Barnaby Joyce warns NSW Liberals as spill is called off – politics live

It’s snowing in Canberra. But it’s still not as chilly as the NSW Liberal party room, where, six months after winning an election, and just a year a a bit after their federal colleagues said never again, Gladys Berejiklian’s leadership is under threat.

The spill doesn’t look like being successful, given the number of Liberal MPs who rushed to Twitter to give their support to the premier. But it does put the NSW government majority under threat. Because we all know that once these things start, they don’t stop.

It’s all over the bill to decriminalise abortion. Barnaby Joyce, who spoke at a rally against the bill (“everyone here was born”) as well as the federal parliament, and has done his best to gee up his state colleagues, told Sky this morning the spill wasn’t a great idea:

Remember it is not so much how many people stand for the spill, you have to look at your majority and say how many in that. If more people move for the spill than you have in a majority, you have a big problem.

So my advice, having yes, I have seen a number of these bills, I have seen them up close, I’ve seen how quickly they go from nothing to massive, so now the fate of the premier, who I believe should keep her job – it won’t matter if you change the premier and the bill still goes through, is in the hands of the upper house members, the MLC of the NSW parliament, and they if they choose to throw her off a cliff, then be it on their heads.

The NSW rumbles are a headache the federal government doesn’t want right now. They were quite enjoying the NSW Labor issues and now those are overshadowed. There are more questions over Gladys Liu’s fundraising. Josh Frydenberg is having to warn the business community to stay calm as tensions in the Middle East hit a new flashpoint. And Scott Morrison has to practise walking a middle line before his meetings with Donald Trump, so as not to irk China.

As the prime minister would say – how good is it?

Meanwhile, as Katharine Murphy reported, the backbench committee signed off on the big stick energy bill, despite not having seen the actual legislation, after a briefing on the bill, but there remains jitters over what the Senate might do to it.

We’ll bring you all of that, and more, as the day unfolds. It’s party room and caucus day, so the morning will be pretty quiet. Lucky that state politics steps into the breach!

Mike Bowers is wandering around, and you have Murph, Sarah Martin and Paul Karp on deck, as well as the rest of the Guardian brains trust, keeping an eye on what my caffeinated pupils miss.


Let’s get into it.


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