ACT News

Canberra mornings: February 9, 2015

Today's top stories

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<p><i>Turnbull answers questions at The Dam Hotel in Warnervale on the central coast. Photo: Wolter Peeters</i></p>
<p>Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has directly confronted Prime Minister Tony Abbott in a crunch meeting about the government's woes before Wednesday's cabinet meeting.</p>
<p>The Communications Minister pressed the Prime Minister on how the government would extricate itself from its <a href=

Prime Minister Tony Abbott gives a press conference in Sydney on Sunday. Photo: Louie Douvis

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has survived a vote to spill leadership positions including his own this morning. He retains the leadership but 39 MPs (out of 101 who were present) have cast what is essentially a vote of no confidence in him.

The vote was the first order of business when Parliament resumes today, with 101 members of the Liberal party room considering a do-or-die spill of the prime ministership (one MP was away on paternity leave).

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As the meeting neared, Mr Abbott was leaving little to chance, throwing a last-minute bone to wavering South Australian Liberals by reversing an established policy and indicating he would allow Australian companies to bid for the multibillion-dollar future submarines project.

On Sunday night, Mr Abbott even admitted he may lose the motion.

The special party room meeting was unilaterally brought forward by 24 hours by Mr Abbott. Stay tuned to Canberra Times for all the latest analysis.

In other news:

Sport

Canberra Raiders player Mark Nicholls. Photo: Rohan Thomson.

ACT Brumbies player Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

ACT Brumbies back-up hooker Josh Mann-Rea won't settle for "making up the numbers" as he draws on the confidence gained from a shock Wallabies call-up to prove he can fill the hole left by injured captain Stephen Moore.

Mann-Rea has set himself a personal challenge to make it as hard as possible for Moore to force his way back into the Brumbies starting side when he returns from a knee reconstruction.

Road closures

8.10am: A motorcycle and a car have collided on Canberra Ave in Griffith outside St Edmunds College. Police said there is no indication of any injuries or road closures at this stage.

There will be partial lane closures for road resurfacing works at the intersection of Limestone Avenue, Wakefield Avenue and Majura Avenue in Braddon between 7pm and 6am from today until Thursday.

If you are stuck in traffic or have any info, let us know: morningblog@canberratimes.com.au or tweet us @canberratimes

Coming up: this weekend's National Multicultural Festival will result in some road closures in place from midnight on Wednesday. More here.

What's on today

Selby and Friends will perform at the James O. Fairfax Theatre at the National Gallery of Australia. The show Powerful Passions features Natalie Chee on violin, Clancy Newman on cello, Hector McDonald on french horn and Kathryn Selby on piano.

The ANU Film Group will host a screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies followed by a Q&A with Stephen Hunter and Che Baker at 7.30pm. Free. Doors open at 7pm. Coombs Theatre, corner of Fellows and Garran roads, Acton.  

Today marks the start of Orientation Week at Canberra's universities as this year's fresh cohort of students get their first taste of university life. O Week activities for new students will continue at the Australian National University and the University of Canberra throughout the week.  

Canberra Life

Former X Factor winner Dami Im.

The Hobbit actor Stephen Hunter will speak at ANU tonight.

You might not recognise Stephen Hunter from one of his biggest film roles without a bushy red beard, a huge, ring-shaped plait of red hair and a lot of bulky prosthetics. (Hint: he also spent a lot of time eating in the film.)

Hunter played Bombur, one of the 13 dwarves in The Hobbit trilogy. He's currently in Canberra filming another film, the sci fi adventure Blue World Order. And he's agreed to sit down and do a Q&A session about The Hobbit at a free film screening with the ANU Film Group tonight.

MORE CANBERRA LIFE

Today's David Pope

David Pope Canberra Times editorial cartoon

Click through for more Pat Campbell

Pic of the day

Barber Steve Carbone and owner Steve Gamarra in Braddon barbershop, Groomed, the newest addition to Lonsdale Street's Ori building. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Runners at the 2015 Australian Cross Country Selection Trials at Stromlo Forest Park on Sunday. Photo: Graham Tidy 

Weather

Today: It's set to be a partly cloudy in Canberra on Monday with a slight chance of an afternoon shower, a forecast minimum of 15 degrees and a top of 25 degrees. 

The rest of the week: Tuesday, possible shower - min 15, max 29; Wednesday, mostly sunny with developing afternoon showers - min 16, max 31; Thursday, showers - min 16, max 27; Friday, possible storm - min 15, max 25.