© AAP Image/Lukas Coch Malcolm Turnbull speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra this afternoon. Malcolm Turnbull has launched a leadership challenge against Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
The Government is in turmoil as the both camps count the numbers to see whether Mr Turnbull has enough support to topple Tony Abbott.
Mr Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop met with the Prime Minister to request the leadership ballot earlier today.
Mr Turnbull resigned from Cabinet and then called a snap 4pm media conference to confirm his decision.
“A little while ago I met with the Prime Minister and advised him that I would be challenging him for the leadership of the Liberal Party,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Now this is not a decision that anyone could take lightly. I have consulted with many, many colleagues, many Australians, many of our supporters in every walk of life.”
Mr Turnbull said he had been under sustained pressure to put his name forward.
“This course of action has been urged on me by many people over a long period of time.
“It is clear enough that the Government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need. It is not the fault of individual ministers.
“Ultimately, the Prime Minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs. He has not been capable of providing the economic confidence that business needs.
“Now we are living as Australians in the most exciting time. The big economic changes that we’re living through here and around the world offer enormous challenges and enormous opportunities.”
‘We need advocacy, not slogans’
Mr Turnbull identified the Prime Minister’s approach to the job as a main concern.
“We need a different style of leadership,” he said.
“We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities, explains the challenges and how to seize the opportunities.
“A style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it.
“We need advocacy, not slogans. We need to respect the intelligence of the Australian people.
“The only way we can ensure that we remain a high wage, generous social welfare net, first world society is if we have outstanding economic leadership, if we have strong business confidence.
“That is what we in the Liberal Party are bound to deliver and it’s what I am committed to deliver if the partyroom gives me their support as leader of the party.”
Just hours earlier, Mr Abbott dismissed leadership speculation during a media event in South Australia.
“I just am not going to get caught up in Canberra gossip, I’m not going to play Canberra games,” he said.
“I know that sometimes the media particularly like to play the Canberra game, but I’m not going to get involved with it.
“I’m just not going to chase all of these rabbits down all of the burrows that you are inviting me to go down, I’m just not going to play the Canberra games.”
A number of senior ministers had foreshadowed the likelihood of leadership challenge before the end of the year.
“And this time I think they will get him,” one minister said.
Mr Turnbull was opposition leader before he was unseated by Mr Abbott.
Turnbull admits timing not ideal
Mr Turnbull has acknowledged the timing of his announcement is “far from ideal”.
The Canning by-election will be held this Saturday, after the death of popular Liberal MP Don Randall.
“But regrettably, there are few occasions that are entirely ideal for tough calls and tough decisions like this,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The alternative if we were to wait and this issue, these problems were to roll on and on and on is we will get no clear air.
“We have to make a change for our country’s sake, for the Government’s sake, for the party’s sake.
“From a practical point of view a change of leadership would improve our prospects in Canning, although I’m very confident with the outstanding candidate we have that we will be successful.”
Roy throws support behind Turnbull
Queensland MP Wyatt Roy is one of the first Government MPs to show his hand, confirming he will support Mr Turnbull in a leadership challenge.
“I will be backing Malcolm Turnbull,” he told 612 ABC Brisbane.
“These are not decisions that people come to lightly but as Malcolm pointed out in his press conference, modern politics is very different to how it has been practised in the past.
“The reason I came into politics was because I wanted to change the country for the better.
Mr Roy said he wanted his Government to create meaningful reforms and the Coalition needed to communicate its message differently.
He said he would back Ms Bishop to remain as deputy but did not believe there would be a ballot for that position.