25 Nov 2009

Turnbull stays leader as party backs Australia's ETS

9:30 pm on 25 November 2009

Australia's main opposition party has voted to keep its leader, Malcolm Turnbull, backing his decision to support the federal government's revised emissions trading scheme.

The Liberal Party caucus voted 48 to 35 to keep Mr Turnbull as leader.

Climate-change sceptics in the party had sought to challenge his leadership in an effort to scupper the government's plan to cut carbon emissions.

Following the vote, the ABC reports, Mr Turnbull conceded his personal style might have alienated some of his colleagues.

"I'm sure even somebody as quiet and unassuming as myself can improve," he told Sky News. "We've all got to work on our interpersonal skills.

Three senators resign from front bench

Mr Turnbull's leadership has been under threat since he declared the opposition would vote for the government's amended scheme.

But former Howard government frontbencher Kevin Andrews was the only person to say he would have run against Mr Turnbull in a spill.

Mr Andrews said that he accepted the decision of the party room but that the troubles of the past 24 hours should send a warning to Mr Turnbull.

Three Liberal senators - Mitch Fifield, Matthias Cormann and Brett Mason - have jointly announced their resignations from the front bench because they oppose the emissions trading scheme.