abbott slammed Labor during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd fiasco, you would expect the opposition to capitalise heavily on this debacle. But Albanese’s comments do accord with those of most commentators, who are predicting that Abbott’s leadership will limp on until finally put out of misery.
10.37am Dr Andrew Laming, a Liberal backbencher who voted for the spill motion, said a signal has been sent by the backbench, which has been heard by cabinet. “There are still concerns… but I am determined to work as a team,” Dr Laming told Sky News. On the GP cop-payment, the medical doctor says: “My view is to drop it.”
10.33am Parliament will begin this morning with a condolence motion for the victims of the Sydney siege.
10.31am The next challenge for Abbott, after that strenuous 90-second statement to camera, will be preparing for a Labor onslaught in Parliament. Odds on Bill Shorten asking “Why should the Australian people trust you if 38 per cent of your own party doesn’t trust you?” at some point during Question Time.
10.25am We can confirm, Abbott emerged from the party room in one piece.
10.20am Luke Simpkins, who moved the spill motion, tells Sky News that Abbott dropped the GP co-payment after the vote, but then backtracks and says Abbott only said he would consult more. “Sorry, I misspoke.” Simpkins refused to rule out another attack, but says Abbott has “a long time” to sort himself out. “I think the party room has endorsed his leadership.”
10.16am Abbott reminds us all: “I love this country.” And Labor are really bad, guys. The focus will now be on “jobs, families, a stronger economy and a secure nation,” he says. “The Liberal Party has dealt with this 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 uncertainly which destroyed two Labor governments and give you the good government you deserve,” Mr Abbott says.
Entire statement lasted less than 90 seconds.
10.15am Abbott fronts the camera. Now taking bets on which slogans will dominate.
10.12am The resemblance is uncanny.
10.08am While we wait for the PM’s statement, here’s footage of a post-party room confrontation between Abbott and a chirpy Turnbull.
10.05am Abbott’s video statement — from safe inside his office — is expected at approx. 10:20am and will be filmed by a Channel 9 camera crew.
No Prime Ministerial press conference. Just a statement to a preferred media outlet. On the day Australians want to know WTF is going on… — Francis Leach (@SaintFrankly) February 8, 2015
New style of governing: Tony, Peta and a Ch 9 camera in a locked room. 100% captain’s calls. — Tyson Armstrong (@tysonarmstrong) February 8, 2015
10.03am The US-based daily newsletter Quartz began its Monday Asian edition with this assessment of Australian politics: “The Australian parliament reconvenes. After a bad few months in which he has offended almost everybody, prime minister Tony Abbott may come back from a challenge to his leadership.”
10.01am Abbott will reportedly forgo the usual post-spill press conference, opting instead to make a statement to camera. This means he will face no questions. This is true to form for the PM, who avoided questions from the media for much of his time as opposition leader. In recent days, he has slipped back into this trend. Abbott’s last press conference on Sunday lasted 67 seconds.
9.57am Sky News political editor David Speers quotes a party room insider as saying Abbott appeared to be in a state of “sem-shock” after the vote. He reportedly pleaded for unity, but did not offer anything new to the backbench. Other reports say that Abbott offered more consultation, and no more vetting of staff appointments. To date, his office has signed off on the employment of even low-level staffers.
9.55am Hockey cops some flack on Twitter, as per usual. Unconfirmed theories circulated on the weekend that he might be replaced as Treasurer by Turnbull as a bid for unity and a concession to the backbench.
9.54am Conspiracy theory — Turnbull was the one who voted informally. Didn’t want his meta-data to be tracked.
9.48am Perhaps a yes/no tick box was just a little too complicated at 9am pre-coffee.
9.44am Monash University’s Dr Zareh Ghazarian, a political expert, says Abbott is now in a perilous position. “Whenever these sorts of debates are had in the public, the leader takes damage. They are damaged goods and I don’t think it’s any different this time around,” Dr Ghazarian says. “Tony Abbott has survived this but he has not survived scot-free. This has caused a lot of political damage. His government has been distracted for weeks. It hasn’t been able to talk about policy of any sort, it’s been talking about itself. He’ll be leading a very damage government for the time being.”
9.42am Speaker Bronwyn Bishop leaves the room last smiling regally, and nods to the media.
9.40am Abbott has departed the party room. Despite having lost the support of 39 of his colleagues, he looks slightly happier.
9.38am The Prime Minister made a “captain’s call”, in Turnbull’s words, on Sunday morning to push the vote forward to Monday instead of Tuesday. Did this impact the result?
9.35am Former Liberal deputy leader Peter Reith says the 39 yes votes are a “very bad number” for Abbott, and suspects that a number of cabinet ministers will have already “peeled off”. He predicts that the leadership question will burble along, perhaps for some months, before Abbott is finally removed.
9.32am Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger says a “loud and clear” message has been delivered from the backbench.
9.30am Which way will Mr Turnbull go?
