Speaking at a press conference on Friday afternoon, soon-to-be-former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull didn’t hesitate to call out those he thought were to blame for his axing.
After three key cabinet ministers abandoned him, Turnbull blamed “bullies” for undermining his leadership.
“What began as a minority has, by a process of intimidation, you know, persuaded people that the only way to stop the insurgency is to give in to it,” Turnbull said.
However, the results of Friday's party room ballots suggest the "insurgency" was only partly successful. Although a majority of MPs voted to spill the leadership, Peter Dutton – the preferred candidate of the Liberal Party's right wing, and Turnbull's challenger on Tuesday – lost the leadership vote.
Ironically, the three ministers who pulled their support on the basis that they thought Turnbull had lost the support of the party room – Mathias Cormann, Michaelia Cash and Mitch Fifeld – would prove decisive in the eventual vote. This afternoon’s spill motion vacating the Liberal leadership was only carried 45-40, and would have failed if the three hadn’t switched their votes. This raises a question about whether opposition to Turnbull had been inflated earlier in the week.
Jones – who this week used the n-word live on air – and Hadley have certainly been critical of Turnbull, and appeared to favour Dutton.
Nine News political editor Chris Uhlmann was more explicit yesterday as he pointed the finger at journalists for campaigning against Turnbull and being “players” in politics, in an appearance on Nine’s Today Show.
Uhlmann received support from other senior journalists, including the ABC’s Leigh Sales and Laura Tingle.
But journalists working at the institutions Uhlmann singled out have publicly denied his claims.
Others have also blamed the media for this week's events.
A former editor in chief of News Corp’s The Herald Sun speculated that Rupert Murdoch was directly involved in this week’s events, and that it was no coincidence that Turnbull was pushed out within a fortnight of Murdoch’s annual visit to Australia.
So what now?
Although Malcolm Turnbull has resigned as prime minister, Scott Morrison triumphed over Dutton in the leadership vote.
The early indications are that Morrison may be given a honeymoon period. On his blog Bolt wrote that he was "sceptical" but would "judge Morrison by policy and performance".
Speaking this afternoon on Sky, commentator Paul Murray advised people to take "a deep breath".
"The change has happened, the change has happened," he said.
Hannah Ryan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Hannah Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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