UPDATE at 1:50 PM | MALCOLM Turnbull has announced he will call a partyroom meeting at midday on Friday for a vote on the leadership, only if he is handed the signed petition proving that he has indeed lost the support of his party.
In an extraordinary press conference on Thursday afternoon, the wounded Prime Minister said he would quit politics alltogether if he is rolled as leader.
Mr Turnbull said he was “appalled” at the events of the past week.
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“Australians will be rightly appalled by what they are witnessing in their nation’s parliament today and in the course of this week,” he said.
“The House has been adjourned at the request of Mr Dutton and so I now await a letter with the signatures of a majority of the party room.
“As soon as I get that (letter), my intention is to hold a party meeting at midday tomorrow.
“When the party room meeting is called, I will invite a spill motion to be moved. If the motion is carried, I will treat that as a vote of no confidence and I will not stand as a candidate in the ballot.”
The defiant Prime Minister – Australia’s sixth in nine years – also questioned Mr Dutton’s eligibility to sit in parliament.
“It’s important that before the party meeting is held, we have access to the advice of the Solicitor-General on the eligibility of Mr Dutton to sit in the Parliament and we expect that advice to be available first thing in the morning,” he said.
“This is a very, very significant point.
“As we all know section 44 has been a companion of this 45th Parliament, but we can — I cannot underline too much how important it is that anyone who seeks to be Prime Minister of Australia is eligible to be a member of Parliament.”
UPDATE @ 12:40 PM | CURRENT Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to address the nation in a press conferance scheduled for 1pm.
There are fresh reports this afternoon that there will be no party room meeting today.
MORE TO COME.
UPDATE @ 12:30 PM | THE Government has successfully shut down the House of Representatives for the day. It will not sit again until September 10.
Labor leader, Bill Shorten, says Australia no longer has a functioning government.
The Opposition leader said the decision to shut down the House was the ultimate admission of surrender from a “bankrupt government”.
“The government may adjourn the parliament, but they can’t outrun the weight of failure,” he said.
“It’s not the parliament that’s failed. It’s the Turnbull government. Australia no longer has a functioning government.”
It remains unclear exactly when the Liberal Party will meet to discuss the leadership.
The Senate will continue to sit for the remainder of the day.
UPDATE @ 9.50AM | THREE Senior Minister appear to have delivered the fatal blow to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, announcing they have resigned from the frontbench.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash fronted the media on Thursday morning following a meeting with the Prime Minister, in which they claim they told Mr Turnbull he no longer had the support of the Liberal Party party room.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we went to see the prime minster yesterday afternoon to advise him that in our judgement he no longer enjoyed the support of the majority of members of the Liberal Party party room and it was in the best interest of the Liberal Party for the Prime Minister to help manage an orderly transition to a new leader,” Senator Cormann said.
“The reason we came to that view is because of the number of colleagues that came forward who supported Malcolm in the leadership ballot on Tuesday who indicated to us that they had change their position.”
Senator Cormann said the Prime Minister had declined his resignation from the ministry on Wednesday.
At a further meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday morning, Senator Cormann said he and ministers Fifield and Cash had tendered their resignations.
“We are very conscious of the seriousness of the decision that we’ve made.”
He said it was a difficult thing for him to do and praised Mr Turnbull.
“I believe that Malcolm Turnbull has been and is a great prime minister. I believe that he will go down in history as having secured amazing achievements for Australia,” Senator Cormann said.
It comes after Peter Dutton confirmed earlier he wanted to challenge Mr Turnbull for the leadership once again.
UPDATE @ 8.15 AM | PETER Dutton has confirmed he will again challenge Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party.
“A few minutes ago I spoke with Malcolm Turnbull to advise him I believed the majority of the party room no longer supported his leadership,” Dutton said in a tweet.
“Accordingly, I asked him to convene a party room meeting at which I would challenge for the leadership of the Parliamentary Liberal Party.”
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) August 22, 2018
More to come.
EARLIER @ 7.30 AM | The Prime Minister may be facing another challenge from Peter Dutton as a small group of conservative MPs push for a change of leadership.
After a bungled leadership attempt on Tuesday, Mr Dutton has been “working the phones” as he builds momentum for another tilt at the top job.
Only last night a letter was circulated calling for Liberal Party members to meet and discuss the leadership.
Today Malcolm Turnbull has overtaken Gough Whitlam to become the 15th longest serving Australia prime minister at 2 years, 342 days. pic.twitter.com/P0k84JKqv4
— Alice Workman (@workmanalice) August 22, 2018
This was met with a stony silence from the Prime Minister, and the debate is expected to continue today.
A worrying sign for supporters of Mr Dutton is a Roy Morgan poll, that shows the former Home Affairs Minister would lose to Labor Leader Bill Shorten at a Federal Election.
Another spanner in the works for Dutton backers is Nationals MP Kevin Hogan.
Mr Hogan says if there’s another leadership spill he’ll move to the crossbench, leaving the government in limbo.
After staving off the first challenge, the Prime Minister has been drubbing up support.
He spoke at a news conference yesterday flanked by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Corman, who both gave the Prime Minister a vote of confidence.
Mr Turnbull has also reportedly forced Cabinet Ministers to swear loyalty to him.
But this move has backfired with some Minister deciding to abandon Mr Turnbull.
According to Sky News, Ministers Michael Sukkar and Zed Seslja have resigned this morning, while James McGrath quit last night.
Mr Sukkar and Mr Seselja refused Mr Turnbull’s offer to remain as Ministers despite voting for Mr Dutton.
Most political pundits expect the leadership challenge will come to a head today, as it’s the last day of parliament until September 10.
With Kevin Hogan threatening to sit on the cross bench if Malcolm Turnbull is rolled we are now in the mutually assured destruction phase of this leadership farce. It is time for the Australian people to be given a say on who should be PM. #electionnow https://t.co/fRpy7LXB16
— Chris Uhlmann (@CUhlmann) August 22, 2018