Malcolm Turnbull: Australian PM survives leadership challenge

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's assurances did not go far in quelling leadership speculation

Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce yesterday backed Mr Turnbull to remain as leader and welcomed the Government's changes on the contentious energy policy.

He said the leading conservative has "no intention of challenging Malcolm Turnbull.but if you have other information directly from the horse's mouth, then you can say so".

The leadership talk was fueled by an Ipsos poll published in Fairfax newspapers, which showed support for Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition falling four points to 45 percent, 10 points behind opposition party Labor and enough for a crushing electoral defeat.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defeated Dutton 48-35 in a leadership ballot after he declared the leadership vacant on Tuesday morning.

"I'm certain he is telling the truth", he told the Nine Network.

"In a Parliament where there is just a one-seat majority, the outstanding reservations of a number of our colleagues, combined with the absence of bipartisan support, mean that as long as that remains the case, we won't be in a position to take that legislation forward", the PM said.

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Mr Turnbull insisted he enjoyed the confidence of his party room - a claim echoed by several Cabinet ministers.

While Turnbull has won the day, the battle for the leadership of the party is not over.

Fellow MPs from Mr Dutton's home state of Queensland are also understood to have been encouraged to turn on Mr Turnbull.

"What we want to know is, where are this prime minister's convictions?"

"It's a complete capitulation to the right-wing members of the Liberal Party of Australia", said Robyn Eckersley, Professor and Head of Political Science at University of Melbourne. He later returned the favour and stormed back to power in 2013 shortly before losing the election to Tony Abbott's Liberal/National coalition.

"Isn't it the case that when-ever it comes to a choice between his principles and his job, this Prime Minister stands for nothing at all", Mr Shorten said. Mr Abbott told reporters outside Parliament House on Monday evening.

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