Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Julie Bishop backs Malcolm Turnbull to lead at election

30 Months Later Tony Abbott Is Demanding An Explanation For His Booting By James Hennessy
Deanna Wagner | 10 April, 2018, 15:13

Malcolm Turnbull insists he won't resign at the end of the year after Barnaby Joyce said he should consider stepping down if polls don't improve by Christmas.

Tony Abbott believes Malcolm Turnbull should explain why his 30th Newspoll loss is not the same as the test he used to depose the former prime minster.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said it is possible to turn the polls around, citing the recent South Australian election.

Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said she doesn't plan on running against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull if she is asked to.

Turnbull, who led his party to a narrow win at the 2016 election, was forced to downplay the significance of the survey.

However, the PM insisted Australian voters were focused on the "real contest" between the Coalition and Labor. "The polls are about 50/50 - that's not a bad position to be in", he said.

"It's not unusual for incumbent governments in between elections being behind in the polls, I mean we're not actually that far behind, truth be told", he told ABC radio. But private sector wage growth declined by more than half between 2012 and 2017, according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, only ticking up slightly late past year.

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"What they don't want is a Shorten government", he told Sky News.

"These are the kind of structural things that are, I guess, slowly starting to bite in Australia".

"If you truly believe this is exactly the sentiment of the people, then you also have an obligation not to drive your party, or the government, off a cliff", said Joyce.

"In regards to the National party, there is nothing we dislike more than implied intervention into the party processes", Mr Joyce said at the time.

But despite the poll results, Turnbull appears to lack an immediate challenger within his party.

"I never did. I don't think that others should", Abbott told reporters in Victoria State.

But the former Deputy Prime Minister's comments have been met with criticism, after he lashed out at Mr Turnbull earlier this year in the midst of his affair scandal, claiming the PM was interfering in the National Party's leadership.