Turnbull could be challenged at 9am meeting

Doug Carpenter
August 24, 2018

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ditched plans for the country to reach emissions targets aimed at combatting climate change.

In Canberra, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is insisting his leadership is secure, despite the increasingly strident calls from within the Liberal Party for Peter Dutton to challenge him.

He was criticised by Liberal Warren Entsch, who reportedly "got stuck into" Mr Abbott in the joint party room meeting.

It confirmed a Dutton campaign was under way after the morning's surprise spill launched by Mr Turnbull, and which the Prime Minister won by an unconvincing 48 votes to 35.

Liberal members see Turnbull as "the best Labor leader the Liberals ever had", criticizing his push for same-sex marriage, his support for an Australian republic, and other causes favored by Labor and other left-wing parties. "He has given me his absolute support".

However, with the Coalition likely to face a further deterioration in its electoral standing, the mood for change in the Coalition will likely spark another challenge by Dutton that could topple yet another elected leader.

Indeed, there was something verging on the unsettling to witness a smile creeping across the familiar death's head of this scourge of asylum seekers, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection from 2014 till 2017, and all-powerful Minister for Home Affairs from past year to this day. "My job is to make sure I can prosecute the sort of messages I spoke about and that is the only thing I am focussed on", he said.

He briefly thanked his colleagues for their "considerable support", talked about his pride for the Home Affairs portfolio, and then recounted his parliamentary experience, including serving as assistant treasurer in the Howard government under Peter Costello.

The Prime Minister is battling to steady a sinking ship, saying: "We know that disunity undermines the ability of any government to get its job done, and unity is absolutely critical".

Mr Dutton tweeted on Saturday that he supported the prime minister.

Dutton has refused to rule out another run for the prime ministership.

Commenting on the day's events, Shorten said: "Australia has a prime minister in name only - without power, without policies".

Mr Dutton's nickname "Potato Head" was first coined by Labor's Tim Watt in 2016 during Question Time and has stuck around ever since.

The Ipsos poll published in Fairfax newspapers shows that although Turnbull is still personally more popular than opposition Labor leader, Bill Shorten, support for his Liberal-National coalition fell four points to 45 percent, 10 points behind Labor and enough for a crushing electoral defeat.

The Nationals were furious when they found out about the NEG changes from news sources and Mr Turnbull in a room full of lobbyists.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called for unity after narrowly winning a leadership ballot on Tuesday morning.

Abbott and Dutton contend that the long-term framework should ditch worldwide commitments to reduce emissions and meet climate change targets, and focus instead on keeping energy prices low for consumers. "I think he's a very matured, well-managed man and I think he could handle the position of PM very well", she said. "I'm very proud of the fact that I got children out of detention - we've moved now nearly 400 people off Manus and Nauru that Labor put there, and that is a significant achievement".

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