Malcolm Turnbull to face party room as Peter Dutton considers leadership challenge

Doug Carpenter
August 21, 2018

The PM won the vote 48-35, from 86 members of the Liberal partyroom. Australians can not reasonably be asked to put their trust in Turnbull at the next election if he can not even claim that from close to half of his own colleagues.

Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

Energy policy, Pauline Hanson and Tony Abbott are all contributing factors to Turnbull's woes, Professor Jennifer Curtin says.

Turnbull earlier declared his top position in the Liberal Party vacant at a party room meeting this morning as the battle for the Australian prime ministership got started.

Three years later, Australia's first woman prime minister was gone when Rudd finally took his revenge after a failed 2012 coup attempt.

Turnbull had attempted to see off a challenge by retreating on energy policy that was contentious among the conservative wing of his party, but his backdown was not enough.

Chief government whip Nola Marino announced the close margin at the tense party room meeting which has been labelled a "humiliation" for Turnbull with a frontbench who does not support him.

"I think there might be a second phase strategy here".

Mr Turnbull's risky move may have backfired as it exposes the weakness of his position and the size of the split between the two factions of the Liberal Party.

The disunity came to a head on Monday when Turnbull was forced to shelve plans to embed carbon emissions targets in law after a revolt by fellow Liberal politicians.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said she would not support legislation that allowed government's to reduce emissions targets through regulation, opening up another battle for the government in the Senate if it fails to secure Labor's support.

Mr Abbott said: 'It's no way to run a government, making absolute commitments on Tuesday and breaking them on Friday'.

Malcolm Turnbull called the spill after what was clearly massive pressure from the Dutton camp.

Julie Bishop retained the deputy leadership.

He told Sky News on Monday: 'Peter Dutton is doing a very good job, Malcolm Turnbull is doing a good job, I think people now want this to settle down'.

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