Asia Politics

Australia’s prime minister looks set to face a second leadership challenge in less than a week

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Key Points
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull survived a leadership challenge by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Tuesday.
  • Dutton, a conservative who has won the support of the powerful right wing of the Liberal Party, resigned from the Cabinet after losing the vote.
  • On Wednesday Dutton told Australian media that he is gauging support for a second attempt to topple Turnbull.
Australia's Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton (2nd R) speaks at Parliament as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (bottom L) looks at his notes in Canberra on August 20, 2018.
SEAN DAVEY | AFP | Getty Images

Australia may be on the verge of new political leadership.

Despite winning a leadership contest earlier this week, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull looks set to face a second challenge by former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

Dutton resigned from his post after losing a cabinet vote 48 to 35 on Tuesday, at which he failed to persuade colleagues that he should be Australia's next leader.

Despite that loss, Dutton told Australian radio Wednesday that he intended to renew his bid to seize power of the Liberal Party of Australia and assume the role of prime minister.

"I'm speaking to colleagues. I'm not going to beat round the bush with that," he said.

Dutton had said earlier that he believed he was the best person to lead his party to the next election. Dutton, a former policeman, is building a platform based on cuts to immigration and tackling domestic energy costs.

In a sign that Dutton might gain the necessary support, four cabinet ministers and six more government ministers tendered resignations Wednesday morning. Turnbull has refused to accept most of these and claimed that those who had agreed to continue had offered "unequivocal support."

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Australian PM survives a leadership challenge

To shore up support, Turnbull has shelved a climate change policy unpopular with right-wing members of his party. He then appealed to a separate faction of lawmakers Wednesday by scrapping plans to reduce corporate taxes for large businesses.

At around 6 a.m. ET, the was roughly flat at 73.5 cents to its U.S. equivalent. By the close of trading Wednesday in Sydney, the ASX 200 share index had slipped 0.209 percent.

Malcolm Turnbull is Australia's seventh prime minister in the last 11 years. No Australian leader has served a full term since John Howard between 2004 and 2007.