Australian PM urges unity after surviving leadership challenge

A spokesman for the minister on Monday said “Mr Dutton’s legal advice clearly states there is no breach of Section 44.”

Mr Dutton resigned from the cabinet after rejecting an offer to stay as Home Affairs minister, and refused multiple chances when questioned by reporters to rule out another challenge.

Treasurer Scott Morrison will act as Home Affairs Minister.

After losing Dutton, a former police officer who ran a powerful department that oversees the country's domestic spy service, border force and national police, quit and moved to the backbench, broadcaster ABC reported.

But the bill had support from lawmakers outside Turnbull's center-right Liberal Party, and it appears likely that the leader is caving to pressure from conservative members of his own party, according to the Times. Government lawmaker Nola Marino said Mr. Turnbull won 48 votes to 35.

Some political commentators believe that Dutton, buoyed by his strong showing, could challenge Turnbull again within days, especially if there is a mass exodus from the Cabinet. However, a state election in the state of Victoria scheduled for late November is seen limiting Turnbull to dates before the end of October if he meant to hold a national poll this year. Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was ousted by his deputy Julia Gillard in 2010.

"We know that disunity undermines the ability of any government to get its job done and unity is absolutely critical", Turnbull added.

Just yesterday Mr Turnbull said he had Mr Dutton's "absolute support".


Turnbull called the vote at a meeting of conservative Liberal Party lawmakers as speculation mounted about his support within the government, which is gearing up for a general election due early next year.

Eric Abetz has said that, based on how things have gone in the past, we're probably looking at another challenge and, for the first time in his freaky laugh, this motherfucker is probably right.

Had just seven votes gone the other way, he would have lost office, and so the talk in Canberra has been when, not if, a second challenge would come.

The vote comes a day after Ten News revealed a possible section 44 constitutional cloud over Dutton's business interests which could make him ineligible to sit in parliament.

But that was hardly the resounding vote of confidence Turnbull sought. "I very much want to support the government and make sure the Coalition can win the next election".

But former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was replaced by Turnbull in a ballot of government lawmakers in 2015, advised Turnbull in a statement on Tuesday that "unity has to be created and loyalty has to be earned".

Liberals said the claims were certain to spark claims that Mr Dutton's political enemies were behind the story, but Professor Twomey told Fairfax Media she had been asked by Ten News about the legal issue on Monday of last week. I would like to contribute to public debates.

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