PM puts on a confident face amid leadership speculation

by admin on September 30th, 2019

filed under 苏州半永久

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

It’s too early to say whether Prime Minister Tony Abbott has succeeded in staving off a leadership challenge following his speech to the National Press Club aimed at resetting his government’s agenda and convincing his colleagues he’s the right man for the job.


The speech on Monday has met with mixed reaction from within the Coalition ranks with some suggesting that more time is needed before axing a first term PM.

Mr Abbott is playing down reports about the leadership intentions of his deputy Julie Bishop and has refused to say if she has promised not to challenge him.

But as Amanda Cavill reports the speculation about Ms Bishop is another blow to the PM’s leadership, which has been battered by the disastrous Queensland election and the Prince Philip knighthood.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

Mr Abbott has sidestepped questions over whether deputy Julie Bishop refused to give him a commitment she would not challenge for the leadership.

It’s being reported Mr Abbott made the request of Ms Bishop at a meeting between the pair in Sydney on Sunday.

But he’s refused to answer direct questions about the issue.

“What I am determined to do is give Australia back the certainty and stability that people crave. People want a Government which is focused on doing the right thing by them, not focused on itself. Are are you prepared to call a spill -No. Have you sought assurance from Julie Bishop that she won’t challenge you? Look Julie and I have lots of talks, we’re friends, we’re colleagues, we are part of the leadership team and we support each other.”

All eyes are on the trio of the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.

All three say they don’t support those backbenchers who claim to be acting on their behalf.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says he knows Mr Turnbull is not planning a challenge, and while he isn’t aware if Mr Abbott has held talks with the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ms Bishop should also rule out a challenge for the sake of stability.

“I can’t confirm that. I wasn’t at the dinner. I was in Queensland working on the state election. The reality is though we need a strong focused approach at the beginning of this year. We need to get on with government and talk about leadership is a distraction that needs to be put to Bed. So I’d call on both Malcolm, who I know is not planning any leadership challenge because he gave me that assurance but I also call on Julie Bishop to make that assurance.”

Treasurer Joe Hockey says Mr Abbott will lead the Coalition to the next election.

Mr Hockey has dismissed as gossip the reported account of Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop’s meeting, while suggesting his colleagues should end their leadership chatter.

“There is no good that can come from having constant change in leadership when Australians want us to focus on what’s good for them, rather than what’s good for ourselves.”

The opposition says changing leader wouldn’t help the government’s position.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen says the real question is whether the Liberal Party realises that its problem is not only the leadership but its policies.

“Would Julie Bishop drop the plan for $100,000 university degrees? Would Mal Brough drop the charge to go to the doctor? Would Malcolm Turnbull drop the cuts to the ABC and SBS? The Australian people are rejecting this Government partly because of their leader but more importantly because of their policies. Well, this leadership de stabilisation and speculation continues to have an effect on the Australian economy and on confidence.”

Mr Abbott is meeting with his cabinet and wider ministry in Canberra this week to discuss the government’s agenda and priorities for the year.

His colleagues are expected to air their concerns about his standing.

But Mr Abbott has played down the gathering as a standard, start of year, cabinet meeting before parliament resumes next week.










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