Following an initial leadership ballot held on Tuesday (21 August), which saw Mr Turnbull defeat former Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton by 48 votes to 35, reports of a second challenge have emerged.
Speaking to the media following continued speculation of a second Liberal Party leadership spill, Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed that a party room meeting would be held at midday upon his receipt of a signed petition from more than half of his colleagues that suggests a “vote of no confidence” in his prime ministership.
“The [House of Representatives] has been adjourned at the request of Mr Dutton, and so I now await a letter with the signatures of a majority of the party room,” the PM said.
“If I receive that, then I will convene a new party room meeting.”
Mr Turnbull added: “In terms of my own intentions, when the party room meeting is called, I will invite a spill motion to be moved.
“If the motion is carried, I will treat that as a vote of no confidence and I will not stand as a candidate in the ballot.”
Mr Turnbull also confirmed that if the leadership spill is successful, he will no longer serve in Parliament.
“I’ve made it very clear that I believe former prime ministers are best out of the Parliament, and I don’t think there’s much evidence to suggest that that conclusion is not correct,” the PM added.
There is a general expectation that Treasurer Scott Morrison would instead run as a candidate, with the support of Mr Turnbull, in opposition to Peter Dutton.
Mr Turnbull, along with the Labor opposition, has raised concerns over Mr Dutton’s eligibility to hold office, strengthening the possibility of a coalition government led by Treasurer Scott Morrison.
It has been alleged that a childcare company operated by Mr Dutton’s family has received $5.6 million in conflicted commonwealth government funding. However, Mr Dutton has denied such allegations, noting that he had received legal advice to the contrary.
“It is important that before the party meeting is held, we have access to the advice of the Solicitor-General on the eligibility of Mr Dutton to sit in the Parliament,” Mr Turnbull said.
The Solicitor-General advice is expected to be released this morning.