Turnbull holding firm on leadership so far

Peter Dutton says he took Malcolm Turnbull on for the Liberal leadership because he thought it would give the government a better chance of beating Bill Shorten at the next election.

"In relation to media stories today, just to make very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government", Dutton tweeted.

Similar to 2015 when #PutOutYourOnions began to trend after Tony Abbott was challenged by Mr Turnbull, Mr Dutton now has his own tribute - PutOutYourPotatoes.

"There are members of Parliament. who want power prices down, who want to end Labor's emissions obsession, who are not worshipping at the altar of the climate change gods, and who are prepared to stand up for traditional Liberal conservative values", Abbott said earlier in August on Sky News Australia.

After losing Dutton, a former police officer who ran a powerful department that oversees the country's domestic spy service, border force and national police, quit and moved to the backbench. I think that Peter Dutton has got a problem in southeast Queensland, where the voters are more moderate.

Mr Morrison fronted up to be interviewed by Leigh Sales because Mr Turnbull himself declined the invitation.

Abbott deposed Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party in 2009 over differences in energy policy.

"Cheaper power has always been our number one priority when it comes to energy policy", Mr Turnbull said.

Like his predecessors, Turnbull won a general election - albeit by just a single seat - but electoral success appears to be no barrier to prospective rivals.

Speaking to the media a short while later, Dutton said he challenged the PM because he believed he had the best shot at winning the next election, and declined several opportunities to rule out another challenge in the near future.

Thirty consecutive national opinion polls have backed opposition leader Bill Shorten as the preferred choice of prime minister, while Shorten's Labor Party has come out on top of the last 38 times. And if they don't strike today, it's expected Mr Turnbull's leadership won't survive past mid-September when the next Newspoll drops.

"But I have most enjoy being minister for home affairs because of the people who work within those agencies and the incredibly important work that they support".

Peter Dutton refused to rule out a second leadership challenge.

Mr Dutton's entry to the leadership beauty contest was needed because while he was a high-profile minister, many voters know little about him, or simply liked or disliked him for his stop-the-boats management.

The position of Deputy Leader was also spilled and Julie Bishop was re-elected unopposed.

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.

Mr Shorten has written to the prime minister asking that all major decisions by government be paused until the leadership question is resolved.

And some will seem unusual: "I worked closely with Malcolm Turnbull to make sure we can achieve that".

Mr Dutton told Melbourne's 3AW he was still talking to colleagues.

  • Valerie Cook