Australian PM Turnbull survives leadership challenge

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could have leadership spill on his hands

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could have leadership spill on his hands

But Turnbull ousted Abbott as prime minister in 2015 in a leadership ballot of government lawmakers concerned by the government's poor opinion polling.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared the leadership of the government vacant on Tuesday, a spokesman said, setting up a challenge to his position after weeks of speculation and falling opinion poll numbers.

Abbott deposed Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party in 2009 over differences in energy policy.

Seeking to safeguard his leadership, Turnbull called on his party to back him or risk losing the next election.

"Having lost the ballot today, my job is to respect the view of the party room which I do", he said.

"But with 35 votes against the prime minister following his clever ambush spill against himself today, mark my words, his death warrant has been signed and the scaffolding's been built, it's only now a matter of time".

The leadership instability continues a pattern in Australian federal politics covering almost a decade, that began with the Labor government replacing Kevin Rudd with Julia Gillard in 2010.

"The main feeling tonight is sadness about the disintegration of what should have been a good government that was first elected to bring an end to this sort of political assassination politics that was so much a feature of the former Labor government", she said.

Embattled Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to media.

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"We know that disunity undermines the ability of any government to get its job done, and unity is absolutely critical".

Mr. Frydenberg said voters were exhausted of governments repeatedly changing their prime ministers. Many were looking to Peter Dutton, the hardline...

It has been widely reported that Dutton is still considering a challenge.

"As a team we are able to continue to deliver great results for all Australians". You can not deny the achievements of our government.

Even if Malcolm Turnbull survives a second challenge against Peter Dutton, he looks set to lose the election in a landslide to Labor's Bill Shorten, following 38 consecutive Newspoll losses with this challenge denting his already-crumbling authority.

He briefly thanked his colleagues for their "considerable support", talked about his pride for the Home Affairs portfolio, and then recounted his parliamentary experience, including serving as assistant treasurer in the Howard government under Peter Costello.

When he was asked whether he would make another tilt for the leadership, Dutton wouldn't rule it out.

Malcolm Turnbull staged a second U-turn over climate change in three days yesterday, aimed at saving his job as his Liberal Party slid further behind in the polls.

"I worked with Abbott when he took 25 seats off Labor, so I've no doubt that Bill Shorten is beatable but only by a Coalition with policies it believes in that can be easily explained to voters".

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