World

Australian prime minister brings forward challenge to his own leadership to Monday morning

  • FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a press conference, in Sydney.  Australian Prime Minister Abbott said Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 he has moved up a challenge to his own leadership to Monday in the interests of ending uncertainty about his government's direction.  (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2014 file photo, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a press conference, in Sydney. Australian Prime Minister Abbott said Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015 he has moved up a challenge to his own leadership to Monday in the interests of ending uncertainty about his government's direction. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2013 file photo, Tony Abbott is sworn in as the 28th prime minister of Australia at Government House in Canberra, Australia.  Prime Minister Abbott said Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, he has moved up a challenge to his own leadership to Monday in the interests of ending uncertainty about his government's direction. (AP Photo/Stefan Postles, Pool, File)

    FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2013 file photo, Tony Abbott is sworn in as the 28th prime minister of Australia at Government House in Canberra, Australia. Prime Minister Abbott said Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, he has moved up a challenge to his own leadership to Monday in the interests of ending uncertainty about his government's direction. (AP Photo/Stefan Postles, Pool, File)  (The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has brought forward a challenge to his own leadership to Monday to end uncertainty.

The challenge was triggered by disgruntled government lawmakers last week and was scheduled to be discussed on Tuesday at the first scheduled meeting for the year of the ruling conservative Liberal Party's 102 lawmakers.

Abbott said Sunday he had arranged a special meeting for Monday morning, leaving some lawmakers scrambling to book earlier flights to the national capital.

Two disgruntled lawmakers will move a so-called spill motion. If the motion passes, the positions of prime minister and his deputy, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, will be declared open. There would then be secret ballots of Liberal lawmakers to either return Abbott and Bishop or replace them.

Abbott hopes the motion is defeated.