The Abbott Knifing

The hatred between Abbott and Turnbull goes back a long way; back to the original knifing of Malcolm when he was opposition leader and Abbott took the leadership in a coup in December 2009 . This was because of Malcolm’s support for an emissions trading scheme put forward by the PM Kevin Rudd. This was a victory for the Climate Sceptics in the LNP and the fallout continues to this day (2019 and beyond). 

Abbott went on to win the 2013 election and Turnbull was appointed the Minister for communications, or as I like to say – the Minister for ruining the NBN. He did a good job at that. Turnbull played a good game but the hatred for Abbott was always just below the surface. His chance for revenge came on September 14th 2015 (my birthday!). Citing consistently poor opinion polling for the government, Turnbull resigned from the Cabinet on 14 September 2015 and challenged challenged Abbott, reclaiming the leadership of the Liberal Party by ten votes.

He famously said: “We have lost 30 Newspolls in a row. It is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott’s leadership”. That quote came back to bite Turnbull.

Abbott was magnanimous in defeat stating – ‘There will be no wrecking, no undermining, and no sniping’. He clearly hadn’t lost his sense of humour.

Turnbull got 54 votes and Abbott 44 and became the new PM. Abbott was PM for just one year and 361 days.

This wasn’t the first challenge Abbott faced. Back in February of the same year a spill was called by backbench MP’s. There was no challenger, just an empty chair and Abbott won 61 votes to 39. That means there was 39 MP’s who preferred an empty chair to Abbott. He described the spill as a “near death experience” then went on to say  “Good government starts today,” to howls of laughter from the public. Good timeline of the chair spill here.

Further reading:

How Turnbull staged a coup:

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