Below is Nelson’s media release on calling for a leadership spill tomorrow morning.
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
THE HON. DR BRENDAN NELSON MP
THE FEDERAL LIBERAL PARTY: MOVING TO THE NEXT PHASE
Tomorrow morning, I will be declaring the leadership of the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party vacant.
I will be a candidate.
If I am re-endorsed as leader, I will remain absolutely determined and committed to the future of our Party and Australia.
But as we move forward, I am asking our Party to draw a line in the sand and mark a transition – from the difficult aftermath of an election defeat to the building and presentation of a credible, attractive and inspiring alternative government.
In doing so, we will make a renewed commitment to unity and discipline, to focus less on internal preoccupations and more on the Rudd Government, policy and the important issues concerning everyday Australians.
Millions of Australians are counting on us – to hold the Government to account and provide Australians with a credible, attractive and inspiring alternative.
I am asking my colleagues to make a renewed commitment to do just that.
The phones will be running hot in Tory Town tonight.
Some might be tempted to think that it was the full moon responsible for the Nelson lunacy, but by calling for a leadership spill tomorrow morning, Nelson controlled the one thing, the only thing that he really had control of when it came to the inevitable challenge – he controlled the timing.
Catching everyone off guard, particularly Turnbull – having just flown in from his overseas jaunt – he has, if nothing else, at least put himself on the front foot. No one seems to know who has the numbers, there’s too many undecideds and waverers for each camp, so by pulling the trigger and going early he has forced a great big chunk of his party room to make up their mind, and make it up now. It’s high risk, but by controlling the timing of the spill Nelson has prevented Turnbull from being able to slowly build momentum in the party room over the next month or two, momentum that would have guaranteed Nelson defeat.
So Nelson at least has a fighting chance, or at least a greater chance than he would have had were he to let Turnbull control the timing. The power of the status quo, the power of leadership incumbency in the Liberal party is nothing to sneeze at – he’s hoping that it, combined with the hostility to Turnbull in some party quarters will be just enough to get him through tomorrow as the victor. Nelson’s actions look pretty sharp considering the alternatives he had available.
And Costello? After spending the last few months damaging the Liberal party with his petulance simply to promote his memoirs, he gets his book launch swept from the front pages, with column inches that would ordinarily be all about his memoirs instead turning to the fallout of a leadership spill that his actions may well have contributed to.
Sportingbet is running odds! As of 9:50pm, Nelson is on $1.70 and Turnbull’s on $2.05.
Although why Ian MacFarlane is an option at $34 is a mystery. It’s the closest he’ll ever get to being leader!