Malcolm Turnbull quits Parliament, Tony Abbott urged to resign

By @chelean on
Malcolm Turnbull and granddaughter Alice
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull holds his granddaughter Alice after a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018. Reuters/David Gray

Malcolm Turnbull officially resigned from Parliament on Friday. While his successor, Scott Turnbull, is settling into his new role, the former prime minister has stepped down from the NSW seat of Wentworth, triggering a by-election in a future date.

His resignation came as no surprise. He has sent a letter to his federal electorate earlier this week, thanking them for allowing him to serve them for years. Speaker Tony Smith is now considering possible dates for the by-election in Wentworth.

Following the Liberal spill triggered by Peter Dutton and which eventually felled him, Turnbull said it was best that he also resigned from the Parliament. Morrison, who is currently in Indonesia, wished Turnbull well, saying he deserved a good retirement after faithfully serving the country.

“Malcolm has been a dear and close friend to me for a very long period of time and he has served his country well and grandly,” Morrison said. “He’ll be well remembered, I believe, over time as a prime minister who delivered some very big things for Australia.”

He added that his exit from politics would allow him to finally leave the “madness of politics.”

“You deserve that, mate, you absolutely deserve that,” he said. “You’ve served our country well, and on behalf of our country as prime minister, I just want to say thanks.”

Meanwhile, former PM Tony Abbott, who was defeated by Turnbull in a leadership spill in 2015, has been urged to quit politics. Liberal Party statesman Michael Yabsley has called on him to leave Parliament and allow their embattled party to heal. He said Abbott has played “a very destructive role” since he was ousted from office.

“The truth is that Tony has effectively stirred the pot from the moment Malcolm Turnbull became leader,” he told Background Briefing. “I think, as a friend, the most useful thing I can say to Tony Abbott is, ‘Tony, I think it’s time to hang up the gloves and ride off into the sunset.’”

Warren Entsch, member for Leichhardt, has the same sentiment. He said Abbott’s accomplishments would be eclipsed by his role in bringing down Turnbull.

“Instead of people remembering him for all the positive things he’s done in his tenure in the Lodge, people are going to remember him as a wrecker,” he said. “He destroyed his nemesis — mission accomplished — and that’s what he’s been focused on rather than policy. I think it’s time he went out and did something else and I make no apology for that.”

Abbott recently accepted the role of special envoy for Indigenous Affairs.

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