Thank you for watching Nemesis with us

And a huge thank you to Annabel Crabb for joining the blog tonight!

Remember, you can stream episodes 1 and 2 of Nemesis on ABC iview.

If you’re just joining us, this blog is now closed but you can read from the beginning by switching from Latest to Oldest at the top of the blog.

We hope you enjoyed our companion blog. We’ll be back next Monday to live blog episode 3 (which is the finale!) covering Scott Morrison, where Leigh Sales will be our special guest.

Exciting times! See you then.

Looking for more?

While interviewing dozens of Malcolm Turnbull’s former colleagues, an intriguing theory emerged

Speaking with dozens of Coalition insiders during the making of the ABC docuseries Nemesis, one PM provoked the most polarised responses.

You can read more from Mark Willacy in the article below.

Key Event

Why do you think Julie Bishop didn’t participate in the series?

(ABC News: Andrew Kennedy)

Too busy? Sick of talking about it?

It’s interesting — the Turnbull and Morrison governments both had a lot more women in the Cabinet than the Abbott version. But I’d say easily 90 per cent of the plotting, manoeuvring, number crunching and active undermining over those years was performed by blokes.

It’s interesting to note, too, that despite multiple polls showing that Julie Bishop was a popular leadership candidate for the Liberals among voters — in some, she was the most popular — Turnbull, Morrison, Abbott and Dutton all got a chance to lead, and the one female candidate never did. Seems like the “merit” system was experiencing temporary difficulty…

Anyway, stay tuned for more reflections in next week’s episode on women in the Liberals…

That’s it for Nemesis, episode 2!

If you’re just joining us, you can catch Nemesis on ABC iview.

Remember that here on the site you can switch the tab below from Latest to Oldest to read our companion blog from the beginning.

Here’s how Turnbull would describe Morrison in one word

Our favourite game is back. So how would Malcolm Turnbull describe Scott Morrison in one word?

“Duplicitous,” Turnbull says.

Roll the credits!

Key Event

Turnbull believes Morrison ‘played a double game’

“Looking back at that week, it’s clear to me that Morrison played a double game on the Tuesday, and that his people, six or seven we think voted for Dutton in that spill, and that made Dutton’s numbers look better and increased the pressure on me,” Malcolm Turnbull says.

He then calls Scott Morrison “the ultimate control freak.”

Reporter and interview Mark Willacy relays the above quote to Morrison, who says “well, it’s just not true.”

“There were some errors in judgment in what some people did that week, and for that it unleashed a series of events that ended up in a prime minister losing the role.

“That sometimes is a harder thing to accept than the fact that someone done you in as that’s just not how it happened.”

‘We got a lot more than I thought we would’: Turnbull reflects on leadership

“I was very proud and I am very proud of the achievements of my government,” Malcolm Turnbull tells Nemesis.

“I was in office as PM for just under three years. We got a lot more done than I thought we would, to be honest.

“Snowy Hydro 2.0, big commitments on infrastructure, transpacific partnership, trade, reinvestment in the defence forces, making sure we stood up versus other big powers, whether it was Xi Jinping’s China, or even Donald Trump’s America.”

‘I left the room and sobbed’: How MPs reacted to another spill

Luke Howarth says witnessing another party leader be toppled was “distressing.”

“I remember just sort of leaving the room and just sobbing a bit, really.”

Ann Sudmalis says it was a “horrible week.”

Linda Reynolds says it unleashed “a lot of blood and hell” on the party.

As Craig Kelly puts it:

“The greatest tragedy was that we were just like Labor.”

Morrison beats Dutton, becomes Australia’s 30th prime minister

“Well, immediately, you feel a great humility. I’d prayed for peace and calm, and it had come,” Scott Morrison tells Nemesis.

According to Josh Frydenberg: “Well, I remember going back with Scott to his office and he said to me, ‘Well Josh, you’re now the deputy. You get to choose your portfolio. What is it?’

“And I said, I want to be Treasurer. He said done.”

(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Key Event

Leadership spill ‘smashes’ Bishop early on

Julie Bishop.(AAP: Lukas Coch)

There are a bunch of reasons why Julie Bishop was knocked out of the leadership ballot so early on. Here’s how Annabel Crabb explained it in her 2018 analysis when Bishop resigned.

One is that she was judged as too similar factionally and in her social policy views to Malcolm Turnbull; so much so that electing her would invite more destabilising from the “insurgents”.

Another was that strategists among the moderates actively organised against her, fearful that she would come second in the Dutton/Morrison/Bishop race and turn the final vote into a Bishop/Dutton ballot, which they feared she would lose.

Back to Nemesis now, where Ann Sudmalis, who was a Liberal MP from 2013 until 2019, said she voted for Bishop.

“I was stunned when her count was so small, and I think she was too,” she said.

“Well it’s very simple,” Christopher Pyne says.

“Politics is a numbers game. ‘The ruthless arithmetic of politics’ I think John Howard described it as.”

Russell Broadbent says Bishop “went out in the first ballot with only 11 votes, which was totally humiliating for her.”

“They smashed her, they didn’t just break her, they smashed her. And it was predatory in the way they did it.”

