Turnbull holding firm on leadership so far

Muriel Hammond
August 24, 2018

"The iron laws of arithmetic confirmed my leadership of the Liberal Party", Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

Mr Dutton admitted he's calling Liberals trying to win support for a second challenge after failing 48 votes to 35 in a snap leadership ballot on Tuesday. "He's a member of our team, he's given me his absolute support".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the resignation would not have any impact on the issues the government continues to raise across the ditch.

Abbott and other MPs, including George Christensen and Andrew Gee, had previously indicated that they might cross the floor to vote against the bill.

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".

"I'm focused on getting energy prices down and I'll leave you to all of the speculation", Mr Turnbull said.

Following the ballot, The Prime Minister called for "unity" within the Liberal Party and to "get on with the job" of governing the country.

Peter Dutton himself resigned after losing the vote this morning, despite Turnbull giving him the option of remaining on the frontbench.

And yes, the Kevin Andrews who got that wrecking ball rolling back then is the same Kevin Andrews who, as part of the core group of self-styled conservative rebels - Tony Abbott, Eric Abetz and Andrew Hastie are the others - so enthusiastically undermined Turnbull's prime ministership that Peter Dutton decided the time was ripe on Tuesday for a first strike. "I think he's a very matured, well-managed man and I think he could handle the position of PM very well", she said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten claimed the PM was "a Prime Minister in name only", adding: "If almost half of his own government do not want him to be the Prime Minister of Australia, why should the rest of Australia have to put up with him?" I would like to contribute to public debates.

Labor Party opposition leader Bill Shorten speaks at his election night party in Melbourne, July 2, 2016 on Australia's federal election day.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) address the media following their talks in Berlin, Germany, April 23, 2018.

"I don't believe so, and the reason for that is we're getting on with the job and just announced another big change in terms of going forward with the ACCC", Mr Morrison responded.

Ironically, Turnbull has since exceeded Abbott's poor Newspoll record, despite having consistently rated as more popular as prime minister compared to Shorten.

When he was asked whether he would make another tilt for the leadership, Dutton wouldn't rule it out.

Government sources also pointed to Labor questions about Mr Dutton's financial interest in childcare centres last October, when Victorian Labor senator Kimberley Kitching asked about the family trust and any pecuniary interest in payments from the Commonwealth.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the prime minister should call an election, if he survives the week. It is a political sore point for Turnbull, as he lost the Liberal leadership to Abbott in 2009 for backing emissions trading.

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