Malcolm Turnbull clings to top job with 48-35 in leadership vote

Malcolm Turnbull clings to top job with 48-35 in leadership vote
Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. Photo by Matt Roberts via Wikimedia Commons

Putting an end to the brief leadership crisis within the Liberal party, Malcolm Turnbull has clung to his position, leaving Peter Dutton defeated.

The sudden leadership spill has answered the threats to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership that have bubbled over the last few weeks, particularly with regards to trying to pass his National Energy Guarantee.

In a snap leadership ballot, the Prime Minister kept his title with 48 votes to 35.

Mr Turnbull forced Mr Dutton to reveal his intentions by declaring all party leadership position vacant in the first minute of the party room meeting today.

Mr Turnbull won the ballot while Deputy Prime Minister Julie Bishop faced no opposition to her role.

However, the results suggest a large split within the Liberal party that could spell trouble in the future.

With the result, Mr Dutton has now quit the frontbench and thus created a big hole in the Government’s cabinet that needs to be filled.

Despite his challenge to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, it is rumoured that Mr Dutton has been allowed to stay working in the Home Affairs ministry

Other Liberals are predicting that other frontbenchers may also resign, which would lead to a large scale reshuffle of cabinet positions.

The Prime Minister’s risky strategy may have staved off leadership speculation for the time being, but it exposes a large split within the Liberal party that Labor can capitalise on in the next election.

To contrast, only yesterday Mr Turnbull spoke of having the “absolute support” of Mr Dutton.

Today’s vote tells us that Mr Dutton has a strong cheering section within the Liberal party room that wants him to replace Mr Turnbull as Prime Minister. It appears that Dutton is more appealing to the hard-line conservatives within the Liberal party.

The instability regarding political leadership remains a running trend in Australia, with Mr Turnbull replacing Tony Abbott in a 2015 leadership spill. That event followed the controversial replacement of Kevin Rudd with Julia Gillard back in 2010.

It will no doubt be interesting to see what becomes of the Liberal party over the coming days and weeks.