Look, don’t be embarrassed if this whole spill crap is over your head. You’re not alone. The media likes to think that everyone sits around discussing politics all day every day (wait, you don’t? You mean you have a life? A job? Family? But why aren’t you reading every paper, cover-to-cover before you have your breakfast!?) but most people don’t know how a lot of this stuff works.
So, the Liberal party is not all BFF and BAEs at the moment. They’re a bit STFU to each other and it’s not nice. Here’s a pretty extensive breakdown of what has been going on.
What’s a spill?
A spill is when the party votes for its leader. Remembering that when you vote at an election, you don’t actually vote for the Prime Minister. You vote for your local MP and whichever party gets the most MPs elected, is the ruling Government. The party chooses their leader.
What will go down this morning?
The Liberal party will all get together in Canberra this morning to have an oh-so casual and not-at-all-awkward team meeting.
We can assume PM Tony Abbott will kick it off with a few choice words about loyalty and disunity and how they’re all acting like a bunch of mugs and how embarrassing it is to be echoing the tactics of the Labor Party yada yada yada. It will take about 60 seconds and he will accept no questions from the audience. He doesn’t like to be questioned. Or looked directly in the eye.
This chat will have no effect because random WA backbencher Luke Simpkins has already made his big announcement to the media that he will call for a spill.
Luke Simpkins: “I think we should spill this leadership”
Don Randall (second random WA backbencher): “I second this”
Tony Abbott: “You fucking little rats”
So then the party will all secretly vote on whether to vote for a new leader – yeah, that’s right – the first vote will be about whether they should vote at all. And they could vote against the vote, which would mean no spill.
Party: “Shut the FUCK up Simpkins, you little twat, and stop trying to get your name in the papers. No one wants this right now. Valentine’s Day is on Saturday for Christ’s sake. We’ve ordered cupcakes. Don’t make this weird.”
Of course, the party might be a bit jazzed to see how this will go down, and could vote for the vote.
They could also vote to spill the positions of Treasurer, Deputy PM and so on. There could be a few jobs lost today.
If the party votes to vote, the leadership positions become immediately vacant and anyone who wants the gig needs to step up, put their hand up and sell themselves to the room.
In a move that will shock absolutely no one, Communications Minister and ex-Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull will stand up – because pretty much everyone wants him to be PM, duh. It’s also looking likely Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will put her hand up because she’s kinda popular and extremely not embarrassing to the nation. Social Service Minister (former Immigration Minister) Scott Morrison could also nominate himself, which would be embarrassing for him because no one wants him to be Prime Minister. Sit down Scott. It’s not going to happen today buddy.
Oh, and Tony Abbott. He’ll have to put his hand up and beg for the job too. #Democracy #auspol
Then the whole party has a secret ballot. I’ve often wondered how this goes down. Does someone tear pages out of their exercise book and hand them out to everyone? Do they all hide in various corners and under chairs and scribble on their scraps of paper, hand covering their work so their neighbour can’t see? I like to think so.
Then the Government Whip (the dude who takes roll call and collects your sick notes) will tally up the votes. There are 102 members and so the hopeful PM will need 52 votes to win. The Whip will then announce to the party who is their new (or old) leader.
He’ll then waddle out into a seething mass of feral media who’ve been waiting all morning for the announcement and live commentating with absolutely no information.
Done and dusted.
P.S For the record: Laurie Oakes says Abbott will stay PM. So, that’s pretty much what’s going to happen. Because if you didn’t know by now, Laurie Oakes actually runs the country.
After the Spill Update:
#anticlimax after all. The first vote was to have no vote. No spill. Tony Abbott remains PM with no vote taken for any other contenders. Now we all go back to pretending the Liberal party is totally united and happy and love each other. Unless of course you are a political journalist, in which case you start frantically working on finding new “sources” who will leak secrets about the plans for the next spill. #inevitable
Are you a political nerd or do you not give one crap? Are the spill shenanigans seriously pissing you off, or are you keen for a change?
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