It has been announced to the press gathered in Canberra, Australia, that Tony Abbot is still the prime minister after a failed vote on a leadership spill motion. Out of the 101 gathered LNP members gathered in the party room this morning, 61 voted to retain Abbott as PM while 39 voted against him. Liberal Party chief whip Phillip Ruddock made the short announcement minutes ago, noting that the matter seemed to be resolved.
Abbott’s leadership has been in trouble for awhile after unpopular “captain’s calls” have led to ridicule both from opponents and voters. Concerned LNP members were rumored to be considering a spill, but that was not confirmed until recently. The vote on the motion was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was moved up a day by the prime minister. Observers and pundits have speculated about the numbers that would vote for the motion, but it was impossible to call for any particular number. Some political experts speculate that any negative vote over 30 would be disastrous for Abbott, even though it would mean he retains leadership.
With 39 members of his party voting against him, it seems to some as though Abbott’s leadership is still in danger. He will now have to fight to regain the backbenchers’ trust and support. As for his popularity among voters, the latest Newspoll still has Abbott’s LNP far behind Labor in the preferred party. Labor has 57 percent approval while the LNP has only 43 percent.
After retaining his party’s leadership, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will still have to face a parliamentary Question Time later today.
Breaking News by Lydia Bradbury