Leadership spill: Australians 'putting out potatoes' for Peter Dutton

Leadership spill: Australians 'putting out potatoes' for Peter Dutton

The Turnbull government has lost 38 consecutive Newspolls to the opposition Labor party, exceeding the 30 Newspoll mark the prime minister set for Tony Abbott when he deposed him as Liberal leader and prime minister in September 2015.

Speaking in Canberra after losing a party room ballot 48 votes to 35, Mr Dutton did not rule out a second tilt at the nation's top job.

35 Liberal MPs - a significant chunk - voted for Peter Dutton in a surprise vote Turnbull called.

The prime minister of Australia was fighting for his political life last night as conservative backbench MPs plotted to topple him.

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.

On August 18, he tweeted: "In relation to media stories today, just to make very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government".

Three years later, Australia's first woman prime minister was gone when Rudd finally took his revenge after a failed 2012 coup attempt.

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However, those who didn't support it threatened to "cross the floor" - that is, vote against it in Parliament.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has positioned himself to move if he chooses.

"Scott Morrison will act as Home Affairs Minister". "Our job is to work for the people who put us here". Mr Turnbull and Mr Dutton are both declining to speak at this time.

Mr Abbott said: 'It's no way to run a government, making absolute commitments on Tuesday and breaking them on Friday'.

"I certainly believe Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election", she told 2GB radio yesterday.

Dutton will now move to the back bench following the contest, leaving the "wounded" prime minister to reshuffle his cabinet.

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