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Philip Ruddock has been stood down as chief government whip. AAP/Lukas Coch

Abbott dumps Ruddock as chief whip

Tony Abbott has sacked Chief Government Whip Philip Ruddock in a provocative move just days after holding off a motion to…
In the battles within the government between now and May, Treasurer Joe Hockey will lack the degree of authority he could deploy a year ago. AAP/Lukas Coch

Hockey on the ropes: ‘I am doing the heavy lifting for my country’

The Liberals have drawn a line under the leadership issue for the moment, but this week’s unsuccessful spill motion has changed fundamentally the dynamics within the government and the party. Malcolm Turnbull…
Unlike in Queensland, NSW Premier Mike Baird will not be able to keep Tony Abbott away from the campaign trail. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Making Abbott invisible in NSW campaign will prove difficult

The major political parties are only days away from launching their campaigns for this year’s New South Wales state election, to be held on March 28. As state political issues that don’t involve the Independent…
The cost of leaving Tony Abbott in the prime ministership is to consign the government to limbo while the Liberals wait to judge his performance. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Abbott’s attempt to regroup means new policy uncertainty

Tony Abbott is precariously perched on icy slopes – deeply unpopular both in the community and with his backbench. More slips and/or continued disastrous polling would plunge him to political death, while…
There’ll be a lot of strategic thinking going into the vote during the Liberal leadership spill. AAP

Game (theory) of thrones in the Liberal leadership spill

How might Liberal MPs vote in the upcoming leadership spill? The answer to that question is vastly more complicated than it might seem. Ostensibly, they will be voting for the best political leader amongst…
Why is it that, in recent years, federal party MPs have reached the conclusion that the only way to deal with an unpopular leader is by deposing them? AAP/Nikki Short

Liberal leadership tensions give neglected backbenchers a voice

It is difficult to pinpoint a specific reason to explain the leadership crisis presently gripping the federal Liberal Party. Why is it that Prime Minister Tony Abbott is facing a leadership spill only…
Senator Arthur Sinodinos, John Howard’s former chief of staff, is the first major figure to throw his weight behind leadership speculation. AAP/Paul Miller

Sinodinos weighs into leadership crisis with tough critique of Abbott government

In 2001, after a disastrous Queensland election result, then-Liberal federal president Shane Stone wrote his famous memo reporting that the Howard government was seen as “mean and tricky”, out of touch…
Liberal backbencher Dennis Jensen said Tony Abbott ‘is not capable of making the transition to prime minister’ from opposition. AAP/Alan Porritt

Bring on a leadership vote next week: Liberal backbencher

West Australian Liberal backbencher Dennis Jensen has urged the Liberals to hold a leadership vote next week, declaring Tony…
In the exact opposite to his election strategy, Tony Abbott has been making voters feel anxious and alarmed about his government. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Voters’ feelings of uncertainty have come back to bite Abbott

In 2012, then-opposition leader Tony Abbott gave a speech that set out his agenda for winning government and indicated the policies he intended to implement. He argued that one of his key aims was to make…
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has promised ‘the most consultative and collegial government this country has ever seen’. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Abbott tells troops: don’t panic

Tony Abbott has appealed to his Liberal colleagues to show “character” and not “give in to short-term fear and make a difficult…
Tony Abbott’s Press Club speech was merely the first of a long series of tests that he will face every day from now on. AAP/Mick Tsikas

What ails Abbott is but a symptom of disease of government today

If a single speech is regarded as a make-or-break event for an Australian prime minister, then that prime minister faces an uncomfortable future. That’s because the “make” part is a fraud. Tony Abbott…
Matthew Guy is the new leader of the Liberal Party in Victoria, but he faces battles on several fronts as the party begins a stint in opposition. AAP/Julian Smith

Getting back on track: challenges ahead for the Victorian Liberals

Matthew Guy has been chosen to lead the Liberal Party in Victoria as it returns to opposition after just one term in government. Guy, who was planning minister in the Napthine government, defeated former…
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has kept any leadership ambitions discreetly veiled. AAP/Alan Porritt

Liberals' line of succession is anybody’s guess

This week’s Ipsos Fairfax poll on preferred leaders underlines the fact that there is no obvious heir apparent to Tony Abbott. Compare a year ago, when Joe Hockey would have leapt to mind, whether the…
The government has manoeuvred itself into a position where its bluster has made it vulnerable to Clive Palmer’s bluster in the Senate. AAP/Lukas Coch

Early missteps show Abbott needs a plan B to deal with the Senate

Last week, television news presented grabs of former prime minister John Howard arriving in Canberra. It is unknown if Howard was there to share his wisdom with Coalition MPs on how to deal with minor…

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