UPDATE: 10:07am AEST: Peter Dutton has resigned from the frontbench after a failed attempt to overthrow the Prime Minister.
In a dramatic turn of events on Tuesday morning, Malcolm Turnbull looked set to be overthrown as Prime Minister with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton launching a bid to take over as leader of the Liberal party.
It was announced on Tuesday that there would be a vote in the party room to decide who takes the top job with Dutton, despite previously pledging his loyalty to Turnbull, throwing his name in the ring to be considered.
However his attempt to take down Turnbull was thwarted as he was defeated by 48 votes to 35 in favour of Turnbull retaining the leadership of the party, and therefore the Coalition. According to Sky News, Dutton has now stepped down from his position the frontbench.
.@NolaMarinoMP: The result of the ballot was that @TurnbullMalcolm was elected leader of the Liberal party by a margin of 48 to 35 votes. @JulieBishopMP was the only person who nominated for the position of Deputy Leader.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 20, 2018
Dutton, who had previously denied that he would challenge Turnbull for the top job, required 43 votes to roll the Prime Minister, which he failed to achieve. The Deputy Leader position was also contested however Julie Bishop was he only person nominated, and held on to her job as Malcolm Turnbull’s second in command.
The leadership spill came after Turnbull threw out his signature energy policy in a bid to appease members of his backbench, following days of speculation about the security of his position as Australia’s Prime Minister.
Dutton has consistently shied away from admitting his desire to take on Turnbull, with Liberal MP Christopher Pyne telling Sunrise host Kochie just hours before the party room voted, that Dutton remained loyal to the Liberal leader.
He said: “I’ve spoken to Peter Dutton. He’s told me Malcolm Turnbull has his absolute support,” Pyne told the Sunrise host. “That’s what he’s said consistently. I’ve spoken to almost all the cabinet ministers from the Liberal Party. Every one of them has told me they support the leader.
“If there are people who are saying behind the scenes that’s not true, I guess they have to examine their own conscience.”
If Mr Dutton had won today’s spill he would have become Australia’s sixth PM since 2010, and 30th prime minister overall.
The change would have followed on from a string of changes at the top of Aussie politics, which began when Julia Gillard ousted Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor party in 2010. However the pair then swapped again three years later with Rudd resuming the role of PM. Meanwhile Turnbull landed the top job when he replaced former party leader Tony Abbott in September 2015.