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Friday, November 27, 2009

News: Liberal Party Set to Split?

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Today, Labor Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsay Tanner compared the present turmoil within the Liberal party with that of the Australian Labor Party when it split in 1954.

This comparison is grounded by the spate of resignations of Coalition members from Malcolm Turnbull’s front bench after he survived a leadership spill two days ago. At present 12 members have relinquished their positions.

Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Julie Bishop today joined the large number of cries from within the party for Malcolm Turnbull to resign as leader. (This information has since been corrected by Turnbull on the ABC’s 7:30 report: 27/11/2009)

The Liberal party has been divided since Turnbull’s decision to support the Rudd Government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS). Turnbull has vigorously defended his position as leader, lashing out at those who don’t support his decision.
Former Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing Tony Abbott and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey are favourites to take the leadership of the party, however Hockey has said that he will only run if Turnbull has resigned. Hockey has frequently stated that he supports Turnbull, however recently he withdrew his support for Labor’s ETS. Abbott, one of the ministers to have quit Turnbull’s front bench, is set to challenge Turnbull on Tuesday for the party’s leadership.

The party is bitterly divided over the human contribution to global warming, with the leader of the Liberals in the Senate Nick Minchin not sharing Turnbull’s views that action needs to be taken. Minchin was one of the twelve to resign from a front bench position.

Could this be the sign of an imminent split in the party? As several members plan a second leadership spill it may not be long until we know. As it is often said a week is a long time in politics, and this weekend may not hold up either.

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