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First Cracks Appearing

Last night, we witnessed the first cracks in the wall of solidarity in the Liberal Party opening up.

Western Australian liberal MP Dr Dennis Jensen broke ranks with his fellow MPs and called for a leadership spill. He made the call in an interview with Leigh Sales on ABC’s 7.30. Dr Jensen stated that he had received many calls from other MPs, all of whom wanted a leadership change.

When asked who he thought should lead the party, Jensen said the focus should be more a matter of what the party needed, not who. He said they needed a good communicator, someone who could articulate the government’s message, delegate effectively and then allow members to get on with doing what needed to be done.

He said that he did not believe Tony Abbott could do that and didn’t think the Prime Minister understood what the problem was. He added that while Abbott and Hockey did talk to each other about the economy and other matters, there was no substance behind the empty rhetoric they displayed in public.

Immediately following the Jensen interview, Sales introduce Peter Dutton to gain a response to Jensen’s comments. Dutton acknowledged that both Abbott and the government had made mistakes but that they should be given a fair go. He also pointed out that as matters stood, there was no challenger, that the prime minister had the full support of cabinet and he had no intention of standing down.

While that interview was being aired, ABC’s Sabra Lane was speaking by phone with Queensland Liberal Warren Entsch. After the Dutton interview she reported that Entsch also called for the matter of the leadership to be resolved and to be done so, quickly.

While Jensen was not prepared to suggest a replacement, Entsch felt Malcolm Turnbull was the man best suited to lead the party and the country, Sabra said.

This is the first indication that the phones are indeed running hot and that matters may well come to a head at a party meeting in Canberra next week. Sabra Lane also pointed out that, at this stage, no one knows what the numbers are in the event of a challenge.

She also said, however, that now someone had spoken out publicly, she expected more members to come forward expressing their wishes.

So what do we, on the outside, make of this?

If there is one conclusion to draw from these breakaway comments it is that there is an orchestrated attempt to bring on a spill and flush out those who would be willing to challenge should a spill take place.

There is one thing of which we can be sure. The momentum for a spill will build in the coming days and the question of the leadership will be dealt with before the party begins to implode.

The next few days will see further pressure placed on the Prime Minister and a frenzy of activity among the possible contenders to see who has the greatest support.

Watch for a leadership spill, this time next week.’

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  1. Jexpat

    Jenson declared: Tony Abbott is a “great wartime leader but not a great peacetime leader.”

    And if that’s not enough to tell everyone where he’s up to, here’s what he proclaims about himself on his website: I stand for Lower Tax, Smaller Government, Free Market, Family and A Fair Go.

    I’ll leave it to others to find the numerous instances of self serving disingenuousness in his record.

  2. DanDark

    Tones leadership clock is ticking down tic toc tic toc, by next week the Aussie people will be saying
    ” Tony who?” They want us to move on, to build a bridge and get over Tones blunders,
    That shouldn’t be a problem for the aussie people 🙂

  3. keerti

    Jenson is incorrect. Abbott doesn’t display any of the qualities of a real leader. Just those of a bullyboy!

  4. stephentardrew

    You know that Labor instability and infighting. We are above that mendacious drivel and Machiavellian knife sharpening.

    Hand me the oil stone Tony.

    Jensen helped Mitchin knock off Turnbull now he is after his hero, wonder boy, numero uno sycophant who is absolutely insistent on falling on his sword.

    Da, Da! Fanfare choir of a thousand discordant voices singing the Ode to Chunder.

    You can most certainly trust this rat to poison the well.

    Julia must be killing herself laughing.

    She could be using Abbott and Co as a dart board at the moment.

    Come to think of it has anyone got some loose points?

  5. Andreas Bimba

    Very interesting article.

    Abbott is just too dangerous and he must go ASAP. My pick along with nearly every one else is for Malcolm Turnbull. I don’t know how he will build a decent government from such a shit Liberal and National Party but it will at least be better than what we have now. He will also force the ALP to awake from it’s torpor.

  6. bobrafto

    There was a growing momentum early in the piece of labelling Abbott as ‘one term tony’ and who woulda thought it would become ‘half term tony’.

    I trust the Tone has a bottle of valium to soothe a very severe form of rejection on an almighty scale.

    WTF – great wartime leader? How does a couple of hundred troops in Iraq constitutes a war?

    If anything the Tone was war mongering to shore up his non existent popularity.

    My message for Tone “Good riddance to bad rubbish’.

