CANBERRA -- Prominent Liberals have conceded the leadership coup has cost the Party members, but say more people are now signing up under Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership.
The figures for resignations of Liberal Party membership since Tony Abbott was overthrown on September 14 are in some dispute.
The Tasmania Liberal Party President Geoff Page has rejected claims from dumped minister Eric Abetz that “hundreds” have handed in their cards over the leadership change, saying only ten state Party members have resigned or not renewed membership.
He says, over the same period, eight Tasmanians have applied to become Liberal Party members.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Victorian federal MP, Alan Tudge, is also aware of frustration in the party membership.
“There have been a few dozen members who have thrown in their membership, if you like, resigned from the party,” he told Sky News.
“We have actually had more people join the party in the last two weeks, at least in Victoria, then we have stepped down from the party, so that’s a very positive sign I think for us.”
Tudge says party members are being encouraged to reconsider their position.
“There certainly are members who have been disappointed with the change. We are all trying to encourage them to say, “Listen let’s take a breather. Don’t put in resignation for your membership. Reconsider your position and give Malcolm Turnbull a chance.””
Turnbull, himself, is not concerned.
“The Liberal Party is the last great grassroots political organisation in Australia,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“You know, people come and go in political parties, but ultimately our strength is in our grassroots and in our membership and you know the feedback I’ve had is they are very happy with the transition.”