A close friend of Tony Abbott has revealed why he felt compelled to betray an eight- year friendship and vote for rival Malcolm Turnbull in the party room.
Assistant Defence Minister and Gold Coast MP Stuart Robert says he had to put sentiment aside and make a necessary decision to vote against Mr Abbott on Monday night.
Mr Turnbull was sworn in as the new Prime Minister yesterday after a leadership challenge and he beat Mr Abbott in a vote 54 votes to 44.
Mr Robert revealed it was a 'devastating' decision but he feels that Mr Turnbull's economic experience will help the Gold Coast thrive.
"Politics is not about friendship — it’s about capacity and confidence,” Mr Robert told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
“Those are the rules of the game and we all know them when we enter politics.
- Turnbull's secret $4 billion deal to win over The Nationals
- Turnbull ascension brings bounce in polls
- Campaign in Canning adapts to new reality
“Tony was devastated. I was also devastated but the national interest was fundamental.”
Mr Robert revealed the dramatic events which led to an unexpected change of Liberal Party leader.
He said that Mr Abbott was 'obviously devastated' by didn't hold any malice towards his former colleagues and that made him a ' tremendous Australian'.
“We have been friends since 2007 and we went to Afghanistan together for the first time."
Mr Roberts told the Gold Coast Bulletin that he would be raising important issues with the new Prime Minister including domestic violence, ice and federal funding for the city’s light rail system.
“This will be a big change for the country,” he said.
“I’m convinced a strong team has been put together with a strong focus on productivity, economic growth and jobs.”