Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull could face another leadership spill this afternoon, and this time he is unlikely to survive.
Challenger Peter Dutton confirmed he is plotting a second run at the prime ministership, and claimed he only needs three more votes to take the top job.
Dutton’s camp said they have secured 40 out of the 43 votes required to seize the Liberal Party leadership.
Undeterred by his defeat in Tuesday’s leadership spill, the new backbencher admitted he was gathering support for another attempt.
‘Of course I am, I am speaking to colleagues,’ Mr Dutton said when asked if he was working on a second challenge by Neil Mitchell on 3AW.
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Peter Dutton (pictured) has admitted his is plotting a second challenge for the prime ministership
The admission from the former Queensland police officer comes amid rumours Treasurer Scott Morrison (pictured, left, with Malcolm Turnbull) is preparing for his own tilt at the top job
After being asked how long he would respect the partyroom’s decision, the former Home Affairs Minister said still believes that he offers the best chance of beating Bill Shorten at the next election.
‘If I believe that a majority of colleagues support me then I would consider my position … that’s how I see it,’ he said.
‘The judgement needs to be what puts us in the best position to beat Bill Shorten, and I believe I have ideas and a vision for Australia … [and] the experience to beat Bill Shorten.’
The admission from the former Queensland police officer comes amid revelations Treasurer Scott Morrison is preparing for his own tilt at the top job.
A Liberal MP claimed Mr Morrison does not wish to be deputy leader under Mr Dutton, and is now angling for the leadership.
‘Scott Morrison is now running around to put a ticket between himself and Peter Dutton,’ the MP told Ray Hadley on 2GB.
‘He won’t serve as deputy to Peter Dutton, he wants to be the leader.’
Mr Morrison appeared in a triumphant photo after the leadership spill, pointing at Mr Turnbull in support, despite harbouring his own leadership ambitions.
Mr Turnbull, who has not made any media appearances on Wednesday, has called for unity after fending off the leadership threat
Alex Hawke and Ben Morton were doing the numbers in the open for Mr Morrison on Wednesday morning, several MPs told The Australian.
Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne, a staunch supporter of the Prime Minister, said the Government was dangerously close to self-destruction.
‘I think the government is skating close to the precipice and my colleagues need to understand that,’ Mr Pyne told FIVEaa.
‘People need to take stock of the destruction that they are wreaking on the government and this is actually a zero sum game.
‘Stability is our watch word for the future. Instability will see Bill Shorten as prime minister of Australia and potentially very soon.’
MINISTERS WHO HAVE OFFERED TO RESIGN AFTER FAILED SPILL
* Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull urged his challenger to stay on, but ultimately accepted his resignation.
* Human Services Minister Michael Keenan. Offered resignation, but later issued statement of support for the prime minister.
* Trade Minister Steve Ciobo. Offered resignation, which was not accepted. Later issued a call for unity to defeat Labor at the next election.
* Health Minister Greg Hunt. Reportedly would have run for deputy had Mr Dutton won the challenge. His resignation offer has not been accepted.
* International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. Believes the party has moved too far away from conservative voters. Mr Turnbull accepted her resignation.
* Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge. Mr Turnbull has not accepted his resignation.
* Cybersecurity Minister Angus Taylor. Mr Turnbull has not accepted his resignation.
* Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar. Resignation not accepted by the prime minister.
* Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath. Mr Turnbull has not accepted his resignation.
* Assistant Science, Jobs and Innovation Minister Zed Seselja. Prime minister has not accepted his resignation.
Contributing to Mr Turnbull’s (pictured with Julie Bishop) leadership woes are a string of poor public polls and internal anger over his government’s energy and climate change policies
Backers of Mr Dutton believe his support levels are quickly climbing.
‘Now that the genie is out of the bottle, I’m not sure we can put it back,’ Liberal MP Craig Kelly told the ABC.
Mr Dutton has started a media campaign to reach out to Australian voters, with migration, energy and fuel prices in his sights.
He called for a royal commission on fuel and energy prices, and said he would consider removing the GST on electricity for families and pensioners.
He also pledged to cut Australia’s immigration intake if elected leader.
‘We have to cut the numbers back [but] I haven’t got a number to give to you today,’ Mr Dutton told 3AW.
At least ten ministers, including four from Cabinet, offered to stand down after voting against Mr Turnbull.
But so far Mr Turnbull has only accepted two of their resignations, including that of Mr Dutton.
He also dropped International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells after she wrote a scathing letter criticising the Liberal party for ‘drifting too far to the left’.
Mr Turnbull, who has not made any media appearances on Wednesday, has called for unity after fending off the leadership threat.
