Aussie Leader to Rivals: Show Me 43 Names, and I'll Go

Malcolm Turnbull issues defiant challenge as he fights to keep his job during party revolt
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2018 11:00 AM CDT
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull address reporters at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)

(Newser) – Australia's government is in turmoil as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull fights for his political life because of a challenge from within his own ruling party. The battle has resulted in a tense showdown: Turnbull says he's willing to step down if the majority of Liberal Party lawmakers—the magic number is 43—want him to go, but there's one big catch. He wants those 43 names to be made public before he'll allow a party vote on Friday, and so far, his rivals haven't been able to produce the names. As the AP explains, lawmakers who might otherwise vote against Turnbull in the party's secret ballot might be unwilling to sign a public petition for fear of retribution from voters. The background:

  • Why the revolt: Some dizzying semantics: Despite the name, the Liberal Party is actually conservative, though Turnbull himself is seen by his critics as too liberal on social issues, explains the Wall Street Journal. For example, main rival Peter Dutton wants to take a much harder line than Turnbull on immigration issues. In general, more Australian voters are starting to favor right-wing and populist movements, notes the Journal.

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