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The Liberals of the west who forced the vote against Prime Minister Tony Abbott

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    The Liberals of the west who forced the vote against Prime Minister Tony Abbott


    Days before his surprise incursion on to the centre stage of Australian politics, little-known Liberal Luke Simpkins made an illegal incursion into Myanmar from across the Thai border.
    The MP West Australian MP, who has forced the vote that will decide Prime Minister Tony Abbott's hold on the prime ministership, is another political maverick from the west.
    Along with Dennis Jensen, the first Liberal to call on Mr Abbott to resign this week, and Don Randall, who will second Mr Simpkins' spill motion on Tuesday, Mr Simpkins walks his own path.
    Among his pet dislikes, which he has spoken up about in parliament, is halal meat which he has described as "one step down the path to [Islamic] conversion".
    He has spoken up for banning the burqa and was one of a handful of Liberals – along with Mr Jensen – to oppose the apology to the stolen generations.
    On Tuesday, Fairfax Media reported Mr Simpkins' "illegal" visit to Karen rebel paramilitaries in Myanmar.
    The former Australian army officer presented a large Australian flag to the rebels before re-entering Thailand near the border town of Mae Sot, 491 kilometres north of Bangkok.
    Mr Simpkins, who was born in Sydney and attended Sydney Boys High, defended breaching another country's sovereignty, saying pressure had to be exerted on "military-controlled governments".
    Mr Simpkins said he would report his findings to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the most senior and influential member of the West Australian Liberals.
    It is not known whether he did that or whether Mr Simpkins and Mr Randall warned Ms Bishop that they would call for a spill.
    According to Ms Bishop's statement, released on Friday after Mr Abbott vowed to fight the motion, she does not support their course of action.
    Ms Bishop's relationship with the rebel elements in the Liberal Party room will be under close scrutiny, with the major backbench manoeuvres against Mr Abbott's leadership beginning in that state.
    Mr Simpkins said he expects "people like Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison will stand".
    "I expect Malcolm Turnbull will put his hand up as well," he said.
    In an initial statement, he said the spill motion would give all members the opportunity to "either endorse the prime minister or seek a new direction".
    "I have no front-bench ambitions," he said.
    "I just want to make sure that the economic vandals do not get back into power and our children and grandchildren are not left to pay Labor's bill.
    "I do this because I believe it is in the best interests of the people of our country."
    Mr Simpkins said he had been "inundated" with emails and people coming into his office questioning the direction the government.
    Like Mr Simpkins, Mr Randall did not attend the Stolen Generations apology by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
    He once referred to the "Gay-BC" when referring to the national broadcaster and its perceived biases.
    Mr Randall was at the centre of the expenses scandal that rocked the early days of the Abbott government.
    A Fairfax Media investigation found he had used $10,000 in taxpayer money to fly to Cairns, north Queensland, where he and his wife own an investment property. He claimed he was on "electorate business" in visiting then-party whip Warren Entsch.
    Mr Entsch cast doubt on whether that was electorate business and Mr Randall later paid back the fares.

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/fed...ime-minister-tony-abbott-20150206-1386vd.html

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