Australian ruling party hardens rules to oust leader

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

The Liberal party has moved to disrupt the cycle of leadership instability by resolving that sitting prime ministers can in future only be removed by a two-thirds party room majority.

After meeting in Canberra on Monday night, Liberal MPs overwhelmingly resolved to change party rules to ensure a leader who becomes prime minister will serve a full term.

Mr Morrison said the two-thirds majority proposal came from the party whips, not himself.

Mr Morrison said his party had listened to the Australian people and that they "understand their frustration and disappointment".

"How effective it will be?"

"My view - I'm a retired member of parliament, just a member of the Liberal Party, but since everyone else feels free to express their political commentary, I shall do so - my view is that it would be manifestly in the best interests and prospects of the Morrison Government to go to the polls as soon as it can after the summer break", Mr Turnbull said.

The rules were drafted in consultation with former prime minister John Howard and supported by Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop, who were both deposed in leadership spills.

Hastily announced by PM Scott Morrison at a occasionally boisterous late-night press conference, the new Liberal Party rule makes it much harder to oust a sitting leader.

He said for Mr Morrison to give into any threat from Mr Kelly that he would "bring down the government" by going to the crossbench was "extraordinary".

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"And they're sick of it.and it has to stop".

"The current rules have produced long periods of stability and long periods of instability, " he said.

The main opposition Labor party also played musical chairs with their PMs when they were in power, with Julia Gillard replacing Kevin Rudd in 2010 as leader before he kicked her out and returned to power ahead of the 2013 election.

Labor leadership contenders now have to gain a majority of votes in the caucus and in a grassroots party ballot.

The new rule, decided at a snap Liberals meeting in the capital, will apply to a Liberal leader after he or she has won an election.

"I'm flattered that Mr Turnbull thinks our government is outstanding", he told AAP on Monday.

The remarks stunned MPs - even the ex-PM's one time supporters - who found Mr Turnbull's remarks "highly hypocritical" after he only months earlier accused other former prime ministers Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd of being "miserable ghosts" who continually disrupted politics.

Mr Turnbull on Monday unsuccessfully tried to stop Liberal party executives from sparing conservative Sydney MP Craig Kelly a preselection battle.

"Australians have the very reasonable expectation that when they elect a government, when they elect a prime minister, they should be the ones to determine if the prime minister is not to continue", Mr Morrison said.

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