The Update: Australian Government leadership crisis

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AP: Australia’s prime minister says he’ll quit Parliament if his party wants a leadership ballot. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he plans to hold a party meeting on Friday if a majority of his ruling conservative Liberal Party lawmakers want it. If that meeting calls for a leadership ballot, he will quit Parliament. That would create a by-election that could cost the government its single-seat majority or spur his replacement to immediately call a general election.

 

BBC: The Australian government has adjourned a sitting of parliament as it moves to resolve a leadership crisis that has crippled PM Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Turnbull is fighting to retain his position amid a push by senior colleagues to replace him as leader.

He has been under growing pressure over poor polling and a revolt by the conservative wing of his party.Labor Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten said the country “no longer has a functioning government”.

“The government may adjourn the parliament, but they cannot outrun the weight of failure of this government,” he said in parliament

 

Earlier

Reuters: Australia’s political crisis has deepened as a government lawmaker said that he was planning a second challenge against the country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull narrowly survived a vote of no confidence on Tuesday, when members of his ruling conservative Liberal Party backed him 48 votes to 35. The rebellion against the prime minister follows months of poor opinion poll ratings and political wrangling over a divisive carbon emissions law. Turnbull surprised critics by calling the ballot before his challenger, former Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton, had had time to gather support.

However Dutton, speaking on Australian radio on Wednesday, confirmed that he was preparing another challenge against the prime minister. “I am not going to beat around the bush on that, I am speaking to colleagues. You don’t go into a ballot believing you’re going to lose and if I believe that a majority of colleagues support me, then I would consider my position,” Dutton told Melbourne Radio 3AW.

Dutton quit as Home Affairs minister after Tuesday’s challenge failed and another 10 ministers offered their resignations on Wednesday. Turnbull said Dutton’s was the only senior minister’s resignation he had accepted, but a junior minister was also allowed to resign.

The threat of another challenge throws Turnbull’s attempts to unify the conservative coalition ahead of the country’s general elections – due to be held by May next year – into uncertainty.Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the prime minister said his leadership had been confirmed by the “iron laws of arithmetic” and his priority was now to unite the party behind him.

 

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