Did Tony break another promise?

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 13 Februari 2015 | 20.01

Liberal Party veteran Philip Ruddock will reportedly stand down as Chief Government Whip.

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott sacked Chief Whip Philip Ruddock today in what is being seen as punishment for Monday's leadership spill motion.

The removal of Mr Ruddock, the longest serving MP of any party, could further anger backbench critics of the Prime Minister.

It could be seen as a betrayal of his "no retribution" promise after the leadership vote and an evaluation that Mr Ruddock didn't do enough to rally support for the Prime Minister.

Mr Ruddock, as Chief Whip, was the official conduit for the motion which failed but which put the Prime Minister on notice.

Philip Ruddock and Malcolm Turnbull after the leadership spill motion.

He entered Parliament in 1973 and has served as Immigration Minister and Attorney-General. The new Whip team in the House of Representatives is more actively aligned with Mr Abbott.

Philip Ruddock. Source: News Corp Australia

The announcement of the Ruddock removal was kept until the late-Friday period often used for dumping Government bad news.

The new Chief Whip is Scott Buchholz, a conservative MP from the Queensland seat of Wright who once was chief of staff to Barnaby Joyce.

Promoted to a junior Whip is another conservative ally of Mr Abbott, Andrew Nikolic, a retired Army brigadier who is MP for the Tasmanian

West Australian MP Nola Marino from the seat of Forrest remains a junior Whip.

"I acknowledge and thank the Hon. Philip Ruddock MP for his extraordinary contribution to our country, this government and the Liberal Party," Mr Abbott said in a statement.

"As Father of the House, Philip has given over four decades of service to the Australian Parliament and the Australian people.

"He was a senior minister throughout the life of the Howard government and was shadow cabinet secretary in opposition. Later this year, he will become the second longest serving parliamentarian in our history.

"No one has done more than Philip helping immigrants to feel at home in their new country and helping members of migrant communities to participate in our national life."

Then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott with Phillip Ruddock during the 2013 election campaign. Pic: Gary Ramage Source: News Limited

Mr Ruddock, who entered parliament at a by-election for the seat of Parramatta in 1973, is the second-longest serving parliamentarian in Australia's history and the longest serving member of the House of Representatives.

The veteran MP had a couple of political near-death experiences, but has survived to this after first entering parliament during the Whitlam era.

"I never expected to be in parliament so long," he said two years ago, adding he was always conscious that he could return to legal work.

On Monday, Mr Abbott survived leadership tensions last week with a spill motion defeated in the party room 61:39.

However, his hold on the prime ministership took a blow with the 39 votes in favour of a spill higher than he expected.

The Prime Minister is already facing backlash over the move with commentators saying dumping the father of the house isn't doing anything to strengthen Abbott's already slippery grip on the leadership.

The move has reportedly angered many on the government's backbench, with one furious MP labelling the dumping "another disastrous call".

"The PM had my vote on Monday even though he refused to get rid of Peta Credin. he has now lost my vote because he had no right to get rid of Philip Ruddock," a backbencher told Fairfax.


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