Malcolm Turnbull to face party room as Peter Dutton considers leadership challenge

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

While Turnbull has won the day, the battle for the leadership of the party is not over.

Labor's Kevin Rudd became the second Australian prime minister to be dumped while in office when Julia Gillard rolled him in 2010 just before an election. Many were looking to Peter Dutton, the hardline...

The move triggers a cabinet reshuffle amid recriminations over the cabinet ministers who are suspected of fuelling some of the instability in recent days, raising questions over whether any of Mr Dutton's allies may also stand down.

After his abortive attempt to snatch the leadership of the Liberal Party, it was pretty clear that Peter Dutton's position in Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet was, shall we say, untenable.

Mr Turnbull defeated Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in a party room ballot in Canberra on Tuesday.

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However, Mr Turnbull has consistently rated higher than Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister.

Coincidentally, Turnbull as opposition leader in November 2009 faced a spill motion.

But the move has failed to silence conservative critics within the Coalition.

Turnbull said his slim parliamentary majority and internal dissent, with some government members saying they would vote against the energy policy, left him no option but to remove the emission cuts that were part of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Such a situation occurred when Turnbull took the leadership from Abbott, with an "empty chair" challenge in February 2015 returning Abbott but a September 2015 challenge seeing Turnbull take the top job.

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The disunity came to a head on Monday when Turnbull was forced to shelve plans to embed carbon emissions targets in law after a revolt by fellow Liberal politicians.

"I'm certain he is telling the truth", he told the Nine Network.

One federal Liberal MP, Trent Zimmerman, said Mr Spence should "get back in his box" and focus on helping the LNP win government in Queensland.

The prime minister declared the leadership vacant after entering the party room with his deputy Julie Bishop shortly after 9am on Tuesday morning.

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