Beleaguered Australian PM Turnbull clings to power

Glen Norman
August 24, 2018

Another Turnbull supporter, Darren Chester, apologised to voters and said they "deserve better than numerous things our Federal Parliament has served up in the past 10 years".

The opposition Labor Party has gleefully watched the Liberals internal conflict deepen, with the growing prospect of an early election.

He also said: "I made it very clear that I believe former Prime Ministers are best out of the Parliament".

Turnbull, who narrowly won a leadership vote on Tuesday against former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, said he would hold a second leadership vote on Friday if he received a letter signed by the majority of the ruling Liberal party.

"If the party wants a leadership vote, I will not stand, and will leave parliament".

Another four ministers announced their resignation from cabinet shortly after Cormann's press conference.

Turnbull survived a ballot on his leadership on Tuesday, winning the vote 48-35.

But in a major blow, his influential Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, along with the employment and education ministers, said they no longer supported him.

A defiant Malcolm Turnbull is clinging on to Australia's prime ministership but challengers are close to securing the 43 signatures needed to force a leadership spill.

Karen Middleton talks to TRT World from Canberra, Australia about what led to Malcolm Turnbull losing his support base. It is arguably the worst debauching of Australian parliamentary democracy since John Kerr refused to see the Speaker to receive the House's no confidence motion in the Fraser Government on November 11, 1975.

The ballot to choose a prime minister is secret, so lawmakers don't have to declare which candidate they voted for.

On the other side, several constitutional lawyers, including Sydney University's Anne Twomey, have suggested the arrangement may breach Section 44 of the Constitution.

To top it all off they shut down Parliament because they're too busy tearing each other apart rather than taking the fight to their opponents. It is hard to escape the conclusion that it is time the voters were given a say.

He went on to add that he would step down if motions for a second contest passed.

"As such, I asked him to convene a meeting of the Liberal Party at which I would challenge for the leadership of the parliamentary Liberal Party". Turnbull initiated the ballot in the hope of ending speculation that his government had lost faith in him in the face of poor opinion polling.

Malcolm Turnbull, who is under mounting pressure, accused members of the Liberal Party of being "bullies" and trying to intimidate his supporters. "I can't ignore the fact that a majority of colleagues in the Liberal Party. are of the view that there should be a change", he said.

In a frantic Thursday morning, Australia's opposition parties lost a parliament vote that would have forced a court to determine whether Dutton is eligible for the premiership.

While Dutton is still seen as the front runner for the challenge when it inevitably occurs late Thursday or even Friday - it's now being reported that Treasurer Scott Morrison has thrown his hat in the ring and will also challenge for the leadership in the next spill.

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