  7. bobrafto

    The ‘Push’ started when Bishop visited that American reptilian Murdoch.

    Last week and this week Turnbull’s FB page has been sponsored and appearing on my home page on a daily basis.

    Does anyone know if Turnbull visited Murdock while he was in the US?

    And if Turnbull succeeds will he be his own man or just another Murdoch puppet?

  8. passum2013Ron Barnes

    Let the fool fall and the Liberal nationals separate and force a Double Dissolution Because The Liberals Cannot Rule or Nationals By them selves Ever.

  9. Loz

    I too wondered if Turnbull had visited the man behind the throne whilst in New York.

  10. Florence nee Fedup

    Calling for a spill is not unusual or wrong under the Westminster system. Hockey now on 702 reminding us that Howard sacked how many ministers during his first term,.,Now waffling on about what I have no idea. Making little sense. Unanimous in cabinet yesterday. Yes, Mr Hockey, we doo not only blame Abbott, we want you all to go.

    AM should not be missed. Did not realise Hockey is so bad.

  11. John Armour

    I’ll leave it to others to find the numerous instances of self serving disingenuousness in his record.

    Jensen also said he’d only consider supporting Turnbull depending on his attitude to an ETS.

    There’s irony for you Jexpat. What looks like an AGW sceptic white-anting the AGW sceptic-in-Chief!

  12. mars08

    Is Abbott is fit to be PM? No doubt there are people willing to push both sides of the argument.


    What is troubling is this trend of political parties dumping their leaders in the face of bad poll numbers… rather than reshape their policies. Democracy is supposed to rely on the consent of an engaged electorate. The people in government are supposed to respond to the will of the people. In a functioning democracy the actions and policies of an OPEN government are judged by the people and the politicians seek the electorate’s consent to implement their policies.

    What’s happening now is that parties are reacting to MSM pressure and juggling leaders, without substantially changing their policy agenda. This is meant to give the illusion of change… but merely contributes to more instability and distracts from the business of governing the nation. I don’t care which party engages in such foolishness… it’s a sign of weakness, it’s lazy and it’s setting a bad precedent for democracy.

  13. stuff me

    The spill is so big they will need a boat soon!

  14. roscoe

    the LNP should realise that they can change from white to wholemeal but with the same filling they will still end up with a shit sandwich

  15. Mike

    John, I’m concerned this is a scapegoating stunt where after next weeks meeting these dictators come out and say “well after a little bump in the road the adults have listened, consulted & sorted it out, unlike labor blah blah” what also surprises me that Dr Jensen being a former csiro scientist has not resigned or changed ships, cause the science has been in for years now

  16. David

    Interested to see Brough sticking his head up from the trench of Ashby dung. He either has a death wish or Abbott really doesn’t know anything of importance re the Slipper/Ashby/Pyne/Brough scandal…OMG there goes a flying pig!!!!

  17. Kaye Lee

    “Does anyone know if Turnbull visited Murdock while he was in the US?”

    I don’t know but I doubt it. Turnbull has had quite a few shots at Rupert over the years. For example…..

    March 2014

    Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has denied he was referring to News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch when he referred to a “demented plutocrat” during his speech to launch The Saturday Paper.

    After lavishing praise on The Saturday Paper’s founder Morry Schwartz and his contribution to Australia’s “intellectual life”, Turnbull quipped: “You are not some demented plutocrat pouring more and more money into a loss making venture that is just going to peddle your opinions.”


    December 2012

    On Saturday, in the wake of the shooting in Connecticut where 26 people were killed at an elementary school, Mr Turnbull replied to a tweet by Mr Murdoch.

    ‘‘Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy,’’ Mr Murdoch said.

    Mr Turnbull then observed: ‘‘@rupertmurdoch I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.’’


  18. Michael Taylor

    Whoever topples Abbott will be knifed if they lose the election in 2016. They take on a big job.

  19. Jan Dobson

    While my mind was working on ‘where have I seen this guy before’, I listened to Dr Jensen make some points on which I agreed re Tony Abbott. “No strategic direction”, “focusing on (electioneering) debt and deficit”, “still operating on that (electioneering) wartime footing”, “the people of Warringah (only) chose .. Tony Abbott” and “(doesn’t believe Abbott can) ..work on policy that is consistent and coherent” “lack of ability … “.

    Finally, I thought, an elected conservative standing up to be counted. One recognising the faults of this government and putting the people of Australia before the ideology, I hoped.

