U-turns leave Malcolm Turnbull on the ropes and facing coup

U-turns leave Malcolm Turnbull on the ropes and facing coup

Malcolm Turnbull will remain Australia's Prime Minister after defeating a leadership challenge from hard-line Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, 48 to 35.

Dutton's challenge for leadership of the party, and in turn the prime ministership, came just two days after he pledged his support, yet again, for Turnbull and his policies amid drama surrounding his signature energy policy.

If the policy paralysis and poor opinion polls continue, Turnbull could call an election before the new parliamentary session, or he looks bound to face another challenge. Checkpoint spoke to Sky News Deputy Political Editor Kieran Gilbert.

Mr Turnbull forced his rival to show his hand by declaring all leadership positions vacant as soon as the party room meeting started this morning. He refused to say, but added: "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".

A spokesman for Turnbull declined to comment on the prospect of an early election.

"I have been on the frontbench for 14 years and have served four Liberal leaders loyally, including Malcolm Turnbull", he said.

"I think the public would react very negatively to another change of leadership without them having a vote".

"Everyone on the right, even if they're voting for One Nation, has to preference and they [the Liberal party] get most of those votes back", he said.

But former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was replaced by Mr. Turnbull in a ballot of government lawmakers in 2015, was not convinced that Mr. Turnbull had given up on reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 26 % below 2005 levels through legislation.

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

Mr Abbott has been the most vocal of several government backbench MPs who have argued against legislating an emissions target.

In February 2012, Mr Rudd lost in a landslide to Ms Gillard, 71 votes to 31, in the Labor caucus, after he resigned as Foreign Minister during a late night press conference in Washington DC.

Treasurer Scott Morrison will be acting Home Affairs Minister for now, with a ministry reshuffle to come.

Peter Dutton refused to rule out a second leadership challenge.

Mr Drum said Mr Dutton was not well known in Western Australia and would have to remake himself before an election if he won the leadership from Mr Turnbull.

Some of Mr Turnbull's strongest supporters, including Mr Pyne and Simon Birmingham, have been appearing in the media this morning to shore up the PM's position.

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".

"Our conservative base strongly feel that their voice has been eroded", she wrote to Mr Turnbull.

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