Tony Abbott the Australian Prime Minister has been asked to step down by two senior ministers, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Turnball announced his resignation, saying he was declaring a challenge to Abbott for the Liberal party leadership.
#BREAKING Australian minister Malcolm Turnbull declares challenge to PM Tony Abbott
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) September 14, 2015
“A little while ago I met with the prime minister and advised him that I would be challenging him for the leadership of the Liberal party,” Turnbull told reporters. “This is not a decision that anyone could take lightly.”
Turnball has also called a news conference on Monday at Parliament House in Canberra, the Australian capital.
RT reports: Turnbull said that if Abbott tried to continue as Australia’s prime minister, “it is clear enough” what will happen. “He will cease to be prime minister and he’ll be succeeded by Mr [Bill] Shorten [the leader of the Australian Labor Party and leader of the opposition].”
Later Abbott told reporters that there would be a ballot tonight where he will be a candidate.
“And I expect to win….You can trust me to deliver a stronger economy and a safer community,” he said. “Australia needs strong government and that means avoiding at all costs Labor’s revolving-door prime ministership.”
Earlier in the day, Abbott dismissed speculation about his position as leader at a media event in South Australia.”I just am not going to get caught up in Canberra gossip, I’m not going to play Canberra games,” Abbott said. “I’m just not going to chase all of these rabbits down all of the burrows that you are inviting me to go down, I’m just not going to play the Canberra games.”
Turnbull, 60, led the Liberal Party until 2009, when he was defeated in a leadership vote by Abbott.
Abbott has called in his supporters for a meeting in a Liberal party room in the parliament building, Australian media reports.