Australian PM Turnbull survives party leadership challenge

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

Such a situation occurred when Turnbull took the leadership from Abbott, with an "empty chair" challenge in February 2015 returning Abbott but a September 2015 challenge seeing Turnbull take the top job.

Party whip Nola Marino told reporters Dutton challenged but Turnbull won 48-35.

Coincidentally, Turnbull as opposition leader in November 2009 faced a spill motion.

He said although most government lawmakers supported the target of reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent below 2005 levels, that support was not enough.

Down in the polls and desperate to hold on to his position, Malcolm Turnbull knows a leadership challenge could be near.

A report in The Australian suggests Mr Turnbull had lost confidence of nine Liberal cabinet ministers - half of the Liberal contingent.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the resignation would not have any impact on the issues the government continues to raise across the ditch.

The Prime Minister has seen his support crumble in recent days, forcing him to completely ditch his National Energy Guarantee (NEG) in an attempt to appease nervous MPs in his party who want him gone.

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'It's become pretty clear, it's been a pretty torrid decade, ' he said.

Mr Shorten said he was open to a deal on energy if the Government released the legislation but Mr Turnbull admitted he had not spoken to Labor.

"I think there might be a second phase strategy here".

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has led the charge as one of Mr Turnbull's main critics over the past few weeks, questioning the PM's "conviction" on Monday.

While Coalition marginal seat holders have publicly supported Mr Turnbull, some privately lobbied in favour of Mr Dutton to improve the party's chances in Queensland.

The disunity came to a head on Monday when Turnbull was forced to shelve plans to embed carbon emissions targets in law after a revolt by fellow Liberal politicians.

Mr Abbott said the internal war over energy was not a personality contest.

"We can not allow, as I said in the party room today, our internal issues to undermine our work", Mr Turnbull told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.