Abbott sacks Philip Ruddock

Tony Abbott has sacked Philip Ruddock, father of the house and government whip.

Veteran Liberal MP Philip Ruddock has been sacked as chief government whip in the wake of the failed leadership spill motion, a move one MP likened to the start of “the night of the long knives”.

Mr Ruddock, who is currently the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, will be replaced by Queensland MP Scott Buchholz.

Tasmanian MP Andrew Nikolic, a prominent supporter of the Prime Minister, will also be promoted to a whip position.

Some senior ministers hold Mr Ruddock partly to blame [for the narrow loss of the leadership spill], saying one of his roles should have been to rally support for the leader.

But others believe his job is to act as a sounding board for the backbench and to pass on MPs’ concerns to Mr Abbott.

They say if that had happened, the Prime Minister would have been forewarned disquiet was building in his ranks.

After the spill Mungo MacCallum wrote Call this professional politics? Then give me amateurs. Imagine his column next week!

At The Guardian:

“It seems that someone has to be blamed for the fact that they can’t count,” one Liberal told Guardian Australia. “This is shabby treatment. What is he supposed to have done wrong?

“And he shows he has the guts to sack Ruddock, but not the guts to sack [the prime minister’s chief of staff, Peta] Credlin.”

After surviving Monday’s spill, Abbott promised there would be no repercussions, saying: “I’m not into retribution. We have been an outstanding team.”

Abbott is as good as his word, and you can see how good that is!

Ruddock was first elected in 1973, that’s 42 years ago.

Elsewhere Adrian Beaumont tells us five polls released in the last week have Labor well in front, and Abbott’s approval rating continues to dive:


13 thoughts on “Abbott sacks Philip Ruddock”

  1. Although Abbott may have been angry at Ruddock for not supporting him in The Great Spill, the decision to dump Ruddock as chief whip probably was not Abbott’s.

    A pattern is emerging with all these Captain’s Calls.

    I suggest that these are merely opportunities for powerful people outside the Parliament to exercise their influence and satisfy their whims. If this is so, Abbott is no better than a pompous message-boy and not a STRONG ™ leader after all.

  2. Graham B can you put some flesh on those bones?

    It seems quite odd that Abbott would sack Ruddock just like that and so quickly after the so-called spill. Maybe Ruddock refused to guarantee his support for Abbott.

    I suppose Ruddock has little to lose at this stage. After 42 years in government he has to be ready to call it quits. Poor guy looks mummified already, so to tell Abbott some truths might come easily to him. I smell a by-election.

  3. Ruddock won’t resign yet. He has to serve until September to pass Earle Page and become the second longest-serving parliamentarian ever.

  4. Geoff H. @2. Strange indeed.

    Knighthood for Phil the Greek was the one that attracted clamour – but what about the submarines? Or some of the politically-suicidal Bludget decisions that seem to have come from elsewhere than consultation with his fellow Parliamentarians.

  5. Maybe the new whip cracker from Qld would be better than Ruddock. I am in no position to judge Ruddock’s performance.
    Having said that, it seems a bit strange to get rid of Ruddock when there are people untouched like Hockey, Abbott , Gorman, Morrison and Pyne who really are dragging down government support.

  6. Abbott could have given Ruddock a Knighthood and the ABCs condemnation would have been the same.
    Abbott could cure all cancer and Mungo would call him a misogynist on the ground that cancer kills more men than women.
    With the Nations most penetrating and influential media organisation out to crush him from day dot, no wonder his polls are terrible.

  7. KN: Part of Abbott’s problem now is the media let him get away with far too much while he was opposition leader. He still thinks that all he needs is a few good slogans and the scrutiny will go away.

  8. John D @5: The LNP – and federal Labor, too – is in desperate need of fresh blood. That could have been done quite easily and painlessly by making Ruddock the Chief Whip Emeritus or the August Senior of the Parliament. Look at how Lee Kwan Yew morphed into Senior Minister after he handed over the actual running of Singapore to his successor. It can be done.

    I’m wondering who Philip Ruddock upset OUTSIDE the Parliament.

    Although Abbott probably couldn’t lie straight in bed and hypocrisy does come quite naturally to some politicians – I suspect Abbott did have a touch of real regards for his colleague, Ruddock. Stretching my assumptions further, Abbott may well have told Ruddock, behind closed doors, of course “Sorry, old mate, it hurts me to do this but orders are orders”.

    Geoff H. @2 is probably right about a by-election but so too is John @ 3 so we mightn’t get a by-election until after September. Such a by-election would be an excellent proving ground for all the new weaponry to be used in the subsequent general election. That by-election, when it happens, will be a real bobby-dazzler.

  9. Tony Abbott is a strange political leader, who appears to lack political judgement and skill.

    Would not the normal script be something like”: “Listen Phil, no worries I am not going to gong you with one of my knighthood like I did for Phil, the Greek, I do get the impression though, you are not enjoying the job as Chief Whip. Fair enough. We can line up a good for you that you will enjoy. I ask you as a personal favour to step aside. Of course, this will be of your own volition. We have your back mate. Your decision does not have to be immediate. In fact it better if it wasn’t”.

    This might not be the way people talk among themselves in the rarefied Canberra political atmosphere. Instead Tony is seen to be vengeful, controlling and as a someone who never accepts personal responsibility. It is not clear that this government could manage the proverbial chook raffle in the pub. Responsibility falls on the Prime Minister. This political reality will have to addressed, sooner rather than later

  10. Abbott has learnt nothing since his student politician days. He’s using the skills he used in the SRC ’cause they’re the only ones he’s got.
    Tis pity he’s a PM.

  11. Unless I missed something I can’t see Ruddock resigning before the next election, although it would be sweet revenge on Abbott if he did!

  12. Brian after 42 years in Parliament Ruddock has probably seen damn near all there is to see. If I channel Mr Ruddock I’m leaning towards an FU response. Of course, Abbott might have a knighthood for on the table… you have to admit, “Sir Phillip” has a certain echo.

    Off topic but Gina Rinehart has somehow managed yet more privilege by getting the Supreme Court to open up for her on a Saturday, thus garnering a private viewing of the next episode of the Hancock Dynasty or whatever it is. I don’t believe that her sensitivities justify opening up the Court on a weekend.
    Another view is that she has played right into the hands of Nine – Rinehart’s antics surely will snare an enlarged audience. And may even provoke a more incisive documentary based on fact/public record.

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