Monday, 22 October, 2018

Australia PM Turnbull in crisis with second leadership challenge

BREAKING: Malcolm Turnbull to STAND DOWN if second leadership vote goes ahead The Latest: Australian prime minister could quit Friday | The Sacramento Bee
Kenneth Drake | 24 August, 2018, 02:19

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull leaves a press conference in Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's leadership looked doomed on Thursday after several senior ministers tendered their resignations and called for a second ballot.

Turnbull told reporters this afternoon he was waiting for a letter with the signatures of the majority of the Liberal Party to call a meeting on the prime ministership challenge.

A ReachTel poll conducted Wednesday night found that 29% of voters preferred Bishop as leader of the Liberal Party, ahead of Tony Abbott at 14%, Dutton at 10% and Morrison at 8.6%.

A senior Liberal source told news.com.au that the Foreign Minister would throw her hat in the ring in the event of a leadership spill tomorrow.

The reality is in the Longman result, in the Ipsos poll, in the changes to the NEG, in the constant undermining by conservatives still smarting over many real and imagined slights.

He said: "What is going to happen next, the House has been adjourned at the request of Mr Dutton, so I now await a letter with the signatures of the majority of the partyroom".

Former finance minister and close friend Mathias Cormann believes Mr Dutton has nothing to worry about, backing him as the best person to lead the Liberal Party.

Bishop said the resignations of Dutton and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the former minister for global development and the Pacific, were accepted.

When shown an old image of her sitting next to Turnbull, Gillard was asked to give her first, quick response and she said: "Maybe when I run into him somewhere, we will be assuming that body posture again".


Meanwhile, at least four cabinet ministers have offered their resignation as Liberal MPs position themselves in the ongoing struggle for control of the party.

Peter Dutton says a former solicitor-general has advised him he is eligible to sit as a member of parliament, putting to rest "spurious and unsubstantiated allegations" about his eligibility.

"If anyone needs to depart from this place, it is not the parliament, it is this government of Australia who has lost the confidence not just of its own backbench, not just of the opposition, you've lost the confidence of everyday Australians".

However, there is speculation Mr Dutton may withdraw the petition that had been circulating and instead call for the party whip to call the meeting, given three contenders were now likely.

"Some of the behaviour is behaviour that I simply do not recognise and I think has no place in my party", she said. Julie Bishop is reported to be a potential challenger, as is Scott Morrison.

The unrest is the latest chapter in a turbulent decade for Australian politics, with no leader managing to serve out a full term since John Howard lost the 2007 election.

Labor moved to refer Mr Dutton to the High Court on Thursday morning but the motion was defeated by one vote.

So far 13 ministers have resigned, stepping up pressure on the prime minister to quit.

Dutton, a hardline conservative who carved out his reputation overseeing Australia's harsh immigration policy, is unpopular with moderate voters, raising the possibility that a third, centrist candidate might still emerge.

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