Being PM is now even more powerful
ANALYSIS: The increasingly presidential tone of our federal elections has been confirmed and sealed by changes to Liberal Party rules.
The changes protect the head of government from mid-term coups and makes clear the voters decide who goes into the post.
That means the office holder now is more powerful than predecessors, and even more powerful than their party.
The job of prime minister doesn't rate a mention in our Constitution and he or she has their name on only one ballot paper, the one in their electorate.
But the Liberals and Labor have learned the hard way that voters have a proprietorial interest in who heads a government.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it a "return of the power of these decisions about who is prime minister in this country, to the Australian people".
"Australians have the very reasonable expectation that when they elect a government, when they elect a Prime Minister, then they should be the ones that determine if that Prime Minister is to not continue in that office," Mr Morrison told reporters last night.
He was announcing a new, "historic" measure to limit the Liberal leadership turnover.
In the process he was conceding that the removal of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister in August has hurt party votes in state and federal ballots.
This was in effect blaming the anti-Turnbull MPs and their media camp followers for the Liberal turmoil and electorate failures.
From now, in practical terms, whoever becomes prime minister is there for a full term unless the forces for removal can overcome what Mr Morrison called "the very high bar of a special majority".
That is the two-thirds majority of sitting Liberals needed for an overthrow of a prime minister - similar to the 75 per cent imposed by Labor in 2013.
Mr Morrison said of the Liberal version: "Now in my experience around this place, such a majority is rarely if ever achieved when it comes to these matters.
"What this is doing is, the parliamentary Liberal Party acknowledging that it's own conduct over this period of time needs to be changed. It needs to be changed by that Party limiting itself.
"Of course the Liberal Party remains sovereign in how it makes these decisions and it has elected tonight, it has determined tonight that it has listened to the Australian people.
"It is willingly and enthusiastically putting this constraint to return the power of these decisions acknowledging that it's own conduct over this period of time needs to be changed."
This combined with the Labor rule changes after Rudd-Gillard-Rudd, means whomever is chosen prime minister by a majority of the House of Representatives keeps the job, barring health failure and criminal law breaches.
Of greater significance, it is an acknowledgment the PM is actually chosen by the voters, who are frustrated when their choices are repudiated
"Of course the Liberal Party remains sovereign in how it makes these decisions and it has elected tonight, it has determined tonight that it has listened to the Australian people," said the prime minister.
"It is willingly and enthusiastically putting this constraint to return the power of these decisions about who is Prime Minister in this country, to the Australian people."