Abbott Survives Leadership Challenge

Abbott Survives Leadership ChallengeAbbott Survives Leadership Challenge

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged an end to disunity after surviving a party confidence vote on his leadership. Liberal Party MPs voted by 61 to 39 not to open up his position to challengers.

The leadership test, initiated by a backbencher on Friday, came after a series of policy mis-steps by Abbott that saw his popularity tumble. But the prime minister said the issue had now been settled, stating “the matter is behind us,” BBC wrote.

“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,” he said.

“So the focus now is once more on jobs, families, a stronger economy and a secure nation.”

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull had been seen as a likely leadership challenger if the vote passed, but in the end more party lawmakers rallied round the prime minister.

In a subsequent press conference, Abbott accepted that recent weeks had been difficult.

“We have looked over the precipice and we have decided not to go down the Labor Party path of a damaged, divided and dysfunctional government which votes no confidence in itself,” he said.

He promised to hold regular meetings with chairs of backbench committees and admitted that last year’s budget - which proved highly unpopular with voters - was too much, too soon.