Tony Abbott wins leadership vote

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Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Australia’s beleaguered prime minister Tony Abbott survived an internal government challenge to his leadership, despite a revolt by dozens of colleagues that leaves him politically damaged.

A meeting of MPs in the ruling conservative Liberal Party voted 61 to 39 to reject a motion that called for a ballot for party leader and deputy.

Mr Abbott needed a stronger show of support from his colleagues to ward off potential future challenges if the government continues to endure sagging approval ratings in opinion polls.

But he said later that he should stay in charge of the government until voters decide his fate in elections next year.

“We want to end the disunity and the uncertainty which destroyed two Labour governments and give you the good government that you deserve,” he said, referring to the centre-left Labour Party that dumped prime ministers in similar internal struggles in 2010 and 2013.

“We think that when you elect a government, when you elect a prime minister, you deserve to keep that government and that prime minister until you have a chance to change your mind.”

The challenge showed that 39 of 102 Liberal MPs wanted a change at the helm, even though no one had officially announced he or she was willing to stand against Mr Abbott.

It came halfway through his first three-year term as prime minister. His party has never dumped a first-term prime minister.

Published: Monday 9th February 2015 by The News Editor

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