    Cue, Dr Jensen’s bio. With a PhD in Materials Science and Physics and his home page listing a “defence of science”, it was looking good. Then I found he’s not accepting the science on climate change. Ah yes, now I remember. Also found he is against marriage equality and now I’ve read his maiden speech.

    Come on Libs, I’m left leaning but I’m not anti conservative. Give me something. Give me someone. I don’t have to agree with everything you say, but jeez louise……

  20. Rob031

    Here is a link to an excellent article about Right-Wing Authoritarianism and how it applies to the conservative side of politics – especially Abbott and Co.
    At All Costs: The Dark Psychology Of Abbott Government Climate Policy
    By Lissa Johnson. In a fitting irony, Tony Abbott is beginning 2015 amid a rapidly changing political climate. Dr Lissa Johnson explores the pyschology behind the party and its policies.


  21. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    A double dissolution is what this country requires – and failure to get budget legislation through the Senate would give the coalition a face-saving way of sorting matters out to dump the Abominable Tony..

  22. eli nes

    The rabbott’s liar liar pants are still full of smouldering coals.
    Someone told the labor leader that a little blowing, or even a surreptitious puff, and the pants will burst into flames.
    Sadly, Shorten burned his lips on the rabbott bandwagon’s exhaust pipe.
    However, as it was on ABC 24, nobody saw it(even the presenters were napping)

  23. Ricardo29

    The right wing commentariat still peddling the line of ignorant voters not understanding economics need to do some of the reading we are getting via AIMN and other sources. I think we are seeing (Greece, Spain, Vic and Qld, and even in my own NT) the beginning of the end of Friedmanite economics. People are waking up to the fact that those who govern for the 1% do not have our interests at heart, they only want us to make the wealthy wealthier. I wonder how often the RWC to be told we don’t like our resources being not only given away to OS companies, but also subsidising them, we don’t want our public entities sold to mates, or again OS companies. The NT conservative government, the worst in my 43 years up here, has just had a farcical coup attempt. A number of local issues but Adam Giles pushing through, against fierce public opposition, of the sale of the Territory Insurance Office, must be a major factor.

  24. M-R

    It’s worrying that Malcolm will be received enthusiastically.
    I don’t see how he can possibly take the baton without repudiating most of what he’s said and done during the life of this guvmint; and if he manages to, it can only show him as a two-faced liar.
    Remind you of anyone …?

  25. Ross

    It will make no difference when Tones is knifed. The conservative policies that are so on the nose with the public is their reason for being. Austerity, privatisation and destroying the welfare state are fundamental. They can’t and won’t change. The world has moved on and they are stuck behind in their ideological mire.

  26. Kyran

    It seems to me there are parallel discussions going on. The ineptitude of the MSM was well displayed at the press club when a mind numbing ramble went largely unchecked by those present. By allowing inaccurate and incorrect statements to stand without question is, surely, to allow the lies to be considered, however vaguely, as facts. Only one “reporter” had a question reminding the pm of the many previous instances where he had assured everyone “he was now listening” and asked “why would we believe you this time?” As far as I can tell, the pm did not respond. Since then, the MSM has become engulfed in speculation about his tenure (clearly fed by disgruntled mp’s). The parallel discussion, well encapsulated by Mars08, is that it’s not the salesman, it’s the product. Juggling the leader, whilst amusing, does not change the policy agenda.
    Robb was on the radio this morning and, whilst acknowledging there were “tensions”, kept going with the current line about them not selling the message well. The obvious implication being that we, the people, were too stupid to understand why they had to do what they were doing. Fayne feigned intelligence but failed to challenge him, failed to state the obvious or ask the obvious. Once again, complicit in the deception, that the LNP were simply born to rule and not subject to question.
    Labor now has three states and an opportunity to develop policy at state level. If Queensland were to trial an ETS and focus on a green economy, with particular regard to the Reef and its very obvious conflict with mining, they could well get international economic opportunity. Victoria will hold a commission into domestic violence which, if unrestricted, will have to include the legal, social and commercial spheres. It encompasses, at the most basic levels, the role of drugs (including alcohol) in society, early education (which, I believe, is the only way anyone can achieve a “cultural” shift), a review of legal responses and, most importantly, the empowerment of those suffering this abuse through the opportunity to address effective policy pre and post abuse. An economist in Victoria released a “costing” of child abuse this morning stating there are potentially 5 million victims with an attendant cost of $9 billion. This commission has the possibility of shifting the argument in so many social policy areas from “victim blaming” to “problem identifying”. South Australia yesterday revealed a new health policy which, I gather, is attempting to address the perennial problem of distance. How do they provide the same medical facilities to all of their occupants when communities can be very small and a medical practice is not economically viable? That state could well be the catalyst for E-health and NBN development.
    I have read many posters comments lamenting the absence of ALP policy at a federal level. What a great opportunity to start, at state level, and develop policy on a consultative basis with those actually involved in the problem areas. Not another series of expert panels occupied by vested interests. At the risk of pre-empting Mr Boreus, all of these states need an ICAC/CMC and, politically, there would be no better time to introduce them than right now. This could force federal Labor to adopt a similar approach.
    Thank you for the article Mr Kelly. Take care

