Turnbull braces for Round Two as Dutton prepares to strike again

Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership is hanging by a thread as Peter Dutton circles for his job and the Coalition threatens to implode.

The Prime Minister brought things to a head by calling a snap leadership ballot on Tuesday, catching Dutton supporters off guard.

Mr Turnbull narrowly won the vote 48-35 but it wasn’t long before the Dutton camp started plotting its next move.


Mr Turnbull is now bracing for a second leadership challenge, possibly as early as Thursday.

Mr Dutton confirmed to Melbourne radio 3AW that another challenge was a possibility admitting that he had been ‘working the phones’.

“Of course I am, I’m speaking to colleagues, I’m not going to beat around the bush with that,” Mr Dutton said.

“You don’t go into a ballot believing you’re going to lose and If I believe that a majority of colleagues support me then I would consider my position.”

Tuesday’s spill was followed by a raft of ministerial resignations from Dutton supporters.

Trade Minister Steven Ciobo, Health Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Michael Keenan are among those who voted for Dutton and offered to stand down.

So far Mr Turnbull has only accepted the resignations of Mr Dutton and International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

Coalition MPs have been out trying to play down the prospect of another leadership challenge.

Foreign Minister and Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop says she doesn’t think it’s likely and has ruled out throwing her hat in the ring.

“I’m not envisaging that, I’m not challenging Mr Turnbull,” Ms Bishop told Sky News.

“Mr Turnbull has been endorsed by a majority of the party room and I respect the views of the party room, and Peter Dutton says he respects the view of the party room and I take him at his word.”

Ms Bishop also believes there’s been a shift among those who voted for Mr Dutton since Tuesday’s spill.

Critics of Mr Turnbull claim the opposite with Liberal Senator Eric Abetz believing support for Mr Dutton has actually grown in the last 24 hours.

It comes amid reports a number of Liberal and Nationals MPs have threatened to either move to the crossbench or quit politics if Mr Dutton were to become Prime Minister.

That would spark a string of by-elections or force voters to go to a full general election.

Ms Bishop denies she is one of those who have given an ultimatum, but Nationals MP Darren Chester wasn’t ruling anything out.

“All options are on the table,” Mr Chester told reporters in Canberra.

“There’s no reason why any potential challenger, whoever that me be should assume that they can command numbers on the floor of the House of Representatives.”

Small and Family Business Minister and staunch Turnbull supporter Craig Laundy is another MP who has reportedly threatened to walk under a Dutton leadership.