Turnbull survives leadership challenge – for now

Peter Dutton challenged Malcolm Turnbull for the Liberal party leadership on Tuesday, losing 48-35 after the prime minister called a spill. (Photo: Rod McGuirk/AP)

Oz Kiwi Opinion

After the swiftest leadership challenge we’ve seen in recent years, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull emerged triumphant, winning 48 votes to 35 over Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Dutton has resigned his Cabinet position, and as Minister of Home Affairs, and will retire to the Backbench.

The Treaurer, and former Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison is Acting Home Affairs Minister. Expect Dutton’s Citizenship Amendment Bill 2018 to still be tabled in Parliament.

It’s not over yet. Turnbull is in a precarious position with 40 per cent of his own party, and the Nationals, not supporting him. There is also speculation the Dutton’s supporters are already talking of another challenge.

Malcolm Turnbull survives Peter Dutton leadership challenge – for now

Paul Karp – The Guardian

21 August 2018

The Home Affairs Minister resigned and went to the backbench after winning 35 votes to Turnbull’s 48 in leadership spill.

Malcolm Turnbull has held on to his job after vacating the Liberal party leadership and calling a spill, prevailing in a against the Home Affairs Minister, 48 votes to 35.

After a week of mounting pressure on Turnbull’s leadership over his handling of energy policy and election strategy, the Prime Minister used the regular Tuesday party-room meeting to spill the party leadership in an attempt to head off a growing conservative-led move against him.

But the result – narrow by historical standards for a first strike against a Prime Minister – sets the Turnbull government up for further instability and the possibility of another ballot before the next federal election.

Dutton immediately resigned from the Home Affairs Super Ministry, moving to the backbench, where he will not be constrained by cabinet solidarity that has seen him lock in reluctantly behind Turnbull’s position on the national energy guarantee and tax cuts for big business.

Both leadership positions were spilled. The position of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, as deputy Liberal leader was also opened, but she was the only one to nominate and was therefore re-elected.

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

Despite the poll pressure, Turnbull has been able to hold together the government since he narrowly won the 2016 election in the face of consistent internal opposition from Abbott and conservatives who resent attempts to legislate an emissions reduction target in his signature energy policy .

That uneasy peace in the Liberal party was disturbed when Labor won a byelection in the Queensland marginal seat of Longman on 28 July with a 3.5% swing to the opposition, which would tip the Liberal-National Coalition out of government if replicated nationwide.

Dutton, who holds the Queensland marginal seat of Dickson, is favoured by many conservatives and Queensland colleagues, who see his role as home affairs minister implementing the Coalition’s hardline strategy to stop asylum seeker boats through turnbacks and offshore detention as an electoral asset.

Dutton has never made a secret of wanting to lead the Liberal party and become Prime Minister, but so far has been a loyal supporter of Turnbull, who, along with the Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, has protected his position.

As recently as Saturday, Dutton declared that he supported Turnbull’s leadership and the policies of the government, but did not rule out a challenge.

Despite winning the backing of the Coalition party room last Tuesday for the Neg, Turnbull has been forced into a series of excruciating backdowns, at first contemplating moving emissions reduction targets from legislation to regulation then suspending plans to legislate the targets.

Turnbull is still under pressure from conservatives to modify the Coalition’s schools funding package to appease concerns of the Catholic sector and to ditch the Coalition’s policy to cut corporate taxes for companies earning more than $50m.

[Read The Guardian article].

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