Australian PM rejects Cabinet resignations as new challenge looms


Three contenders are battling to replace Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the crisis over the Liberal Party leadership.

Ten government ministers in Australia offered to resign on Wednesday following a failed bid to oust Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as party leader.

The ministers, who supported Mr Turnbull in a leadership ballot on Tuesday against former home affairs minister Peter Dutton, said they had changed their position and now backed Mr Dutton.

Even those in Mr Dutton's camp were unwilling to say they had enough votes to force the spill and the Prime Minister has not yet received the letter, which still remains unsighted.

Mr Turnbull only won Tuesday's contest by seven votes.

Former defence minister Kevin Andrews, a conservative ally of former prime minister Tony Abbott, last night accused Turnbull of "trashing convention" by forcing MPs to put their names to the spill in a departure from the secret ballots of the past.

"And that it was in the best interests of the Liberal Party to help manage an orderly transition to a new leader".

Most Confused Person In Australia Right Now: You and me both, fam, you and me both.

Mr Turnbull said the public would be "crying out for an election" once the dust settled.

"I can not underline too much how important it is that anyone who seeks to be prime minister of Australia is eligible to be a member of parliament".

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"Mr Bennett was successful in the High Court in Re Canavan and provided advice to Malcolm Turnbull on the eligibility of Justine Keay, Susan Lamb & Rebekha Sharkie, later confirmed by the High Court", he continued.

Former minister Peter Dutton has announced his intentions of wanting to stand for election as prime minister.

Labor has released its own legal advice from prominent lawyer Bret Walker SC, who said it was his opinion that Mr Dutton was "not entitled to continue to sit" in the parliament. The next scheduled party meeting is September 11.

"It's with great sadness and a heavy heart that we went to see the Prime Minister yesterday afternoon to advise him that in our judgement he no longer enjoyed the support of the majority of members in the Liberal Party party room", Cormann told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

Apart from anything else, the Liberal Party is so bitterly divided, the wounds so deep, its credibility so shattered, it will take years for the scars to heal.

Treasurer Scott Morrison also pledged to challenge for the top job, local media reported.

The unrest is the latest chapter in a turbulent decade for Australian politics, with no leader managing to serve out a full term since John Howard lost the 2007 election.

"I can not underline too much how important it is that anyone who seeks to be prime minister of Australia is eligible to be a member of parliament". In a message Thursday morning, however, he reaffirmed his hope of being Australia's next prime minister.

Dutton was ultimately unsuccessful in the first instance, but the fact he only lost by a small margin 48-35 was considered by many as a fatal wound for Turnbull.

Dutton, a hardline conservative who carved out his reputation overseeing Australia's harsh immigration policy, is unpopular with moderate voters, raising the possibility that a third, centrist candidate might still emerge.