Mr Abbott, Mr Turnbull and Joe Hockey contested a three-way spill at a special partyroom meeting in Parliament this morning. Mr Abbott won by a single vote, 42-41.
Mr Hockey – who had been expected to win in a landslide – was eliminated in the first round of voting. That sent Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull into a head-to-head vote for the leadership.
But those deep divisions remain. Yesterday Mr Hockey was demanding a free vote to decide Coalition policy on climate change early next year, if he were to agree to take on the leadership.
That angered right-wing Liberal powerbrokers and prompted Mr Abbott to stay in the race for the top job. Turns out that was a good call.
A very good call. But the real winner is Kevin Rudd who will easily win re-election now I would say.
The vote to have a contest was 48 to 34. Then the first round ballot was Abbott 35, Turnbull 26 and Hockey 23. Turnbull almost got wiped out on the first ballot. Abbott picked up seven votes from Hockey and Turnbull picked up 15, for a final result of 42-41.
Abbott is a brawler, but hard to see him attracting widespread support to become PM.