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In Australian politics, a leadership spill is a declaration that the leadership of a parliamentary party is vacant, and open for re-election. A spill may involve all leadership positions (leader and deputy leader in both houses), or just the leader.
A leadership spill occurs when a member or members of the parliamentary party feel that the leader is taking the party in an undesirable direction or is simply not delivering on their promises to those who elected them, and does not have the numbers to back his or her position. A spill can be initiated by the leader themselves, usually to ensure a fresh mandate to quell dissenting voices in the party.
A leadership election may result in a new leader, or may confirm the status quo. If the party in question is in government, the election of a new leader will result in a new Prime Minister, Premier or Chief Minister; if the party is the opposition, the election of a new leader will result in a new Opposition Leader.
Notable spills 
- March 1971: Prime Minister John Gorton retained the leadership of the Liberal Party after a challenge from William McMahon resulted in a tie. However, Gorton then resigned, saying that a tie was not a vote of confidence, and McMahon was elected his successor.
- 1981: Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser beat Andrew Peacock's challenge for the leadership of the Liberal Party, 54-27 votes.
- 16 July 1982: Bill Hayden beat Bob Hawke for the leadership of the Labor Party, 42-37 but resigned in February 1983 in Hawke's favor, just one month before the ALP returned to government in the 1983 federal election.
- 9 May 1989: Andrew Peacock won with 44 votes to John Howard's 27, for the Liberal leadership and became leader for the second time. A simulataneous spill took place in the National Party room resulting in Charles Blunt replacing Ian Sinclair.
- June 1991: Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Paul Keating challenged Prime Minister Bob Hawke for the Labor leadership, with Keating losing by 44 votes to Hawke's 66.
- December 1991: Keating launched a second leadership challenge against Hawke. This effort was successful, with Keating winning the Labor leadership by 5 votes.
- Australian Labor Party leadership spills, 2003: Two consecutive leadership challenges saw Simon Crean ousted from the Labor leadership, replaced with Mark Latham.
- 4 December 2006: Labor frontbencher Kevin Rudd launched a challenge against Kim Beazley and won the Labor leadership.
- December 2009: Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal) was defeated by Tony Abbott with a narrow margin of 42-41 votes.
- 24 June 2010: First term Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was replaced by his deputy Julia Gillard, months prior to the 2010 federal election.
- 27 February 2012: Kevin Rudd resigned as Foreign Minister seeking to overturn the 2010 spill result but Julia Gillard retained the Labor leadership with 71 votes to Rudd's 31.
- 21 March 2013: Julia Gillard called a snap ballot following Simon Crean publicly calling for a Labor leadership ballot. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd vowed not to stand in the challenge, and as a result Julia Gillard was reelected unopposed. 
South Australia 
- 1996: Premier Dean Brown was beaten by John Olsen for the leadership of the South Australian Liberals.
New South Wales 
- December 2009: Nathan Rees (Labor) was beaten by Kristina Keneally, to become New South Wales's first female Premier.
Northern Territory 
- March 2013: Adam Giles replaced Chief Minister Terry Mills as leader of the Country Liberal Party while Mills was on a trade mission, becoming the first indigenous head of government of an Australian state or territory.
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