Turnbull holds off Dutton challenge - for now - by 48-35

Turnbull holds off Dutton challenge - for now - by 48-35

Turnbull holds off Dutton challenge - for now - by 48-35

"I have invited him to continue in that office, but he has said to me, and we have had a good discussion about it in my office, he said to me that he doesn't feel he can remain in the cabinet having challenged me to the leadership of the party, and so he is resigning".

"I believe I had the best prospect of leading the Liberal Party to success at the next election", Dutton told reporters of his decision to challenge Turnbull for the leadership.

Treasurer Scott Morrison insisted the leadership was "not an issue" and said Mr Dutton had told him in Question Time that his position had not changed and he was "fully supporting" Mr Turnbull.

Mr Sukkar's office confirmed the resignation to SBS News earlier Tuesday evening, revealing via a statement he had voted for Mr Dutton during the leadership ballot.

Peter Dutton was at our leadership group meeting this morning and he was at cabinet last night.

After the leadership spill, the parliamentary theatre comes.

"What we want to know is- Where are this prime minister's convictions?".

"Surely there are some people in the WA federal Liberal party who are pretty disturbed and anxious about the infighting", he said.

Nearly half (49.5%) said Dutton as leader would make them less likely to vote for the Coalition.

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"We've seen it so often in Australian politics - this two-stage act play in removing a prime minister - and, given how close the vote was, there's definitely more to come", said Haydon Manning, a political science professor at Flinders University in South Australia state.

Mr Turnbull's U-turn alters a key plank of his signature energy policy, and follows a revolt by conservative MPs within his government.

The uneasy unity held sufficiently to secure a narrow election victory in 2016.

The prime minister caved in to their demands to remove emissions reduction targets from the legislation, but it still wasn't enough. Despite Dutton receiving 35 votes, Bishop described the result as "an overwhelming vote of support for the Prime Minister".

Given the recent byelections triggered by s 44, however, one would think that Dutton and his supporters might be showing more concern about getting clear answers to these questions - at least once the dust on yesterday's challenge settles.

Dutton did not rule out another challenge as he thanked his colleagues for their support.

The former Home Affairs minister has resigned to sit on the backbench, but has not ruled out another challenge. "I have gone through what my job is now and that is to make sure that I can help the coalition win the next election", he said. He won that vote, as he did on Tuesday, 48-35.

The most senior of the three, the country's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, said in her resignation letter the party was "moving too far to the left".

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