LNP elder Alex Somlyay says Tony Abbott can survive as Prime Minister and Coalition leader, but a lot will have to change for him to do so.
Mr Somlyay is a former Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government and member for Fairfax.
He stood down at the last election, only to see his seat fall to Clive Palmer.
Mr Somlyay said John Howard had shown in 1997-98 that a leader could recover from a low standing and go on to success.
"The Coalition can win (the next election) with Tony Abbott as leader,'' Mr Somlyay said. "But a lot has to change. His credibility has to be restored with the electorate. To do that he has to explain what sort of Australia he sees in 2025 and show that he was working towards that vision."
Mr Somlyay said potential contender Malcolm Turnbull had the best intellect of anyone in federal parliament, but deputy leader Julie Bishop had the numbers.
Yesterday afternoon, however, Ms Bishop ruled out a leadership challenge and Liberal sources said the party was now committed to going to the 2016 election Mr Abbott as leader.
Mr Somlyay had earlier said that although Victorian Liberal MPs were worked up after the Queensland state election loss, they were not speaking publicly about their concerns.
He said the numbers would fall in behind Ms Bishop if there were a challenge.
"The right is against Turnbull,'' he said.
Mr Somlyay said Tony Abbott's statement "there would be no carbon tax under a government I lead" had been directed at the right and against Mr Turnbull.
He said agitation from Queensland MPs would have little traction with the broader party and be seen as "sour grapes" coming from those who had missed out on cabinet positions when the Abbott Government was formed in 2013.
"So far it's persons with a grudge, apart from Wyatt Roy,'' Mr Somlyay said.
"We're not hearing it from new people (elected in 2013) or cabinet members. It's the sour grapes brigade who had worked hard on the front bench in Opposition and were dropped.
"The Victorians are very upset but not going public.
"There is a lot disenchantment in Cabinet ... on the front and backbench, but the vocal aren't credible or won't be seen to be. It will be considered to be self-interest."
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