Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has defeated an internal challenge from members of his own party to stay in power.
Abbott, who has been PM for 16 months after general elections in September last year, was facing a leadership spill from two members of his own Liberal party who criticised his leadership after a heavy defeat at local elections in Queensland.
Abbott was also heavily criticised for awarding the Order of Australia to Prince Philip, as the knighthood is intended to honour personalities that bring honour to Australia and the monarch has hardly any link to the country besides being married to Queen Elizabeth, who is Australia’s chief of state as well as Queen of England.
The senior board of the Liberal party voted for Abbott to stay in charge 61 to 39.
BI Australia’s Paul Colgan and Peter Terlato wrote that “the vote reveals a divided partyroom which has the potential to cause ongoing leadership questions for the prime minister.”
Communication minister Malcolm Turnbull, the man most people were expecting would have taken the leadership had Abbott been ousted, did not speak with the press after the vote.
Commenting on the leadership spill, Abbott said that it was “a near death experience,” and promised to make the best of the lesson learned.
“The focus now is once more on jobs, families, a stronger economy, and a secure nation,” he said.
Here is the full statement:
The Liberal Party has dealt with the spill motion and now this matter is behind us.
We are absolutely determined to work for you the people who elected us. We want to end the disunity and the uncertainty which destroyed two Labour governments and give you the good government that you deserve.
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. So the focus now is once more on jobs, families, a stronger economy and a secure nation.
We do face many challenges. At heart, we are a highly successful country, justifiably proud of what we’ve achieved. In essence, we are a strong economy with so much creativity and dynamism the challenge for government is to work with you, not against you.
I love this country. I will do my best to help our country to succeed.
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