The federal Liberal Party has released new rules for its parliamentarians aimed at limiting the opportunities for the type of leadership spills seen in recent years.
Finance Minister Senator Matthias Cormann, the numbers man for Queensland frontbencher Peter Dutton in the August knifing of Malcolm Turnbull, fronted a news conference (pictured) to explain the new rules.
“It is with a heavy heart I went to see Prime Minister Scott Morrison this morning to say I believed the changes will mean greater stability in our parliamentary party,” Senator Cormann said.
“It’s basic mathematics. It is much harder to get two-thirds of MPs to support a spill because that clearly means the other four-thirds of the party room do not favour a spill.
“To put it simply, trying to get two-thirds or 85% of MPs on side to support a spill is a big task and would only be achieved by securing the other 45% favouring not making a change by voting against it.”
Mr Cormann refused to speculate on whether the new rules would have saved Mr Turnbull’s leadership.
“Well, we had the old rules back then that meant a challenge could be mounted with just a simple majority, or 27% plus three of the party room,” he said.
Mr Cormann also would not discuss how the rules might have affected former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s prospects in the August spill.
“Well she was nominated along with both Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison, so she already had two turds of the party room against her,” he said.
Senator Cormann then left the media interview room, forgetting to take with him his rather large 19th Century wooden-framed Belgian abacus which appeared to be missing some rows and beads.