U-turns leave Malcolm Turnbull on the ropes and facing coup

Lester Mason
August 21, 2018

SPECULATION that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will be challenged by Peter Dutton was gaining momentum last night after backflips over energy policy and open warfare with Tony Abbott.

The head of the Liberal National Party's Queensland branch was yesterday calling the 21 MPs and senators from the state urging them to switch their support to Dutton, arguing they could save their seats and might even pick up another one from Labor but faced doom under Turnbull.

The move came after Dutton visited Turnbull in the ministerial wing of Parliament House shortly before the formal meeting, clearing the way for a decision over the leadership as conservatives agitate for a change in the government's direction.

Mr Dutton attended Mr Turnbull's office on Tuesday morning, shortly before the prime minister made the leadership announcement.

"He (Mr Turnbull) looks like he's in panic mode", a "senior figure" involved in the campaign against the Prime Minister told the newspaper. But Turnbull ousted Abbott as prime minister in 2015 in a leadership ballot of government lawmakers concerned by the government's poor opinion polling.

"What we've seen here is a prime minister who has clearly listened to concerns", Mr Joyce said.

Treasurer Scott Morrison told Sky News Mr Turnbull was the "right prime minister" while Education Minister Simon Birmingham said he believed Mr Dutton supported the PM.

It was reported that Mr Dutton, Home Affairs Minister, did not attend the meeting. Another reportedly added: "I think Malcolm Turnbull is terminal and will be very surprised if he is still leader by the end of the year".

A Fairfax-Ipsos poll published on Monday showed 55 per cent of voters surveyed supported Labor and only 45 per cent supported the government.

"Mr Turnbull is truly a white flag prime minister", Mr Shorten said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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