More leadership woes for Tony Abbott

There is plenty of speculation Tony Abbott is facing a second leadership challenge as Saturday’s Canning by-election draws nearer.

Malcolm Turnbull is shaping up as his likely challenger, after he refused requests from Abbott supporters to publicly rule out a challenge.

A challenge will be a surprise move in the lead up to the Canning by-election in Western Australia on Saturday, which will be a crucial litmus test of the government’s performance over its two-year reign.


If a challenge does occur, it will be the second move against Mr Abbott since February, when he won a party room ballot to avert a vote on the Liberal leadership.

Mr Abbott’s leadership has been under pressure lately, with polls leading up to the Canning by-election showing the government could be in some trouble.

Two polls, a News Corp Galaxy poll and a Fairfax/Ipsos poll, predicted a 10 per cent swing, two-party preferred, against the government on Saturday.

The swing is not enough to unseat the Liberals in Canning, which is held with a 12 per cent margin, but strengthens the anti-Abbott push.