Your Gluten Free, Carbon Neutral, Salted Caramel Guide to the Libspill

So as we all know, after months of chaos and dysfunction from the Abbott government, at 9am the Federal Liberal party MPs will meet to vote on a spill motion. But what does it all mean? Ask someone with a D in first year politics to clear it up.

What started all this?

Last week, WA backbencher Luke Simpkins sent an email to his fellow federal Liberal party MPs, announcing that he would be launching a spill motion at the next Federal party meeting on Tuesday 10 February (said meeting now brought forward to 9am tomorrow in the latest unpopular move by Abbott, who claims he is wanting to "end the uncertainty").

Are the Libs voting on whether Tony Abbott should remain as Prime Minister?

No. The motion being voted on is whether the senior roles in the party should be vacated ("spilled"). 

So what happens if the vote passes?

The Liberals will be required to vote for a new leader, deputy leader, treasurer and so on. MPs will be able to nominate themselves for these roles and the party will vote. Obviously the vote everyone gets excited about is for the leader, as whomever wins will become the new Prime Minister. At this stage, Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull are looking the most likely candidates. 

What happens if the vote fails?

Why, Abbott will continue his glorious reign. But seriously, even if the spill motion is defeated, the damage to Abbott's credibility and authority is apt to be terminal, and it would be likely he would either resign or lose a spill in a few months. If this happens, it is more likely that Julie Bishop would stand for leader, untainted by the stink of having knifed Abbott first time out. 

And in the longer term?

One of two scenarios - the eventual new leader can either attempt to legitimise their regime by calling for an early, double dissolution election; or they can ride out the current term of the Federal parliament, which states that an election must by held by January 14, 2017 (although the chance of a midsummer election is extremely slim and it is certain the poll would be held late November at the latest).

Where is my phone?

Check the pants you were wearing yesterday. The ones in the wash.

 See, I was right. Aren't you glad you found it in time?

What do you want to see happen tomorrow?

To be honest, I am kind of disappointed; I was hoping to see Abbott go to an election and lose, and now it seems unlikely that will happen - as above, even if he survives tomorrow, he's unlikely to be able to see out the term. You never know, though. It was always going to come to an inglorious end.