Turnbull survives leadership contest but battle far from over

Greg Lawrence
August 21, 2018

The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has survived a leadership challenge from his hardline conservative home affairs minister, but has been "mortally wounded" by the attempted coup and could face another attempt on his job within days.

Former Liberal minister Peter Dutton has spoken to the media after challenging Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal leadership in a partyroom meeting this morning.

Turnbull won the ballot 48-35, but the episode seriously undermined his position. One member abstained while another, Arthur Sinodinos, was absent due to illness. Mr Turnbull and Mr Dutton are both declining to speak at this time.

He also took a crack at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, repeatedly saying that a Labor government would simply be the worst goddamn thing to befall this nation.

The longer Turnbull remains prime minister, the worse the government's opinion polling was likely to become, Economou said.

"They don't like us being focused on ourselves or talking about each other".

Mr. Frydenberg said voters were exhausted of governments repeatedly changing their prime ministers.

Mr Hawke was 62 when he was eventually toppled, a year younger than Mr Turnbull is now.

Again, without naming the former leader, Entsch quoted Abbott's remark on Friday that the changes to the National Energy Guarantee were "no way to run a government".

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People trapped without food, water and electricity anxious about being left without help as their phone batteries were dying. At least 324 people have been killed in rain and flood-related incidents, while 223,139 sheltered in 1,500 relief camps.

"I don't actually expect a challenge today, but we'll wait and see", he told the ABC on Tuesday. "I believe that Malcolm Turnbull is the right person to lead us to the next election".

Not one prime minister in the last 11 years has served a full term without challenge.

Turnbull made a major concession to his opponents within his party on Monday by abandoning plans to legislate to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The concession avoided the most conservative government lawmakers voting against the legislation in Parliament, openly undermining his authority.

After all, it's only three years since he launched his own "spill" to oust former prime minister Tony Abbott.

"But I have most enjoy being minister for home affairs because of the people who work within those agencies and the incredibly important work that they support". Listing his achievements in his job, he told reporters he stood before them able to "show a smile and show a different side". "That's exactly what he's been a wrecker, and he needs to get out of the joint".

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".

Mr Dutton attended a leadership meeting with Mr Turnbull earlier on Tuesday.

It is the latest chapter in a turbulent period for Australian politics. However, Mr Turnbull has consistently rated higher than Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister.

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