News National ‘My agreement is with Abbott’

‘My agreement is with Abbott’

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The Nationals have indicated they continue to back Tony Abbott’s prime ministership.

Following rumours of a leadership spill in February, Nationals leader Warren Truss reaffirmed support for the embattled leader – and that does not seem to have changed despite Monday’s drama.

Ex-Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Monday afternoon that he would battle Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party – and the prime ministership.

And Deputy Prime Minister Truss said that any change to the leadership would mean a fresh Coalition agreement was needed.

“My Coalition agreement is with Tony Abbott,” he told reporters.

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“While the leadership is a choice for the Liberals, any change would require a new Coalition agreement and a new message of support to the Governor-General from me.

“It’s been a tough couple of years in Government, and no-one said it was going to be easy.”

The Coalition agreement has existed – in various forms – since 1923.

At the federal level, it is between the Liberal Party and National Party, with the Liberal leader usually appointed Prime Minister.

This is a result of the Liberal Party usually holding a much higher stake in the parliament.

Although Mr Truss has consistently maintained his agreement was with Mr Abbott, he has previously indicated he “got on quite well” with Mr Turnbull.

“Well Malcolm Turnbull is a very able man. When he was leader of the Liberal Party in opposition, we got on quite well,” he told the ABC in February.

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