What is he thinking?
Update 5.15pm: Tony Abbott has just held a press conference where he said he and Nick Minchin have told Malcolm Turnbull the CPRS Bill should be delayed until next year. “Malcolm was unprepared to reconsider,” Mr Abbott said. He then confirmed he would quit the shadow cabinet. “This is a very difficult decision for me.” He also said: “This isn’t a leadership issue at all, it is a policy issue.” He refused to confirm or deny there have been any discussions about a leadership challenge with his colleagues. “I don’t know what might happen in the next few days.”
Speculation is rife Tony Abbott is considering quitting the front bench in the next 24 hours, and could be preparing to make a tilt at knocking off Malcolm Turnbull from his precarious leadership perch.
What this would achieve for the Liberals, or for voters, is very unclear. While the Coalition generally only thrives under a conservative leader, it’s impossible to see how that would happen under Abbott.
Many Coalition MPs are angry with Mr Turnbull, in large part for the way he conducted the party room meeting on Tuesday. But The Punch has been told senior Liberals are trying to talk Mr Abbott out of making a move. It’s not clear if their argument is for the good of the party, or the good of Mr Abbott.
The biggest problem the Coalition would have with Abbott at the helm at an election next year would be with women voters.
Abbott has some pretty hard line views on how much control women should have over their own bodies. He’s also got a troublesome tendency to save his most vicious political fights for his female counterparts.
A lot of women will find it hard to forget Mr Abbott swearing at the now health minister Nicola Roxon when she gave him a hard time for turning up late to a debate in the last election campaign.
Just a few weeks ago in Parliament he said Julia Gillard had a “shit eating grin.” It’s not very attractive behaviour to voters.
The Libs, under Malcolm Turnbull, are in a world of trouble. An Abbott spill this week wouldn’t go any of the way towards cleaning up the mess.
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