Australia

Morrison, Cormann rally around PM amid leadership woes

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A host of government frontbenchers have offered to step down after supporting Peter Dutton in Liberal leadership ballot. Here's how some of the top ministers have sided.

Ten ministers have offered to resign in the wake of Tuesday's Liberal leadership spill, but only three appear to be headed to the backbench. 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to accept the bulk of resignations as he desperately tries to heal the wounds in his party room.

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PM not accepting ministers resignations
PM not accepting ministers resignations

Meanwhile, Wednesday's parliamentary question time saw a host of Liberals stand up and declare their support for the PM.

Treasurer Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt, and Trade Minister Steve Ciobo all declared their support. Not that long ago, Mr Morrison was denying reports he was counting the numbers for a Peter Dutton leadership bid.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison at the dispatch box with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison at the dispatch box with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
AAP

Today, he declared his "full support" for the PM.

Who's resigned? 

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton

The senior Cabinet member tendered his resignation after his failed leadership challenge on Tuesday. Mr Turnbull urged his challenger to stay on saying he "bears no grudges", but ultimately accepted his resignation.

Leadership turmoil continues for Australian PM
Peter Dutton could not be persuaded to stay on as Home Affairs Minister and will plot his next move from the backbench.
AAP

International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

The member of the outer-ministry wrote a scathing resignation letter, saying the party had moved too far away from conservative voters. Mr Turnbull accepted her resignation.

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath

Previously considered a Turnbull loyalist having reportedly helped canvas numbers for him in the 2015 leadership coup, Senator McGrath offered his resignation on Tuesday night. The prime minister did not accept it, but on Wednesday night, the conservative Queensland Senator again met with Mr Turnbull and insisted he accept.  

Liberal Party Senator James McGrath has also quit.
Liberal Party Senator James McGrath was one of Turnbull's numbers man in 2015, but is now supporting Peter Dutton.
AAP

Who's offered to resign? 

Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge

Along with Mr Dutton, Mr Tudge is one of three ministers who oversees the powerful Home Affairs department. He offered his resignation but has reportedly agreed to stay on under Mr Turnbull for now.  

Health Minister Greg Hunt

The Health Minister would reportedly have run for deputy liberal leader had Mr Dutton's challenge been successful. His resignation offer has not been accepted.

Health Minister Greg Hunt
Health Minister Greg Hunt reportedly wants to be deputy Liberal leader if Peter Dutton wins a second tilt at the leadership.
AAP

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan

Mr Keenan offered his resignation, but later issued a short statement of support for the prime minister.

Trade Minister Steve Ciobo 

The high-profile minister offered his resignation, which was not accepted. He later issued a call for unity to defeat Labor at the next election.

The 10 frontbenchers who offered to quit following the leadership spill motion.
The 10 frontbenchers who offered to quit following the leadership spill motion.
SBS News

Cybersecurity Minister Angus Taylor 

Mr Taylor is the third minister tied to Mr Dutton's Home Affairs portfolio to offer his resignation. Mr Turnbull has not accepted his resignation.

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar 

Mr Sukkar's resignation was not accepted by the prime minister, despite it reportedly being the first offered.

Assistant Science, Jobs and Innovation Minister Zed Seselja

The ACT Liberal Senator is well known as a conservative whose views align with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but his resignation was also not accepted. 

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Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann express support for Turnbull as PM
Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann express support for Turnbull as PM

Who's definitely not resigning? 

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop

Malcolm Turnbull's deputy leader said on Tuesday she would not be vacating her post. Despite polling higher than Mr Dutton in the polls, Ms Bishop told the ABC she was satisfied with her current role. 

"I will do my very best to act out that role as deputy in support of the Coalition delivering good government for the Australian people,” she said.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne 

Before and after the leadership spill, Mr Pyne put his hand up as a proud supporter of Mr Turnbull, calling the repeated changes at the top an "infectious disease". 

Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne during Question Time in the House Of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, August 16, 2018. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Christopher Pyne has been a vocal supporter of Malcolm Turnbull.
AAP

“It has to end, and it ended today when Malcolm Turnbull was re-elected by his colleagues," he said after the vote.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann

The finance minister, who was also the government's leader in the Senate and chief negotiator with the crossbench, has been critical to shoring up Mr Turnbull's leadership so far.

While he's a friend of Mr Dutton he said he believed changing leaders would have a destabilising effect on government. 

Treasurer Scott Morrison 

The treasurer is standing by the PM, even fronting the media with Mr Turnbull on Wednesday

"This is my leader and I'm ambitious for him," he told reporters.

Only a few months ago, "ScoMo" was hosing down reports he was counting the numbers for a Peter Dutton leadership bid.

Who said what?

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was ousted by Mr Turnbull in 2015, spoke with 2GB on Wednesday afternoon, telling Ben Fordham "it's absolutely not about me".

"All any of us should be worried about is ensuring how we can give Australia the best possible government," he said.

"The point that I’ve always made is that I want the era of the political assassin end – but I also want to see the best possible government."

He said he considered Mr Dutton "serious" on getting power prices down and combating the Labor party's push on an emission targets.

But Mr Abbott said he had not been promised anything under a possible Dutton government.

"I don't do deals - I ask for nothing, I expect nothing," he said.

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