End of political career in site for either Abbott or Turnbull
End of political career in site for either Abbott or Turnbull Mike Richards GLA

OPINION: Time for Tony to fall on his sword

USURPER-IN-WAITING Malcolm Turnbull finally has a chance to shine - and by crikey, the knives are out.

At least one person's political future will be cut to ribbons whichever way the #libspill goes.

Even the entire party's foreseeable prospects if it gets particularly messy.

Turnbull is already confident he has the votes.

Otherwise the Prime Minister would not be hobbling around Canberra with a dagger between his shoulders right now.

We have already seen Malcolm's aptitude for bowing out of a doubtful spill once this year, and he has had his eyes on Abbott's job since losing another one by a single vote in 2009.

MORE: Turnbull challenges Abbott: 'we need advocacy not slogans'

The ever-suave rich boy of Australian politics has been biding his time since.

Which brings us to the current conundrum, and another clumsy metaphor about a bladed weapon.

The best thing Abbott can do for his party is to graciously fall on his own sword, commit political harakiri, and bow out of the race.

Or he can squeeze every last breath out of his leadership, and maybe even win by a vote or two.

That way he will still be Prime Minister until the next election, when the Coalition will be unceremoniously booted and Labor will get another bash at this whole leadership gig.

Abbott has already flagged his intention to fight the spill but has not revealed when the ballot would be held.

If he drags it out for any longer than a day or two, the results will be horrendous for the Liberal-Nationals.

More unrest, more back-stabbing, more widely publicised in-fighting and a healthy squirt of Cabinet room leaks can be expected.

Turnbull has already started tearing Abbott's legacy to shreds.

The cut and thrust of his media conference this afternoon was that the current Prime Minister was just crap at his job.

"And we need a different style of leadership. We need a style of leadership that explains those challenges and opportunities, explains the challenges and how to seize the opportunities," he said.

"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."

Sharpen your knives, Tony.


STRANGE POLITICS with Chris Calcino
STRANGE POLITICS with Chris Calcino