How to dump your prime minister - the Australian way

How to dump your prime minister - the Australian way

How to dump your prime minister - the Australian way

Moments after Mr Turnbull announced he may hold the meeting on Friday, Julie Bishop, the foreign minister and the Liberal deputy leader, said she would take part in a leadership contest, if one is held.

Turnbull's tenuous grip on power was under intense pressure Thursday with the man who wants his job launching a second leadership challenge in a week and senior ministers defecting.

Senator Mathias Cormann's resignation yesterday was called "the death knell" for Mr Turnbull.

This file photo taken on August 20, 2018 shows Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull answering a question from the opposition in Parliament as Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, right, looks on in Canberra. Turnbull said the meeting would proceed once the signatures had been verified.

Ms Bishop, a former corporate lawyer, who been a loyal supporter of Mr Turnbull, is set to contest the party's first three-way leadership ballot since December 2009.

Dutton, described by supporters as a pragmatic legislator who gets things done and by detractors as a racist who demonises refugees, has said he has legal advice that he is in the clear.

Opposition Labor Party leader Bill Shorten told Parliament on Thursday it was evidence that "Australia no longer has a functioning government".

That leaves a couple of reported contenders fighting for the leadership: Peter Dutton, probably Scott Morrison, and now perhaps also Julie Bishop, who 7News and Fairfax report is doing the numbers to see whether she has the support.

The petition against Turnbull would need a total of 43 signatures.

"I am optimistic about the potential of our people and will commit all my energy and experience to ensure the best years of our nation lie ahead of us".

Australia has had years of political instability since Prime Minister John Howard lost power in 2007 after more than 11 years in office.

Many Liberal MPs openly admit they don't have a clue about who will be the Prime Minister and leader of their party by early afternoon.

"There's far too much turmoil rather than good government".

The prime minister had hoped the first ballot, called by himself, would end speculation his government had lost faith in him after poor opinion polling and a by-election defeat in Queensland.

Another Turnbull supporter, Darren Chester, apologised to voters and said they "deserve better than numerous things our Federal Parliament has served up in the past 10 years".

The former minister's interest in two Brisbane childcare centres that may have received direct government subsidies since July this year could put him in breach of the constitution.

"Given that today the subject of a member's eligibility was raised in question time and in media reports, I determined to seek advice from the solicitor-general on the issues raised", Mr Porter said in a statement issued just as word spread of the petition. "It's been described by many a form of madness".

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