Australia's opposition Liberal Party has elected a climate-change sceptic as its new leader, dealing a blow to the government's carbon-trading law plans.The Australian Liberal Party, which for the past decade and a bit was under the control of the rather conservative John Howard, turfed their rather liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, who became leader of the then newly-minted Opposition Liberals in September 2008.
Turnbull was replaced by a man named Tony Abbott, holder of three different cabinet posts in the Howard government from 1998 to 2007, and a well known climate change skeptic - a holdover from the Howard days.
Turnbull was turfed because of his support for the government's (aka. the Australian Labour Party) carbon trading scheme, as well as his pledge to make sure the legislation made it through the Liberal-controlled Australian Senate. Many in the party who are of Abbott's sentiment didn't like that, called for a leadership vote, and Turnbull lost to Abbott - 42 to 41. As such, the Liberal Senate didn't pass the carbon scheme legislation, and the Labour Party's Prime Minister Rudd now has the ability to call an election and completely wipe out the Liberals. The most recent polling shows majority support for the Labour Party (using Australia's two-party preferred system; otherwise, the Labour Party holds 43% support, compared to the Liberal's 30%), which means this probably isn't the best time to test Kevin Rudd's patience.
This is simply a symptom of ongoing party implosion. The Canadian Liberals certainly had it with Martin's reign, and we even had it after. We were able to scrape our party back together, but only just - there seems to be no reprieve for Australia's Opposition though.