Turnbull Barely Survives Leadership Showdown With Dutton
BREAKING: Turnbull just got rekt.
Malcolm Turnbull has been mortally wounded as Prime Minister after barely surviving a leadership vote against Peter Dutton this morning. Below is our rolling coverage of the vote.
Peter Dutton has refused to rule out a second challenge against Malcolm Turnbull after the PM narrowly defeated the now former Home Affairs Minister in a partyroom spill this morning.
The PM won by just 13 votes — 48 to 35 — meaning 42 percent of his partyroom voted against him, and only seven votes would need to switch for him to lose the support of his partyroom. Turnbull called the spill quickly this morning after panic set in within the Liberal party over the last few days.
Almost every front page in the country this morning suggested that Turnbull’s time as PM was almost up. Turnbull called the vote quickly, meaning Dutton did not have enough time to court more votes to his side.
Very much ON. pic.twitter.com/EDnCDnj2P5
— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) August 20, 2018
The result is a disaster for the PM. With only a few days of real counting, Dutton almost unseated him as PM. The battle for the leadership is likely to continue in the coming weeks.
Speaking hours after the vote was held, Turnbull attempted to shift the focus onto Bill Shorten, saying he had secured the overwhelming support of his partyroom.
“My job is to do everything I can to ensure that we are united and work together,” he told reporters. “It is really important that we put this sort of, differences… behind us and get on with our job of looking after the 25 million Australians who have put us here.”
Speaking to the media a short while later, Dutton said he challenged the PM because he believed he had the best shot at winning the next election, and declined several opportunities to rule out another challenge in the near future.
“The problem is that Bill Shorten would be a disastrous prime minister of this country and I believe I had the best prospect of leading the Liberal party to success at the next election,” he said. “That was not to be today and I understand and I respect the outcome and I fully support the prime minister and the cabinet.”
Dutton has now resigned as Home Affairs Minister and will move to the backbench, where he will be free to speak out on government policy and destabilise the PM. Turnbull today confirmed reports that he had asked Dutton to stay on in the portfolio, but Dutton refused.
The position of Deputy Leader was also spilled and Julie Bishop was re-elected unopposed.