Peter Dutton Mounting a 2nd Challenge to Australia’s Prime Minister
Wednesday, Peter Dutton said he is planning a 2nd challenge against Australia’s prime minister after just losing a leadership ballot.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on his government to unite behind him after lawmakers in the ruling conservative Liberal Party chose to keep him as their leader 48 votes to 35 in a ballot Tuesday.
Mr. Turnbull surprised his enemies by calling the ballot before his challenger Peter Dutton had had time to lobby colleagues for support.
But Mr. Dutton confirmed that he was now sounding out support for a 2nd challenge.
“I am not going to beat around the bush on that, I am speaking to colleagues,” Mr. Dutton said in a radio interview.
“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,” he added.
Mr. Dutton has dashed Mr. Turnbull’s hopes of unifying the conservative coalition under his leadership ahead of general elections due by May.
Australia has had years of political instability since Prime Minister John Howard lost power in Y 2007 after more than 11 years in office.
No Prime Minister has lasted a full three-year term since. They have all been thrown out of power by their own parties in the face of poor opinion polling.
Darren Chester, a minister in The Nationals party, the junior coalition partner, has threatened to take away the government’s single-seat majority in the House of Representatives if Turnbull was deposed.
Mr. Chester said he and other lawmakers were considering quitting a government that was not led by Turnbull, which could force an election.
“I know of other colleagues who are deeply worried about” Turnbull being overthrown, Mr. Chester said.
Mr. Dutton quit as Home Affairs Minister after Tuesday’s challenge failed.
Another 10 ministers who supported Mr. Dutton’s challenge have also offered their resignations, but it is not clear how many the Prime Minister has accepted.