Timeline: How the rising threat to Turnbull unfolded

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has endured a tumultuous week that could culminate in a second leadership challenge by Peter Dutton.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his frontbench during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his frontbench during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House. Source: AAP

Thursday, 16 August

Peter Dutton says he will quit cabinet if he gets to a point where he cannot agree with government policy.

Friday, 17 August

* Malcolm Turnbull weighs up significant changes to the National Energy Guarantee amid speculation about his leadership, including dumping the legislated emissions target.

Saturday, 18 August

* Dutton tweets his support for the prime minister and the policies of the government.

Sunday, 19 August

* Cabinet meets at parliament to discuss changes to energy policy.

* A Fairfax/Ipsos poll shows the coalition's primary vote has dropped from 39 to 33 in a month and Labor leads the coalition 55-45 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Monday, 20 August

* The PM drops the 26 per cent emissions cut target from NEG legislation.

* Turnbull says Dutton has given "absolute support" to him.

Tuesday, 21 August

* Turnbull calls a spill and is challenged by Dutton, who loses 48-35.

* Dutton resigns from cabinet.

* A slew of ministers offer resignations but Turnbull only accepts Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Dutton.

Wednesday, 22 August

* Dutton refuses to rule out a second challenge, launching a media campaign calling for a royal commission into fuel and energy prices and the scrapping of the GST from electricity prices.

* Turnbull, flanked by Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, dumps corporate tax cuts after the plan was voted down in the Senate.

* Turnbull also ditches plans to axe an energy supplement paid to welfare recipients.

* Morrison hugs Turnbull and says he is ambitious for his leader while also slapping down Dutton's GST idea.

* Cormann says he supports the prime minister.

* A petition to force a Liberal partyroom meeting is circulated.

* Cormann, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield and Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash visit Turnbull to tell him he no longer has the support of the majority of the party room.

* Turnbull accepts the resignation of his assistant minister James McGrath.

Thursday, 23 August

* Junior minister Zed Seselja and Michael Sukkar resign from the frontbench.

* Cormann, Fifield and Cash again visit the prime minister to tell him he has lost support. They urge him to call a partyroom meeting.

* Dutton demands a second leadership spill after telling Turnbull he has the support to become PM.

* Cormann, Fifield and Cash pull their support for Turnbull and resign from cabinet.

* Turnbull says Liberal MPs need to see the advice from the solicitor-general on the eligibility of Dutton after reports he could be in breach of the constitution over his stake in two childcare centres.

* If the advice gives Dutton the all-clear, Turnbull will hold a partyroom meeting. He will then move a spill motion and quit parliament if it succeeds.

Friday, 24 August

* Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison emerge as challengers for the Liberal leadership.

* The solicitor-general releases advice that likely clears Dutton to stay in parliament.

* A petition is signed by a majority of Liberal MPs calling for a partyroom meeting.


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Published 24 August 2018 at 11:14am, updated 24 August 2018 at 11:47am