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2008 Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill

  (Redirected from Liberal Party of Australia leadership election, 2008)

A spill of the leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia took place on 15 September 2008.[1] At a ballot on 16 September, Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull defeated the incumbent leader Brendan Nelson 45 votes to 41.[2]

Liberal Party of Australia
Leadership spill, 2008
← 2007 16 September 2008 2009 →
  Turnbull.JPG BrendanNelson.JPG
Candidate Malcolm Turnbull Brendan Nelson
Caucus vote 45 41
Percentage 52.3% 47.7%

Leader before election

Brendan Nelson

Elected Leader

Malcolm Turnbull



The Liberal-National coalition led by Prime Minister John Howard was defeated at the 2007 federal election by the Australian Labor Party led by Kevin Rudd. In the aftermath, Brendan Nelson was elected leader in an ensuing ballot, in a 45-42 vote against former Minister for the Environment, Malcolm Turnbull.

Nelson's leadership came under intense pressure throughout 2008. Newspoll polling in February 2008 set a record low "Preferred Prime Minister" rating for any opposition leader at 9 percent, with March polling setting another record of 7 percent, with two party preferred setting another Newspoll record at 37-63 percent.[3] In response to increased speculation about his leadership Nelson commented in April that he "will keep fighting and standing up for everyday Australians."[4]

Support for Nelson as leader within the Liberal Party had all but collapsed by the end of July 2008, in part due to repeated gaffes on emissions trading and climate change. Expected to challenge him was either Peter Costello or Malcolm Turnbull, upon the release of Costello's book, The Costello Memoirs.[5][6] Costello stated he would not be making any move for the Liberal leadership,[7] but media outlets capitalised on Costello's failure to categorically rule out any future leadership challenge.[8] Some MPs said he "still remained ready to assume the leadership later in the electoral cycle".[9]


Candidate Votes
Malcolm Turnbull 45
Brendan Nelson 41

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Leadership spill: Nelson draws 'line in the sand'". 15 September 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Turnbull victorious in leadership spill". ABC Online. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  3. ^ "Brendan Nelson and Liberal-Nationals Coalition hit all-time low in Newspoll". The Australian. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  4. ^ Lahey, Kate (12 April 2008). "Nelson vows to stay on as Liberal leader". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Brendan Nelson's leadership is hanging by a thread". Herald Sun. 2 August 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  6. ^ O'malley, Sandra (2 September 2008). "Libs meet amid leadership speculation". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Costello clears the air over Liberal leadership". ABC Online. 11 September 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Costello may still harbour dream of being PM". The Age. Melbourne. 12 September 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  9. ^ "Nelson to Turnbull: bring it on". Canberra Times. 16 September 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2010.