Malcolm Turnbull faces a tough choice. Ride the momentum now or assume 39 votes will only grow with time? — Sean Kelly (@mrseankelly) February 8, 2015
9.25am To break down the vote a little, 38 per cent of the party room effectively voted for a new leader, any leader. The strong tradition of cabinet solidarity means that the entire frontbench was expected to vote against the motion, which means that the anti-Abbott camp snared 39 of the 66 votes that were actually up for grabs (assuming the entire ministry voted no).
9.21am Abbott is believed to be addressing the party room after the vote.
9.20am Sky News political editor David Speers says “it is only a matter of time now,” saying the result can be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in Abbott’s prime ministership.
9.18am Chief whip Philip Ruddock says the result is a “very clear” 61 votes against the spill motion, 39 for it. “There are party meetings tomorrow and I am sure in the context of the matter having been clearly resolved there may well be discussion about how we should proceed now,” Mr Ruddock said. One MP voted informally, another was absent.
9.17am Early reports that the spill motion has failed.
9.13am Sky News reports that all votes have been cast and the count is underway.
9.11am Spot the difference.
9.05am Interesting to note that Scott Morrison arrived with Arthur Sinodinos, who has vowed to vote for the spill, whereas all the other frontbenchers flanked Abbott.
9.01am We’ve reached some sort of tipping point with MPs now using reality TV analogies to back the leader of a nation. What’s your view — has Abbott done more than “burn the toast”? Leave your thoughts in the comments field below.
Lib MP Craig Kelly says PM Abbott’s mistakes have been ‘minor’ and deposing him is like throwing someone off MKR for burning the toast. — Latika Bourke (@latikambourke) February 8, 2015
9.00am Abbott and a throng of supporters have marched passed the waiting media pack into the party room as the clock ticked 9:00am. Julie Bishop stood at his side. Matthias Cormann, almost a foot taller than the PM, followed behind. As a show of support, it may have left Turnbull and his supporters somewhat concerned about the likely outcome of the vote.
8.57am Only seven Liberals — Arthur Sinodinos, Wyatt Roy, Luke Simpkins (moving the spill motion), Don Randall (seconding the motion), Dennis Jensen and Sharman Stone — have announced they are definitely voting for the spill.
8.56am Turnbull has landed. Usually verbose, he walked into the room without a word, and entirely alone.
8.54am There will be no debate on the spill motion. The motion will simply be put and seconded, and then MPs will vote by a secret ballot. If the motion gets at least 51 votes, there will be a call for leadership candidates.
8.53am Libs are starting to trickle into the party room.
8.50am SA Senator Nick Xenophon predicts that Abbott will defeat the spill motion, giving him a “reprieve”. “He’ll win, but I don’t think this is over,” Xenophon told the ABC. “He needs to change policies, change direction.” For the LNP to rebound from current dire political polls would require “Lazurus with a quintuple by-pass, not a triple,” he said. He’s also had some fun with it.
8.47am Turnbull grinned as he arrived earlier this morning.
8.45am ABC commentator Annabel Crabb predicts the spill motion — due to begin in 15 minutes — will fail, but says the vote will be close.
8.44am The church service attended by all MPs before the start of Parliament has just finished. With peace and love out of the way, the bloodbath can commence.
8.43am The ABC’s Barrie Cassidy says “consensus is emerging” that the anti-Abbott spill vote will be “somewhere in the thirties”, which is far short of the 51 votes needed to pass a spill motion. But other commentators have said that any vote in the high 30s would be extremely damaging.
8.42am A quick note on spill procedure. The spill motion itself must be voted on by the party and if it doesn’t get enough votes (51), there will be no contest for the leadership. The vote on who leads the party can only proceed if the spill motion first succeeds. More here on how the spill works.
8.40am Senator Lambie says Turnbull would make a better PM than Abbott: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
8.37am Senator Jacqui Lambie says it’s curtains (or is that scarves?) for Abbott.
“I think he’s gone. And if he’s not gone today, there’s further turmoil.” Jacqui Lambie — Annabel Crabb (@annabelcrabb) February 8, 2015
8.36am It’s all about the numbers. And it seems Mr Abbott has a large headstart:
Stunning spill motion arithmetic: 101 votes. Bare majority 51. 41 ministers & Whips (35+6) bound vote against. PM just needs 10 from 60. — Malcolm Farr (@farrm51) February 8, 2015
8.35am Liberal MP Ross Vasta is on paternity leave, which drops the party room attendees to 101, not the full 102. There are unconfirmed reports that he would have voted for the spill.
8.30am Thirty minutes until the Liberal party holds a spill motion, which is effectively a vote on a vote. With no contender announced, the motion to reset the leader and deputy leader positions, which will be moved by backbencher Liberal Luke Simpkins and seconded by fellow West Australian Don Randall, will be seen as a vote of confidence in TA’s leadership. A total of 101 pollies are expected to gather at the party room meeting, which means 51 is the magic number to go to an actual contest. But commentators expect that a vote for the spill motion in the high 30s or 40s would be crushing for Abbott.
