Turnbull not in the clear after challenge

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Peter Dutton is contesting Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal party in a party room meeting.

John Hewson, a former leader of the Liberal party who is now with the Australian National University's school of public policy, said Turnbull was wounded and another challenge was likely within weeks.

Dutton was the first Minister for Home Affairs, engineering the merger of the super portfolio which essentially made him Australia's inaugural King Cop.

It also reported that Tony Abbott told a Young Liberals meeting over the weekend he was looking forward to serving under a "Dutton government". However, Mr Turnbull has consistently rated higher than Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister.

Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition trails the main Labor opposition 45 percent to 55 percent, according to a Fairfax-Ipsos poll released Monday.

It is understood at least four other ministers could join him on the backbench, having supported him in the ballot against Malcolm Turnbull.

What do you think of today's leadership spill?

'If we are fighting amongst ourselves, guess what, when the voters go to the election, they'll mark us down as they should, ' Mr Laundy said.

Malcolm Turnbull has rejected claims that changes to his energy policy are aimed at holding off a leadership challenge.

Asked whether he anticipated another challenge, Mr Turnbull said: "No".

"It is good to be in front of the cameras where I can smile and maybe show a different side to what I show when I talk about border protection", he said.

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Liberal members see Turnbull as "the best Labor leader the Liberals ever had", criticizing his push for same-sex marriage, his support for an Australian republic, and other causes favored by Labor and other left-wing parties.

Moderates who support the PM spent the weekend sandbagging Mr Turnbull, who was locked away with Treasurer Scott Morrison re-writing the NEG to prevent Government MPs from crossing the floor.

"I believe strongly that we can win the election if we get the policies and the message right about lowering electricity prices, about making sure that we can do more on infrastructure and in particular around the migration program, until the infrastructure can catch up in our capital cities".

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

But new polling shows a Dutton government would crash at the election to Bill Shorten, with voters picking the Labor leader over the ex-Home Affairs minister.

Turnbull's position remains in jeopardy despite surviving Dutton's leadership challenge.

'He thanked his colleagues for their support, ' Ms Marino said.

In his parliamentary register of interest, Mr Dutton lists himself as a beneficiary of RHT Family Trust - along with his wife and children.

Under the Australian system, as in the United Kingdom, the prime minister is not directly elected by voters but is the leader of the party or coalition that can command a majority in parliament. "Peter Dutton is considering resigning from cabinet and launching a leadership bid", Channel 9's political editor Chris Ulhmann told Today this morning.

Turnbull has so far had little success in bridging the ideological divide within the Liberals, and the scale of the swing against him in the ballot suggests his days are numbered.

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