Turnbull not in the clear after challenge

Turnbull not in the clear after challenge

While the challenge over the prime ministership was ostensibly about energy policy, the true source of the leadership tensions goes much deeper.

"The problem is that Bill Shorten would be a disastrous Prime Minister of this country and I believe I had the best prospect of leading the Liberal Party to success at the next election", Mr Dutton said.

A successful challenge on Thursday would give Dutton time to establish himself as prime minister and announce policy positions before facing the Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) in parliament in September.

"He is a member of our team".

Dutton rejected the rumors on Friday, tweeting that "the Prime Minster has my support and I support the policies of the Government".

"I've invited him to continue in that office, however he has said to me that he doesn't feel he can remain in the Cabinet having challenged me for the leadership of the party, and so he is resigning".

Australia's recent political roundabout is highlighted by the fact that it has changed leaders five times since 2007, with none lasting a full term in office. We are bleeding votes to the right", she said on Wednesday, saying she was yet to speak with the PM.

Asked what Turnbull said after winning, she replied: "This was conducted by way of precedent and he thanked his colleagues for their support and will get on with the business now of governing in the interests of all Australians".

Disunity undermines the ability of a government to get its job done and we can not allow internal issues to undermine our work, or to create a real risk that Bill Shorten will be the prime minister.

Outgoing prime minister Bob Hawke waves goodbye to the media after being defeated by Paul Keating in a leadership challenge in December 1991.

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"He has given me his absolute support", Mr Turnbull said of Mr Dutton.

Mr Shorten has written to the prime minister asking that all major decisions be paused until the leadership question is resolved.

However, Mr Turnbull also argued that economic growth and higher employment were at risk should he be turfed. Turnbull is suddenly on the lookout for new ministers, while Dutton is faced with a headache that he could win the Liberal leadership but immediately lose government.

'What we want to know is, where are this prime minister's convictions?' Mr Abbott told the ABC outside Parliament House on Monday night.

The stunning retreat emerged as the energy issue threatened to turn into a crisis for Turnbull's leadership, and the government worked on measures to reduce power prices to meet the demands of Coalition dissidents.

Despite his public silence, it is understood that Dutton on Friday privately told Turnbull that he was comfortable with the government's energy policy.

Turnbull threw all leadership positions in the Liberal Party open early Tuesday, inviting challengers to nominate themselves for party leader.

After losing Dutton, a former police officer who ran a powerful department that oversees the country's domestic spy service, border force and national police, quit and moved to the backbench.

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.

That's a question I think you'll have to address to him.

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