Malcolm Turnbull has reportedly held a crisis meeting between cabinet members as he faces a horror new poll and calls for a change in leadership.
A new Fairfax Ipsos poll has revealed support for the coalition has plummeted following the government’s fierce debates over energy policy. Now, the primary vote has reportedly plunged by six points to 33 per cent, while Turnbull’s lead as preferred PM has plummeted by nine points to 48 per cent.
Just hours ago, cabinet members were filmed entering Parliament House to discuss energy policy, but it’s claimed there were also talks to address calls for Peter Dutton to challenge the leadership – something he has repeatedly denied wanting to do.
Everyone from Treasurer Scott Morrison to Leader of the House Christopher Pyne and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack were filmed at the meeting, as the Sydney Morning Herald reports Dutton now has enough support to challenge the PM for the top spot – should he wish to.
Despite the claims, the publication also reports Turnbull’s supporters have rallied round him and insist he has majority support.
According to Nine News, one of Dutton’s Liberal supporters said: “We are going off a cliff under Turnbull.” 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.”
However, the site reports not everyone agreed with Dutton becoming leader, with another senior Liberal polly saying: “Peter Dutton is one of the most unpopular people in government. It would be electoral suicide to have him as leader.”
It comes after Turnbull dismissed claims of a leadership challenge over the weekend, telling reporters his main focus was the National Energy Guarantee.
“I’m focused on getting energy prices down and I’ll leave you to all of the speculation,” he told the ABC.
He appeared to have support from Dutton at the time, who tweeted: “In relation to media stories today, just to make it very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government.”
In relation to media stories today, just to make very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government. My position hasn’t changed from my comments last Thursday.
— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) August 17, 2018
It comes after former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce suggested Turnbull should reconsider his ability to lead the Coalition to victory before the next federal election.
“I’ve always said openly that if a person gets to a point where they think they can’t win an election then they should consult with their colleagues about what happens next,” Joyce told ABC radio.