Australians are watching on as another round of Australia’s favourite national sport, the Liberal Spill, continues today. Home Defence Minister Peter Dutton has, again, contested Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership and has spent the morning making the rounds through parliament to try and win support from Liberal party members.
Moves to discharge Turnbull from the top spot began after he backed down from the National Energy Guarantee, a major policy that won him his position in the election. After Dutton was urged by party members to take over the position from Mr Turnbull, the current Prime Minister called for the first leadership spill over a “casual dinner party” – a confusing but ultimately strategic move. Turnbull was able to maintain support from his party members by calling the leadership spill before Dutton had time to gain votes. The Prime Minister’s move was a success, with Dutton losing out 48 votes to 35. The vote caused Dutton to resign from his current position to the backbench, narrowly keeping a spot in the Government.
Dutton announced a second Liberal spill this morning after personal claims that Turnbull was no longer fit to lead the Liberal party. Dutton tweeted this morning that he had called for a party room meeting with the current PM – a positive sign that he had procured enough votes to take over the coveted position. Turnbull reportedly refused to meet with Dutton in the first instance, maintaining that the ex-Minister for Home Defence had not yet received enough votes to steal the position.
Dutton’s key policies that he is using to challenge the PM include cutting the GST on power bills for pensioners and other low-income earning communities, and opening a Royal Commission for fuel and power companies. Dutton is also responsible, however, for the refugee crisis on Manus Island and Nauru, which is yet to be resolved as riots continue.
In the latest news, three key players in the Liberal party resigned this morning in a major blow to the Liberal party, and Turnbull himself. Senators Mathias Cormann (Finance Minister), Mitch Fifield (Minister for Communication and the Arts), and Michaelia Cash (Minister for Jobs and Innovation) spoke to the media this morning, confirming their resignations and claiming Turnbull no longer had the support from his party to maintain his position.
Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop are reportedly being encouraged to run against Dutton. Reports have also been circulating that local MP’s and backbenchers are being offered ministries, should they switch their position to support Mr Dutton. Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson, told a Melbourne radio station that she was offered a ministry in exchange for her support.
“To be rewarded for an act of treachery would be a terrible thing,” she told the station.
Parliament has been dissolved for the day, until the Liberal party decides who will run the nation.
And as an added bonus, Alan Jones said the N-word on live radio this morning.
Stay tuned for more updates.