Morrison prayed before walking into party room alone

“I prayed, as I regularly do, just for a sense of peace and calm. And this was a significant decision to take,” Scott Morrison says.

“Leadership challenges … it’s all very Shakespearean, and the two warring camps all line up and in their corridors, and they all walked down to the room together.

“And I always hated that. So I just walked on my own, down to the party room.”

Warren Entsch serves up some karma a decade in the making

Warren Entsch says he was only ever going to sign for party room meeting if the petition going around received 42 signatures.


Once they did, Entsch became the 43rd signature and sealed the deal.

Under his name he wrote “for Brendan Nelson” – who Turnbull replaced as leader of the Liberal Party in 2008.

“I thought it was a timely reminder back to Turnbull of the treachery and the lack of respect that he did for Brendan. So that, of course, triggered the spill,” Entsch says.

The petition forces Turnbull’s hand, and means it will be battle between Peter Dutton, Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison.

Morrison: ‘I’ve got to get busy’

“I knew on the Thursday, about lunchtime I think it was, that the campaign to save Malcolm was over,” Scott Morrison tells Nemesis.

(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

“And at that time, I just said, ‘Look, I accept your decision, but I’ve got to get busy.’

“So I went back to my office and got some of my friends and supporters together and had a discussion and made up my mind that I was going to run.”

According to Russell Broadbent, Ben Morton (who was working closely with Morrison) asked Broadbent to support him.

“And I said, ‘mate, my experience of Scott, he’s an arrogant asshole.’ Because my interactions with Scott had been really awful, smug,” Broadbent said.

Cormann and Cash withdraw support

(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

On Thursday morning, Mathias Cormann and Michaelia Cash hold a press conference and publically withdraw their support for Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.

“I recall it well,” Turnbull says, watching the press conference back during Nemesis.

“But at least Michaelia Cash looks appropriately ashamed of what she’s doing.”

“It was a massive betrayal and it was a complete and utter screw-up on [Cormann’s] part.”

Dutton challenges Turnbull for Liberal leadership

When Peter Dutton stood up in the Party room to challenge Turnbull, Simon Birmingham says it was “a mixture of shock and disappointment”.

Michaelia Cash said it was “game on”. Trent Zimmerman‘s reaction was simply “oh s***”.

(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

But the vote was over in five minutes – Malcolm Turnbull was elected leader of the Liberal Party by a margin of 48 votes to 35 with Dutton as the other candidate.

In Eric Abetz‘s view, it was “over and out” for Turnbull at that stage.

 “It’s a very fair criticism to say that I shouldn’t have called the spill on the Tuesday, and it was a judgment call, but a spill was going to be called anyway,” Turnbull says.

“By making it a ballot between me and Dutton, I felt I improved my prospects of seeing him off, because I didn’t think there was anybody else at that stage that was going to break cover.”

Key Event

Turnbull spills the Liberal leadership

Scott Morrison said “you could have struck me down with a feather,” adding “I’m looking over at Christopher [Pyne] who’s way on the other side of the room and texts me and he goes ‘I didn’t know either.'”

Russell Broadbent says he thought Turnbull was “crazy.”

Andrew Hastie says he was sitting next to Mathias Corman who was “ropable” and let go a few French words.

Michaelia Cash says “the worst thing” you can do is catch your colleagues by surprise.

It’s Monday. The week from hell is upon us

Craig Laundy says August 20, 2018 was “the start of the week from hell.”

Malcolm Turnbull says: “It was obvious by the Monday of that week that there was a move on.”

“You could see it in the media, you could see it in the colleagues. We were getting all of the intelligence about that.”

What word springs to mind when you hear ‘Peter Dutton’?

Key Event

The NEG: The moment it became clear this was personal

The NEG: There have only been a handful of occasions at which the major parties have been – policy-wise – close enough together for a consensus on addressing carbon emissions to be conceivable. This was one of them.

Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, if left in a room together, could quite likely have agreed on the NEG I reckon. Josh Frydenberg and Mark Butler – the relevant energy portfolio holders – would have been on board too. The Australian business lobby – sick and tired of the policy uncertainty on climate – supported the National Energy Guarantee.

(ABC News: Matt Roberts)

But it wasn’t just about the two leaders. As the late Princess Diana once lamented, “There were three of us in this marriage”. And the longstanding anti-carbon-tax faction within the Coalition – who still remembered winning an election in 2013 with “Axe The Tax” – was the third wheel here.

Their suspicions of Malcolm Turnbull on anything related to climate were overwhelming. He was never going to be allowed a win on climate, no matter the detail. The defeat of the NEG was the moment at which it became absolutely clear that this was personal.

Turnbull calls climate wars ‘debilitating, insane’

Malcolm Turnbull says the climate wars were “just debilitating, insane, really a terrible chapter in our history,” adding, “and they were instigated by Abbott.”

Josh Frydenberg, who was Minister for Environment and Engery at the time, said one of the key aspects of Turnbull’s time in office was “this attempt to integrate energy and climate policy”.

“It was the first genuine and real attempt to end the climate wars. But ultimately, there were detractors in the Party room, namely Tony Abbott and others, that saw this as a proxy for the leadership.”