If Mr Dutton had won today's spill he would have become Australia's sixth PM since 2010, and 30th prime minister overall. Australians can not reasonably be asked to put their trust in Turnbull at the next election if he can not even claim that from close to half of his own colleagues. Many were looking to Peter Dutton, the hardline...
Mr Dutton tweeted on Saturday that he supported the prime minister.
Energy policy, Pauline Hanson and Tony Abbott are all contributing factors to Turnbull's woes, Professor Jennifer Curtin says.
Following increasing speculation of a leadership spill involving Peter Dutton, reports emerged on Monday that Mr Spence had been calling on MPs to drop their support for Mr Turnbull in favour of Mr Dutton. However the pair then swapped again three years later with Rudd resuming the role of PM.
Turnbull's move may relieve immediate pressure on his leadership, though internal peace is seen as fragile as the government's re-election prospects look dim.
Chief government whip Nola Marino announced the close margin at the tense party room meeting which has been labelled a "humiliation" for Turnbull with a frontbench who does not support him.
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But Treasurer Scott Morrison said was "fully supportive" of the Prime Minister.
Such a situation occurred when Turnbull took the leadership from Abbott, with an "empty chair" challenge in February 2015 returning Abbott but a September 2015 challenge seeing Turnbull take the top job.
Mr Abbott has been the most vocal of several government backbench MPs who have argued against legislating an emissions target.
Coincidentally, Turnbull as opposition leader in November 2009 faced a spill motion.
Turnbull made the announcement Monday, telling reporters that the National Energy Guarantee, a policy bill outlining the targets, would not be introduced in the House of Representatives, citing a lack of support, according to The New York Times.
The prime minister declared the leadership vacant after entering the party room with his deputy Julie Bishop shortly after 9am on Tuesday morning.