Australian PM refuses to concede, dangles second leadership ballot

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at a news conference at Parliament House in Canberra Australia

Australian PM rejects Cabinet resignations as new challenge looms

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Aug. 23, 2018.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is under mounting pressure from supporter of his rival, former Cabinet minister Peter Dutton, to hold a leadership ballot of lawmakers in their conservative Liberal Party on Thursday.

Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, an ex-police officer and right-wing conservative, said he was confident he now had the numbers to unseat Turnbull, considered a moderate.

A second spill appears likely on Friday, with Mr Turnbull pledging to call a party room meeting at 12pm if he is presented with a petition showing majority support within the party for a change of leadership.

If Mr Turnbull is ousted, he would become the fourth leader in just a decade to have suffered a party coup within their first term. News Corp's The Australian today suggests Turnbull's challenger Peter Dutton has "displayed political cut-through" with a plan to exempt power bills from the GST. But they failed to get the minimum 43 signatures that were required.

Dutton said he was canvassing for support to take another tilt at Turnbull, possibly as early as this week.

Notwithstanding these caveats, the substance of the Solicitor-General's opinion is that there was no "agreement" between RHT Investments, the company owned by Mr Dutton's family trust, and the Commonwealth, and therefore "no agreement in which Mr Dutton could have an indirect pecuniary interest by virtue of his status as a beneficiary of the RHT Family Trust".

Cormann, the finance minister, had publicly stated his support for Turnbull on Wednesday, but on Thursday said Dutton should lead the government.

The Australian Parliament shut down on Thursday as the government passed a motion adjourning the House of Representatives at midday until September 10.

Chinese bombers training for strikes on U.S. and its allies, claims Pentagon
China when asked about this said, they are restructuring its ground force to enable the military to "fight and win" . The document also warns that China "is likely preparing for a contingency to unify Taiwan with China by force".

He accused a minority in the party room and others outside parliament of trying "to bully, intimidate others into making this change of leadership that they're seeking".

In the Australian system, the leader of the largest party takes on the role of prime minister.

The government prevented the referral of the matter of Dutton's eligibility to sit in parliament under Section 44 of the Constitution by a single vote.

Cormann said he, Jobs and Innovation Minister Michaelia Cash and Communications Minister Mitch Fifield had told Turnbull it was "in the best interests of the Liberal Party to help manage an orderly transition to a new leader".

Bishop said the resignations of Dutton and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, the former minister for global development and the Pacific, were accepted.

In a frantic Thursday morning, Australia's opposition parties lost a parliament vote that would have forced a court to determine whether Dutton is eligible for the premiership.

The division in the ruling party has thrown national politics into upheaval. Government lawyers are investigating the case.

Dutton, whose switch to the backbench after resigning from Cabinet on Tuesday allowed him to openly canvass for support, has sought to show off his softer side in a bid to appeal to more voters.

Latest News