26 Feb 2015

Talk of new Abbott leadership challenge

9:58 pm on 26 February 2015

Pressure is reportedly building within Australia's Liberal Party to have another attempt at removing Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks after retaining the leadership of the Liberal Party. Photo: AFP

Both ministers and backbenchers have told the ABC they believe Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull now has the numbers to win a challenge and should use them.

Mr Abbott survived a move on his leadership earlier this month, when a spill motion failed 39 votes to 61.

After that party room meeting, the Prime Minister declared that "good government starts today".

However, there is now open despair in coalition ranks, even among those who supported the Prime Minister in the leadership spill, the ABC's Chris Uhlmann said.

Liberals talk of little else and worry that there will be permanent brand damage if Mr Abbott stays, he said.

As he left Parliament today, Liberal MP Rowan Ramsey was questioned about whether Mr Abbott would lead the Government to the next election.

"Who knows, I mean we are falling in behind Tony, we've had that day in the party room," he said.

"Not everybody's happy all the time but that's life."

Another backbencher, Russell Broadbent, reiterated that Mr Abbott had qualified support.

"He's been given time, the time that he's been given is - he's on a test at all times - so every Prime Minister is," he said, adding there was "no deadline".

Mr Abbott arrives in New Zealand tomorrow for a brief visit.


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