Peter Dutton launches challenge against Malcolm Turnbull for the prime ministership

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Dutton's challenge for leadership of the party, and in turn the prime ministership, came just two days after he pledged his support, yet again, for Turnbull and his policies amid drama surrounding his signature energy policy.

After his abortive attempt to snatch the leadership of the Liberal Party, it was pretty clear that Peter Dutton's position in Malcolm Turnbull's cabinet was, shall we say, untenable.

Choosing to back down on the emissions legislation shows that Mr Turnbull wants to avoid testing his support in a parliamentary vote.

But Turnbull ousted Abbott as prime minister in 2015 in a leadership ballot of government lawmakers concerned by the government's poor opinion polling.

His challenger, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, resigned from Cabinet after the vote but the amount of support he gained a day after downplaying the possibility of a challenge surprised many commentators. Climate groups anxious that the National Energy Guarantee would not do enough to combat climate change.

Mr Dutton attended Mr Turnbull's office on Tuesday morning, shortly before the prime minister made the leadership announcement.

So why should Tony Abbott allow that settlement?

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"I certainly believe Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election", she told 2GB radio yesterday.

Mr Turnbull thanked his colleagues after the votes, Ms Marino said. Abbott told the ABC outside Parliament House on Monday night.

Despite Dutton receiving 35 votes, Bishop described the result as "an overwhelming vote of support for the Prime Minister".

Mr Turnbull had brought on the vote himself in a bid to resolve speculation that his leadership was under threat.

That aside, a string of poor public polls aren't making things any easier for Mr Turnbull.

"Mr Turnbull is truly a white flag prime minister", Mr Shorten said.

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