It has been less than a week since former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted from the top job and replaced by his treasurer Scott Morrison, following a failed challenge by Queensland MP Peter Dutton to take over as PM.
Speaking ahead of the second leadership spill vote on Thursday, Turnbull announced that he would not run against Dutton, and any other aspiring Liberal Party leaders, if a second spill motion passed in the partyroom, revealing that he would step away from Federal politics altogether if he lost his position in the Lodge.
Now, just three days after Morrison was unveiled as his successor, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that Turnbull told constituents in his New South Wales electorate of Wentworth that he will resign from the House of Representatives by the end of the week.
Speaking at an event on Monday, the newspaper claims he told followers: “I’ve had a great team in Federal Parliament and a great team here at Wentworth. But as you know, my prime ministership has come to an end.
“The circumstances have appalled most Australians but again, I won’t labour the point. I have a strong view which I’ve made very clear publicly so it comes as no surprise, that former prime ministers are best out of parliament not in it, and I think recent events best underline the value of that observation. And so, accordingly, on Friday, I will resign from the House of Representatives.”
It is alleged that Turnbull will distribute a letter to his constituents on Tuesday, informing them of his decision.
“I don’t want to dwell on the shocking and shameful events of the last week, a pointless week of madness that disgraced our parliament and appalled our nation,” he allegedly said, before thanking his loyal supporters.
“Everything I have achieved for Australia in public life has been due to you, build on the foundation of this community, which Lucy and I love and where we have always lived. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
If the reports are correct, Turnbull’s resignation will trigger a by-election in his seat of Wentworth, eastern Sydney, with several potential candidates already emerging.
Those in the running are alleged to include Liberal councillor, and sister of Tony Abbott, Christine Forster, as well as former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma and former MP Peter King.
Turnbull’s predecessor Abbott, who is believed to have been instrumental in his downfall, told the Guardian Australia that his sister “would be a wonderful competitor and she’d be a great local member if elected”.