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF MALCOLM TURNBULL
* The coalition scrapes back into power with a one-seat majority, scoring 50.4 per cent of the two-party vote.
* Proposed same-sex marriage plebiscite is defeated in the Senate.
* Government restores the building industry watchdog
* Government passes controversial backpacker tax.
* Turnbull reshuffles cabinet after an expenses scandal forces the resignation of health minister Sussan Ley.
* PM hoses down reports he was berated by US President Donald Trump over a refugee swap deal.
* Cory Bernardi quits the Liberals to start his own Australian Conservatives party
* Small business tax cuts pass parliament, but broader plan stalls.
* Turnbull unveils plans to make it harder to become an Australian citizen.
* Treasurer Scott Morrison hands down his second budget, announcing a gradual thaw of the Medicare rebate freeze that almost cost Turnbull the election.
* New bank levy clears parliament.
* Turnbull responds to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s review of the energy market with new rules to restrict gas exports and a plan to scrap a process that allows power companies to raise prices.
* Major school funding overhaul, aka Gonski 2.0, clears parliament with crossbench support.
* Citizenship debacle begins with Greens senator Scott Ludlam resigning. Coalition two-party position slips to 45 per cent.
* Pauline Hanson wears a burqa in parliament. Attorney-General George Brandis describes it as an ‘appalling thing to do’.
* Cabinet minister Fiona Nash and crossbencher Nick Xenophon referred to the High Court over their dual citizenship.
* The High Court boots Barnaby Joyce from parliament because of his dual New Zealand citizenship, while federal minister Matt Canavan and Nick Xenophon can remain.
* 61.6 per cent of Australians say yes to same-sex marriage in a postal survey.
* Turnbull announces a royal commission into misconduct in the financial sector.
* Barnaby Joyce wins by-election and tells parliament that he is separated.
* Same-sex marriage is legalised after new laws clear federal parliament.
* Labor senator Sam Dastyari quits parliament over his Chinese donor connections
* Turnbull pledges a year of ‘rewards’ for Australians after two years of economic reforms.
* After news of his affair with a former staffer breaks in the media, Barnaby Joyce resigns as deputy prime minister and Nationals leader.
* Turnbull says Liberal win in South Australian election is an endorsement of the government’s energy plan.
* Turnbull loses his 30th consecutive Newspoll and shrugs it off as ministers rally around him
* Katy Gallagher case in the High Court leads to more citizenship resignations, this time on the Labor side and crossbencher Rebekha Sharkie.
* The government’s $144billion personal income tax cut plan passes parliament.
* A ‘super Saturday’ of five by-elections brings no wins for the government, with four seats returning to Labor and one crossbench MP.
* Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott speak out over the direction of the government.
* Malcolm Turnbull defeats Peter Dutton 48-35 in a party room leadership ballot. Dutton resigns from frontbench.
A Liberal MP claimed Mr Morrison does not wish to be deputy leader under Mr Dutton, and is now angling for the leadership
‘We’ve got to put 25million Australians first. They hate it when we are talking about each other,’ he said on Tuesday.
But some Liberal MPs believe his position is terminal.
PETER DUTTON’S POLICY PRIORITIES
* Cut the annual permanent migration intake.
* Push migrants towards Western Australia, South Australia and regional areas to reduce congestion in major cities.
* Lower power prices by removing the GST on electricity bills.
* Establish a royal commission into the fuel and energy sectors.
* Potentially withdraw Australia from its Paris agreement climate targets.
* Abandon corporate tax cuts and deliver more relief to wage earners and small businesses instead.
* Deliver more water to drought-stricken farmers.
‘I think there was a shift after the partyroom meeting with the offers of resignation by a considerable number of ministers,’ Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz said.
Meanwhile, at least three Nationals MPs, including Veterans Affairs Minister Darren Chester, are threatening to quit the coalition and move to the cross bench if Mr Dutton seizes power.
‘All options are on the table in a volatile environment,’ Mr Chester told the ABC.
Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce counselled Mr Chester to remember: ‘We don’t have a dog in this fight, it’s for the Liberal Party.’
Victorian Nationals MP Damian Drum said if the Liberals do change leaders, they will need to redraft the coalition agreement.
A leadership change could also trigger an early general election, which could be a hindrance for cash-strapped state Liberal branches still finalising their candidates.
Mr Dutton says he ran because he believed he was the best option to head off a Shorten Labor government.
Contributing to Mr Turnbull’s leadership woes are a string of poor public polls and internal anger over his government’s energy and climate change policies.
Mr Dutton says he ran because he believed he was the best option to head off a Shorten Labor government