Australia Government Collapse: 13 Ministers Resign, PM Turnbull Outed

|
Posted: Aug 23, 2018 10:54 AM
Australia Government Collapse: 13 Ministers Resign, PM Turnbull Outed

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will soon be gone as key ministers resign and back his rival Peter Dutton.

Last week Turnbull survived a challenge by Peter Dutton, but Dutton made another attempt and support for Turnbull collapsed.

I received an email from an Australian reader a bit ago who said he did not expect Turnbull to survive the day and that as many as 13 government ministers resigned.

Two days ago the Guardian reported Turnbull Survives Challenge from Dutton – For Now but it seems like "for now" is over already.

How Malcolm Turnbull Lost his Grip as Prime Minister in Just 48 Hours

ABC News has a a synopsis of resignation offers in How Malcolm Turnbull Lost his Grip as Prime Minister in Just 48 Hours

Tuesday morning

The Prime Minister opens the Liberal party room meeting by calling a leadership spill, surprising most of his colleagues. Mr Dutton challenges, but the PM narrowly wins 48 votes to 35. The challenger resigns from his Cabinet position as home affairs minister. (Count 1)

Tuesday Afternoon/Evening

Frontbenchers and Dutton supporters Michael Sukkar, James McGrath, Angus Taylor, Zed Seselja, Michael Keenan, Steve Ciobo, Greg Hunt, Alan Tudge, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells offer to quit the ministry. (count 2-10)

The PM declines all resignations except Senator Fierravanti-Wells, whose highly critical resignation letter accuses the party of moving too far away from its conservative base.

Wednesday Morning

The PM insists the frontbenchers who offered to resign are back in his camp and maintains he has the support of most of his party room. Key conservative Mathias Cormann holds a press conference alongside the PM and publicly declares: "I support Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister."

Wednesday Afternoon/Evening

Senator Cormann visits the Prime Minister to tell him that five Cabinet ministers have switched support to the Dutton camp since Tuesday's meeting and advises him that "he no longer enjoyed the support of the majority of members in the Liberal Party party room".

The Finance Minister offers to resign but is rebuffed. Mr McGrath, the Assistant Minister to the PM, goes to see Mr Turnbull to insist he accept his resignation from the ministry.

Thursday Morning

Mr Sukkar and Senator Seselja (already counted) also formally resign and add their names to the petition.

Senator Cormann goes to see the PM again to reiterate what he told him on Wednesday and advise him to call a party room meeting to settle the leadership.

The senator and Cabinet ministers Mitch Fifield and Michaelia Cash hold a press conference to publicly reveal that they no longer support Mr Turnbull as Liberal leader. (Count 11-13)

That prompts a number of other ministers to quit, meaning 10 of the 11 Liberal frontbenchers who initially offered to resign have now forced the PM's hand.

Thursday Afternoon

With the make-up of the Government in flux, Christopher Pyne moves a motion to adjourn Parliament early, which is upheld.

An hour later, Mr Turnbull fronts the media and says he will only call a new party-room meeting once he sees a letter with signatures of a majority of the party room supporting Mr Dutton. He says that meeting will happen at midday on Friday if he receives the letter.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull intends to call a party room meeting at midday tomorrow, if he sees a petition with a majority of MPs supporting Peter Dutton.

This is more than a bit confusing as to the exact count but my reader friend had the total at 13. Remember that Australia is a day ahead.

What's It All About?

I smell a housing crisis and a recession but I have not seen any discussion.