Leadership change ‘a resounding message’

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Liberal Party candidate for Hume Angus Taylor. Photo suppliedHUME MP Angus Taylor says the Liberal Party’s change of leaders is “a resounding message … about the Coalition’s determination to defeat Labor at the next Federal election”.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Taylor said the Liberals would unite behind Malcolm Turnbull both as leader and new Prime Minister.

“I have a firm policy about not commenting on party room matters,” Mr Taylor said in a written statement.

“But I acknowledge there is a range of views about the leadership change.

“I urge all supporters to unite behind the clear aim of securing an emphatic win at the next election and continuing to rebuild the nation.”

By a vote of 54 to 44, Mr Turnbull took the Liberal leadership from Tony Abbott on Monday night.

Mr Turnbull’s running mate, Julie Bishop, retained the deputy leadership by a vote of 70 to 30, defeating Mr Abbott’s offsider, Kevin Andrews.

Of a possible 102 votes, three ministers were absent from the leader’s ballot and one vote was informal; one minister arrived to join the deputy’s ballot, in which no informal votes were cast.

On becoming Prime Minister-designate, Mr Turnbull said he would be a more consultative party leader.

“To be a successful leader, you have to bring people with you by respecting their intelligence,” Mr Turnbull said.

Former federal Liberal leader John Hewson said Mr Abbott had lost the trust of the Australian people, “but I think politics generally has lost the trust of the Australian people.”

Speaking before the ballot as a guest on ABC’s Q&A panel, Mr Hewson said both sides of politics today were “on the nose, as far as the electorate is concerned”.

“You’re forced to make a choice between the lesser of two evils. When you’ve made your choice, you have to live with the evil of two lessers,” Mr Hewson said.

Calling on first-hand experience of another forced leadership ballot, Mr Hewson described a spill as a “pretty disarming and destroying process”.

“In the end you’ve got to respect the decision of your colleagues … If you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern your country. Disunity is death in politics.”

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