8.27am Abbott just dodged the question of whether Turnbull should resign if the spill motion fails.
8.20am Bass MP and Abbott supporter Andrew Nikolic said his colleagues were “voting to blow the joint up potentially with nothing better to go to” and cautioned colleagues to give the PM more time. He said the government needed to change direction however, becoming “more evolutionary than revolutionary”.
8.20am Bass MP and Abbott supporter Andrew Nikolic said his colleagues were “voting to blow the joint up potentially with nothing better to go to” and cautioned colleagues to give the PM more time. He said the government needed to change direction however, becoming “more evolutionary than revolutionary”.
8.15am Conflicting messages on Malcolm Turnbull’s future from within the Liberal Party. On Sky News, cabinet minister Mathias Cormann says Turnbull has been a team player, an outstanding minister and loyal to the PM. Senator Cormann is almost metronomic in delivery of the government’s messages, and he has also been relentlessly loyal to the PM. Corey Bernardi, on the other, holds a different view. Mr Turnbull must leave cabinet, he said this morning, and his actions are an “ambush” of the PM.
8.12am Hard-right Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has said that Turnbull is “grossly disloyal” and that his supporters have been phoning around offering inducements to vote for the spill. This from the man who has been sacked by both Turnbull AND Abbott. Abbott has of course announced an open tender for canoes, erm… submarines… on the eve of the vote. He says it’s totally unrelated, of course.
8.10am Abbott may have considered a wardrobe change this morning in an effort to win votes.
8.09am PM Abbott looks around warily at church this morning.
8.07am Another uncomfortable number for Mr Abbott from today’s Newspoll. Coalition voters still prefer the current PM to Mr Turnbull, but when you look at all voters, the gap is immense. Sixty four per cent of all voters think Mr Turnbull should be the Liberal leader, and only 25 per cent think Mr Abbott should be PM.
Ms Bishop has reasons to grin here, too. She’s preferred by 59 per cent to 27 per cent over her boss.
8.05am Superhero-suited man seen outside Parliament House in Canberra. Spotted in the background as Michael Rowland interviewed Barrie Cassidy live on ABC News 24. Not regarded as a leadership contender.
8.00am In contrast to some of his frontbench colleagues, Education Minister Christopher Pyne has failed to give the PM his outright support, calling instead for unity after the vote.
7.55am Financial Services Minister Matthias Cormann says Turnbull has been an “outstanding minister and a team player”, and he takes him at his word that he is not trying to destabilise the government.
Senator Cormann is not surprised by the very poor Newspoll, saying: “Given the week we’ve had, I’m surprised the polls aren’t worse.”
7.45am Sky News political reporter Kieran Gilbert says more than one source has told him that Julie Bishop has struck a deal with Malcolm Turnbull, which means she will not contest for the top job.
7.31am The Newspoll might be bad for news for Mr Abbott, but there is one poll which will give comfort to the NSW state Libs. A poll in the Fairfax papers shows NSW Premier Mike Baird extending his lead over the state ALP.
The Fairfax Ipsos poll shows Mr Baird’s government adding rising to 56 per cent of the two party preferred vote, and Labor slipping 2 per cent to 44 per cent.
7.22am As members of the Federal Liberal Party enjoy their Weetbix this morning, there’s a fresh Newspoll to consider and it won’t make digesting their breakfast any easier. It is not a beautiful sets of numbers, but it might help with the day’s deliberations:
Newspoll in The Australian
Two party preferred vote ALP 57 – Coalition 43
The ALP has gained three points since December, the Coalition has lost three points
4.30am Hello and welcome to The New Daily’s live blog of a truly historic day in Canberra.
As the nation awakes today, Australia finds itself in political lockdown … again. Just 16 months into his prime ministership, Tony Abbott is staring into the void, his party fractured, his budget in tatters and his standing in the electorate damaged, possibly beyond repair.
And again, voters find the national leadership considering its own future and not that of the country it was elected to govern.
Will Australia lose another prime minister today, its fifth in five years? Or will Mr Abbott get another chance?
Malcolm Turnbull supporters believe they are within striking distance of the Liberal leadership. They will need things to go their way in both the spill motion and the subsequent vote, but Mr Abbott appeared to make life easier for them on Sunday.
The Prime Minister sparked a backlash with a controversial “captain’s call” in bringing forward a meeting to consider the spill motion.
Mr Abbott said he had changed the meeting from Tuesday to Monday to end the uncertainty before parliament resumed. While denying the hostile forces time to organise themselves might have been tactically clever, it also riled backbenchers who wanted time to consider a decision which could change the direction of a party, a parliament and a people.
So stay with us today while we follow the drama as it unfolds on Capitol Hill.
I’m Jackson Stiles and I’ll be with you on this journey. I’ll be updating constantly from 7.30am until the drama subsides. And don’t forget to leave your comments below. We’re all in this together!