  27. Rob031

    The Daily Telegraph have been conducting a readership poll. As at 12:37 (4/4/15) the results are as follows:
    Tony Abbott 14.14% (5,765 votes)
    Malcolm Turnbull 37.84% (15,428 votes)
    Julie Bishop 17.47% (7,125 votes)
    Scott Morrison 2.80% (1,143 votes)
    Bill Shorten 16.65% (6,788 votes)
    Somebody else 11.10% (4,526 votes)
    Total Votes: 40,775

    Also, it appears that ABC Julia Baird (@bairdjulia) has tweeted:
    BREAKING: Two federal Liberal MPs have just confirmed to me that Malcolm Turnbull has called to ask if they will vote for him as leader.

  28. stephentardrew

    Great post Kyran.

  29. stuff me

    You have down to a T Ross!

  30. Florence nee Fedup

    If Abbott is so sure his government is behind him all the way, do the right thing, as many have done before him, call a spill on. He might be listening, but he is sure not hearing. Under the Westminster system, which I believe our parliament still operates under, it is not unusual for PM to be challenge. This is the way it should. As Howard said, if one loses the confidence of those in your government, you should go.

    They say there are about 30 that want a spill. That does not mean, they would still not vote for Abbott if one occurred. Some could see a spill as a mechanism to strengthen Abbott’s position.

    One thing that has not been mentioned against this government over the last few days, is the way they try to keep all secret. Along with the way the mug all from making any criticism of the government. I for one, find dissent within the PS, NGO and government itself healthy. There is no group of humans on this earth that are in full agreement on everything. Abbott muzzling his back benchers from speaking out, must be frustrating for them.

  31. David

    Since Uhlmann has been appointed head of Political News for the ABC, there seems to be a further reluctance by journalists and CA reporters to go in hard on the Govt. Fayne is one who has become more soft in his appraoch.Perhaps the new climate of threats of losing jobs is still in the air.

  32. Anon E Mouse

    It is not just Abbott that is the problem – the fact that they told outright lies to get into power is unforgiveable.

    Who is going to replace Abbott when you consider Hockey’s arrogance and his nasty vindictive budget, Pyne the Grub’s education policies, Morrison’s inhumanity towards asylum seekers etc…?

    The 2 main contenders Bishop and Turnbul both have form for their nastiness and incompetence.

    Bishop and her callous attitude towards people dying from asbestos caused disease, her hypocricy etc… (oh and she is an unmarried childless woman because that is a bad thing according to the libs apparently).

    Turnbull also has history, dating back to FAI and more recently his utegate idiocy, but most outstanding is his Fraudband fiasco. Turnbull has been outed as incompetent by his handling of the NBN/Fraudband.

    I just hope Abbott doesn’t make a ‘captains call’ and take us to an election before Labor, Greens etc are ready. As explained before, I am worried that Shorten has not stepped up to the mark and Labor is vulnerable if he calls a snap election.

  33. Blanik

    Yes Anon, Shorten is taking some very strange advice.

  34. totaram

    A change of leaders after much speculation and denial would be good. Would show how hypocritical they are for pointing this out as “dysfunctional govt.” when actually things were proceeding well. Also would focus the ALP a bit more instead of “allowing the enemy to make mistakes without being interrupted”. We look upon these developments with great interest and applaud the thickening of the plot. Yoohoo!

    Forgot to add: this joker, who has a Ph.D. in Materials Science, now thinks he knows more than all the climate scientists. Why did he stop being a scientist? Did he get kicked out for being incompetent in his work as a scientist? Needs to be investigated.

  35. Poss

    Ahh Roscoe yes that just about sums it up.

  36. Pingback: First Cracks Appearing | THE VIEW FROM MY GARDEN

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