“It helped to expose the myth that the base of the Liberal Party is monolithic and all watch Sky News ‘after dark’.”
“I think tonight we can give a great example to our country, and a great example to our party, by showing that we are capable of rallying together, uniting together, and giving our country the leadership it wants.”
The request was straightforward, but some members fed up with his role in Canberra’s leadership convulsions and immovable conservative views on social issues were in no mood to comply. Shortly after his war cry, 32 per cent of members voted against endorsing his preselection. One in three preferred an empty chair to a former prime minister and Liberal leader. Abbott walked out of the RSL club a weakened figure, and facing questions over his political future.
A senior Liberal who opposed Turnbull’s toppling of Abbott in 2015 says “goading” doesn’t go close to describing the force of Abbott’s interventions: “Tony’s actions are destructive, selfish, and driven by bitterness and revenge. Unfortunately, that has proven very effective for him in the past.”