Having survived a leadership spill motion, which he likened to a “near death experience”, Australian PM Tony Abbott on Monday called for unity and pleaded his party members to place trust in him as he promised more consultative approach.
After 61 Liberal Party members voted in favour of him in the spill motion, an apparently relieved Abbott declared “this matter is behind us”.
Besides seeking his own Party MPs support to his leadership, the PM also promised the Australian electorate that the “focus now is once more on jobs, families, a stronger economy and a secure nation”.
“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,” the PM said in a statement.
The leadership spill motion, that was moved by West Australian MP Luke Simpkins, was clearly defeated as MPs voted 61 to 39.
The no-confidence vote was a result of a slew of missteps by the PM, that also saw his leadership ratings plummet in recent weeks.
One of the moves that invited a lot of backlash was his decision to confer knighthood to Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Phillip, that too on Australia’s National Day.
Though the PM might have heaved a sigh of relief after surviving the vote, the fact that 39 backbencher voted against his leadership must come to him as a strong warning.
Western Australian Liberal Luke Simpkins, who initiated the spill motion, said that the vote would serve to be a “wake up call” for the PM as he has agreed to better consult the electorate, backbenchers and his ministers.
“Getting 39 votes is a powerful statement..This has been a good wake up call, the PM has taken on our concerns and he should be given that opportunity to move forward,” Xinhua quoted him as saying.