Turnbull under pressure to resign after senior ministers quit Australian govt

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull suffered a likely fatal blow to his leadership on Thursday as three key Cabinet ministers resigned and demanded he allow another ballot of party lawmakers to decide his fate.

Dutton has told the prime minister that a majority of Liberal Party lawmakers - at least 43 - don't support his leadership.

Sources say Ms Bishop won't command almost enough votes to prevail in an open ballot, with even the majority of her WA colleagues - with the exception of Ian Goodenough, Melissa Price, Linda Reynolds and Nola Marino - set to vote against her. WA MPs Steve Irons and Ben Morton are understood to be backing Scott Morrison, with the rest set to fall in behind Mr Dutton.

'For every vote they might win because she's a woman they miss two because of other issues around gender politics'.

Amid mounting uncertainty over Turnbull's premiership, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove cancelled travel plans and will remain in Canberra this week, a source familiar with his schedule told Reuters.

Dutton, who is perhaps best known for his hard-line stance on immigration, must produce a petition signed by a majority of party members to force a leadership contest.

Mr Cormann called on Mr Turnbull to hold an immediate internal vote. "The big risk is that he might be shafted even before he got to the end of the driveway".

Opposition lawmakers reacted with outrage when the government shut down Parliament hours early so that Liberal Party lawmakers could focus on their leadership crisis.

"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", he told reporters in Canberra.

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Expectations that Turnbull would soon face another challenge, possibly within days, were stoked when eight Cabinet ministers backed Dutton.

"This constant rotation of Prime Ministers by both the Labor Party and the Liberal party, I can not condone". And when your opponents are widely loathed like Dutton and Morrison, what's to lose?

It was those tax cuts for business that Turnbull announced he would no longer support after Australia's upper house Senate rejected it on Wednesday.

Mr Hogan said he believed the Australian people have had enough of the poor behaviour of senior politicians treating their positions and the community with disrespect.

Ms Bishop has reportedly told colleagues she will not serve as "another man's deputy".

The turmoil has upset Australia's financial markets, with the main stock market down almost 0.5 percent on Wednesday to a nine-day low.

"Australians will be rightly appalled by what they're witnessing in their nation's parliament today and in the course of this week", Mr Turnbull said in Canberra on Thursday.

There is not a shred of evidence on the public record that a Dutton prime ministership would make the slightest difference to the slide in public opinion being suffered by the Coalition in Queensland, as reflected in the LNP's ghastly result in the Longman byelection.

He has struggled to appeal to conservative voters, while progressive supporters have been disappointed as they watched government policies shift to the right as Turnbull tried to appease a powerful right-leaning backbench.