Turnbull holds off Dutton challenge - for now - by 48-35

The numbers are against Australia's former prime minister Tony Abbott but he has history on his side

ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN The numbers are against Australia's former prime minister Tony Abbott but he has history on his side

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared the leadership vacant and will officially recontest his position against Peter Dutton.

But the result - narrow by historical standards for a first strike against a prime minister - sets the Turnbull government up for further instability and the possibility of another ballot before the next federal election.

Julie Bishop was re-elected unopposed as deputy leader. "Now there's a call for nominations".

After the vote, Dutton resigned as Home Affairs Minister, moving to the backbench.

The move followed Mr Dutton's failed Liberal leadership challenge at this morning's Liberal partyroom meeting.

Down in the polls and desperate to hold on to his position, Malcolm Turnbull knows a leadership challenge could be near. It's reminiscent of the #putoutyourbats tribute to late cricketer Phillip Hughes, and the #putoutyouronions trend when Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership.

"Scott Morrison will act as Home Affairs Minister".




Mr Turnbull said the climate policy was not supported by all of his colleagues.

Neither Turnbull or Dutton have spoken yet following the vote.

Moments later, Turnbull emerged victorious, taking 48 votes to Dutton's 35 in the spill contest. We have now moved nearly 400 people off Manus Island and Nauru and that is a significant achievement.

Turnbull made the announcement Monday, telling reporters that the National Energy Guarantee, a policy bill outlining the targets, would not be introduced in the House of Representatives, citing a lack of support, according to The New York Times.

Mr Turnbull has also faced increased pressure in recent weeks after losing a by-election in Queensland.

"I certainly believe Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election", she told 2GB radio yesterday.

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