Australia

'I've had a gutful': MPs react to Peter Dutton's second leadership bid

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Several MPs are fed up with the leadership crisis engulfing the Coalition as Peter Dutton launches a second bid to usurp Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

A number of MPs have reacted to the news that Peter Dutton will make a second attempt to challenge the leadership of the Coalition. 

Mr Dutton confirmed on Thursday morning that he would make the second bid to usurp Malcolm Turnbull, telling the prime minister he had the majority support of the Liberal party room.

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Key ministers Mathias Cormann, Michaelia Cash and Mitch Fifield then resigned from cabinet and told the prime minister he no longer has majority support in the Liberal partyroom.

Mr Dutton, the ex-Home Affairs Minister lost a challenge 48 votes to 35 on Tuesday but now wants to have another go at toppling his leader.

 

Nationals MP Kevin Hogan has pledged to quit the government and sit on the crossbench if there is another leadership spill, in a move that could threaten the Coalition's one-seat majority in the House of Representatives.

The Lismore MP issued the ultimatum ahead of an anticipated Liberal leadership spill, with Mr Dutton’s supporters circulating a petition to bring on a leadership ballot for the second time this week.

"The constant rotation of prime ministers by both the Labor Party and the Liberal party, I cannot condone," Mr Hogan said. 

“I have made this decision because my community is fed up. What we have been seeing in Canberra with leadership changes over the last 10 years, is letting our great country down.”

Nationals Member for Page Kevin Hogan at the Nationals Federal Council
File: Nationals Member for Page Kevin Hogan

If Mr Hogan resigns, the government will lose its majority in the Lower House, but won't automatically trigger  

However, the Coalition could still hold on to a minority government, with the support of some independents on the crossbench. 

Other MPs have reacted, including Assistant Minister Mark Coulton who told SBS News he has "had a gutful of it", and likening the showdown to the Roman Colosseum. 

Nationals MP Ken O'Dowd said he was confused by what was going on now. 

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Views on changing leadership
Views on changing leadership

Threats to resign 

Two more federal government ministers have formally resigned to support Peter Dutton's bid to overthrow Malcolm Turnbull.

Assistant ministers Michael Sukkar and Zed Seselja have refused the prime minister's offer to remain on in their positions, throwing their weight behind Mr Dutton ahead of a possible second leadership challenge.

The pair has followed Mr Dutton, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and James McGrath from the front bench.

A small group of Liberal MPs are pushing Mr Dutton, the former home affairs minister, to launch a fresh challenge to Mr Turnbull's leadership.

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Australia faces its sixth prime ministerial change in 11 years
Australia faces its sixth prime ministerial change in 11 years

But new polling shows a Dutton government would crash at the election to Labor leader Bill Shorten, with voters picking the Labor leader over the former home affairs minister.

A defiant prime minister, who has arrived at Parliament House, is holding on to his leadership with support from his two key lieutenants, Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

Mr Dutton's supporters circulated a letter on Wednesday night calling for the party room to meet.

It was unclear how many MPs had actually seen and signed the letter and if any cabinet ministers were willing to shift their support from Mr Turnbull.

Mr Dutton admitted he's calling Liberals to win support for a second challenge after failing 48 votes to 35 in a snap leadership ballot on Tuesday.

The electorate, however, appears to be supporting Mr Turnbull.

A Morgan poll of more than 1200 voters picked Mr Turnbull as the better prime minister over Shorten, 52 per cent to 44.5 per cent.

But Mr Shorten thumped Mr Dutton 59 per cent to 36.5 per cent when voters were given the chance to pick between them.

Mr Dutton launched a media campaign on Wednesday morning, going on Melbourne radio to call for a royal commission into fuel and energy prices.

But Mr Morrison unleashed on Mr Dutton's plan to take the GST off electricity prices, calling it a "budget blower" that would cost $7.5 billion over four years.

Mr Dutton's push for another challenge lost some steam amid questions about his parliamentary eligibility over the public funding of childcare centres held under a family trust.

"The constitution is clear: you can't be taking cash for your business from the government and at the same time be a member of parliament," senior opposition MP Tony Burke told Sky News.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd on Thursday tweeted Mr Dutton did not deserve to lead the country for boycotting the apology to first Australian.

Thursday is the last day of parliament until September 10, with the next scheduled Liberal partyroom meeting on September 11.

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