Australian PM waters down energy bill to dampen leadership pressure

Katie Ramirez
August 21, 2018

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said earlier Mr Dutton had told him the prime minister has his absolute support.

The Liberal party room will meet on Tuesday amid growing speculation the Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton is considering a leadership challenge.

The deputy leadership was also declared vacant, but Julie Bishop was the only person nominated so hung on to her role.

The PM won the vote 48-35, from 86 members of the Liberal partyroom.

Despite Mr Turnbull's capitulation to energy policy rebels in his ranks, the expectation his leadership is under threat has grown.

"I think the public would react very negatively to another change of leadership without them having a vote".

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.

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Gary Spence, LNP president in Queensland, urged federal MPs to replace Mr Turnbull with Mr Dutton, arguing he would do better at defending the Coalition's nine marginal seats in the state.

"If we are fighting amongst ourselves, guess what, when the voters go to the election, they'll mark us down as they should", Mr Laundy said.

Labor Senator Kristina Keneally said Labor could not make a commitment to the policy because it did not know what version of the NEG would come out of the Coalition party room on Tuesday.

After losing Dutton, a former police officer who ran a powerful department that oversees the country's domestic spy service, border force and national police, quit and moved to the backbench, broadcaster ABC reported.

The dissent has been actively fomented by Tony Abbott and his supporters.

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the prime minister should call an election, if he survives the week. However, Mr Turnbull has consistently rated higher than Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister. Mr Abbott told reporters outside Parliament House on Monday evening.

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