It looks increasingly likely the Prime Minister will face a leadership spill before the year is out.
By ABC Political Reporter Chris Uhlmann.
The ABC has spoken to eight ministers and six of them believe Tony Abbott will be challenged no matter what happens at the Canning by-election in Western Australia next Saturday.
“And this time I think they will get him,” one minister said.
A double-digit swing against the Liberal Party in Canning would fuel the unrest and a turnaround of that magnitude is possible; both the News Limited Galaxy poll and the Fairfax Ipsos poll point to a ten-point swing.
The Ipsos poll has the Liberal Party leading Labor with preferences distributed 52 to 48 per cent — it was 62 to 38 per cent at the 2013 general election.
“And that’s after we spent $1 million on that seat to save the Prime Minister, and Labor has spent nothing,” one Cabinet minister said.
“He said: ‘Give me six months.’ Well, he has had six months and things have gone from bad to worse.
“He should just resign.”
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told Sky News the Canning by-election would be tough, but he thought the Liberals should win well, “but not if we’re talking about ourselves”.
A third minister told the ABC, “Everybody is quite jumpy and despondent.
“That’s driven by the national polls and the fact that every poll on Canning has 10 per cent-type swings,” he said.
“And the fact that so much of the self-harm comes from the Prime Minister’s office, that so much of it is self-inflicted.”
Abbott backer admits leadership moves afoot
One ministerial supporter of the Prime Minister acknowledged there were leadership moves afoot.
“Things are very fluid but I don’t think anything will happen this week,” he said.