Spill scare 'wakeup call' for PM: Entsch

Monday February 9 2015, 4:20pm

FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has said he is “confident his concerns have been heard” after today’s vote for a Liberal Party leadership spill was defeated 39?61.

“I’m quite happy with the outcome and I accept the decision of the party room,” Mr Entsch said this morning. “The Prime Minister has certainly won the day, and I look forward to us moving forward and working together in a positive manner.” 

Mr Entsch met with the Prime Minister again last night on his arrival into Canberra, and again told Mr Abbott that there needed to be “significant changes” in his leadership style.

“I have been very critical of his style of government and ‘Captain’s Pick’ policy directives,” Mr Entsch said. “I’ve had a number of conversations with him over a period of time, but at the meeting last night, facing the the events of today, I believe for the first time he actually heard what I said.

“He made a number of commitments to me, many of which he repeated today in his speech in the party room.

“He’s acknowledged that he had had a ‘near death experience’ in a political sense, he’s made mistakes and he’s determined to fix them – particularly in relation to the operation of his office and in the broader government’s participation with the back bench. 

“The Prime Minister has made those commitments, I expect him to fulfil those commitments, and on that basis I have no hesitation in supporting him.”

Mr Entsch also quashed the media?fuelled speculation around a ‘leadership conspiracy’, confirming that 100 per cent of the issues raised came from the back bench.

He added that his criticisms over recent months centred not on the leader, but on the style of government which saw a small group at the highest level making decisions on policy without consulting with their broader colleagues.

“I’m elected to give my constituency a voice in Canberra when decisions are being made. If my community is robbed of this opportunity, if I can’t stand up in the party room and talk about the impact of government decisions on people in my community, then something’s wrong.”

Mr Entsch said he also looked forward to a greater degree of interaction between backbench policy committee chairs and cabinet, particularly with the imminent release of the Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

“The White Paper is going to have a profoundly positive impact on Northern Australia.

“I need to be able to stand in front of the entire cabinet and explain to them the basis of our recommendations and to encourage them to support the direction in which we are going.

“Other than Nigel Scullion, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, there are no other ministers from Northern Australia in the cabinet so it’s vital that I have a voice to do that.”