Australia PM loses ministers in leadership battle

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Canberra, Aug 22 (IANS) Ten government ministers in Australia offered to resign on Wednesday following a failed bid to oust Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as party leader.

Turnbull narrowly survived a vote against a senior government colleague on Tuesday, but is now likely to face a second leadership challenge, reports the BBC.

He has accepted the resignation of only two ministers including the challenger, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.

The division in the ruling party has thrown national politics into upheaval.

Turnbull has been under pressure following a by-election loss in Queensland and poor results in polls. Australia is due to hold its next election before May 2019.

The opposition Labor party has accused the government of being in “chaos”.

Turnbull initiated the first vote among cabinet members on Tuesday in an attempt to end growing speculation about his position as leader of the Liberal party. He won by a margin of just 13 votes.

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“The iron laws of arithmetic confirmed my leadership,” he told reporters on Wednesday when asked about his future.

He has also abandoned a policy to set an emissions reduction target in law, in an attempt to ward off party conflict.

Turnbull confirmed he had asked eight ministers to stay on in his ministry despite their offers to stand down.

Along with Dutton’s resignation, he also let go the International Development Minister Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

–IANS

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