In an close finish, Tony Abbott has been elected leader of the Liberal Party after a 42 to 41 vote, defeating former leader Malcolm Turnbull. MP Fran Bailey was unable to vote due to medical advice preventing her from travelling to Canberra, and party rules disallowing a proxy.
This morning the party voted in favour of a spill, the term to describe the vacating of a leadership position and the voting process that ensues.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, also in the running, was eliminated in the first round of voting, leaving Abbott and Turnbull to contest the leadership.
Abbott said he was “humbled and daunted” by the role and the future of the Liberal Party, adding that the possibility of an early election would be “a tough fight”.
“I can promise a contest, it will be a good contest, it will be a clean contest,” he said. “Political parties don’t work when people just announce what they’re doing and expect everyone else to follow.”