The new political year kicked off in exactly the wrong way for conservatives – with a spill motion against the Prime Minister.
The motion failed but it took its toll in so many ways. There is no doubt the PM is chastened by the experience and has committed to changing some of the internal processes of government. If he delivers along the lines of the plan he outlined to the Party room, I am hopeful the stocks of the government will improve.
Many of you will know that I strongly voiced my support to retain the Prime Minister. I did so for several reasons.
Firstly, to support a motion to remove a sitting PM after only 16 months in office would consign the Liberal Party to the same black hole of ‘whatever it takes’ politics that has captured the ALP. It may get a quick ‘sugar fix’ in the polls but it would do enormous long-term damage to the integrity of the Liberal Party and politics in general.
Like many of you, I was also very disappointed with the non-challenge. The leadership speculation that has so damaged the government could have been shut down by some of the key players but instead was allowed to flourish. Such self-indulgence always comes at a price and frankly, the government cannot afford it.
It was also clear from the thousands of contacts I received that the Liberal Party supporter base didn't want to see a change of Prime Minister. They made it crystal clear that a move away from Tony Abbott to the mooted alternative was unacceptable and would see them desert the party in droves. I couldn't be a party to that.
I feel a deep sense of obligation to the Liberal Party, its members and to the millions of Australians who place their political faith in it. They want a party of integrity and common sense, built around the enduring values that reflect those of mainstream Australia. I have always sought to reflect those sentiments and, as a result, feel a very strong connection to the Liberal base. Their wishes were crystal clear – give the PM a chance to steady the ship of state. I am just grateful that a strong majority of the Party room chose to do exactly that.
It’s now behind us and our attention should return to reflecting the bread and butter issues that concern the Australian people. At least that’s what I’ll be trying to do