ABC Parliament House Bureau
A slew of resignation letters have landed on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s desk since the tight Liberal leadership ballot.
Who are the detractors Mr Turnbull can no longer rely on?
Cabinet: Peter Dutton
Leading the steady stream of resignations was former Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton, the man gunning for Malcolm Turnbull’s job.
The conservative Queenslander and former cop announced his resignation from Cabinet soon after his bid for the Liberal leadership failed on Tuesday morning.
Unsurprisingly, Malcolm Turnbull accepted. Both men claim they hold no animosity towards each other but tensions are high.
Mr Dutton said he ran for the top job because he believes he is the best person to lead the Liberals to the next election, and “to ensure Bill Shorten never becomes Prime Minister of this country”.
Mr Dutton is on the backbench for now, but just how long that lasts is anyone’s guess.
Cabinet: Greg Hunt
Greg Hunt was one of the most prominent backers for Mr Dutton’s leadership bid and is touted as the most likely contender for deputy leader in another spill.
The Health Minister was pushing hard for Julie Bishop’s job had the challenge against Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday succeeded. When it failed, he clearly felt the need to stand down from Cabinet.
While his resignation was offered on Tuesday night, as yet, it has not been accepted.
Mr Hunt found himself in hot water recently, after a small-town Northern Territory mayor demanded he apologise for losing his temper and launching a verbal tirade against her last year.
Cabinet: Michael Keenan
The West Australian MP is one of the four Cabinet members to offer up their resignation in the wake of Peter Dutton’s leadership bid.
But the Human Services Minister’s offer to quit the leadership team was also rebuffed.
He put out a statement on Tuesday night saying he respected the result from the party room and pledged his “full support” to the Prime Minister.
In saying that, two days before the spill Mr Dutton also tweeted his support for Mr Turnbull, so who knows how much Mr Keenan’s words are worth.
Cabinet: Steve Ciobo
Steve Ciobo voted for Malcolm Turnbull in the last Liberal spill in 2015, but something must have changed because he went against him this time around.
Despite his apparent change of heart in backing his fellow Queenslander and offering to resign, Mr Ciobo remains the Trade Minister.
“The party room has decided leadership of our party. We must now unite to defeat Labor,” he tweeted.
Mr Ciobo had long wanted to be part of the Cabinet and Mr Turnbull promoted him soon after ousting Tony Abbott from the leadership.
Outer Ministry: Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
The resignation of Concetta Fierravanti-Wells took a slightly different shape to the other deserters.
While they mostly offered their resignations, giving Mr Turnbull the option of accepting or rejecting it, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific simply tendered hers on the way out the door and took a few shots at the leadership as she went.
The New South Wales Senator said in a statement that she had suggested Mr Dutton should have been promoted to Deputy Leader months ago because the party had moved too far to the left, eroding the voice of their conservative base.
She famously warned Tony Abbott about his impending leadership woes before he was ousted in 2015, and urged him to dump his chief of staff Peta Credlin.
Outer Ministry: Alan Tudge
The Victorian conservative is yet another frontbencher who will keep his portfolio, despite offering to step down.
Alan Tudge is the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and he was the 10th person to tell the Prime Minister he wanted out.
Unsurprisingly, his resignation was rebuffed.
Some pro-Turnbull MPs in the Coalition say privately Mr Tudge has been disappointed he was not elevated to a Cabinet position in the last ministerial reshuffle.
Outer Ministry: Angus Taylor
Angus Taylor’s portfolio of law enforcement and cyber security falls under the umbrella department of Home Affairs run by Peter Dutton.
The Minister has echoed some of Mr Dutton’s sentiments, most recently and prominently on the topic of Sudanese crime in Melbourne.
He has been touted as someone likely to be catapulted straight into cabinet, if Mr Dutton becomes prime minister.
His resignation was not accepted by Mr Turnbull.
Assistant Minister: Michael Sukkar
Michael Sukkar is a staunch conservative and the main man doing the numbers for Peter Dutton.
He was one of a number of Victorian MPs, including Greg Hunt and Alan Tudge, to side with Mr Dutton in the leadership spill which Malcolm Turnbull narrowly won.
In a statement, Mr Sukkar said given his role as Assistant Treasurer, he felt he must offer to resign “as a matter of integrity”.
His offer was not accepted by the Prime Minister.
Assistant Minister: James McGrath
James McGrath’s offer to resign must have hit particularly close to home for Mr Turnbull because he is the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister.
He was also crucial to helping the PM oust Tony Abbott in the 2015 leadership coup.
The conservative Queensland senator admitted publicly that he voted for Mr Dutton to become leader and said he also offered his resignation “as a matter of integrity”.
Coalition sources say Senator McGrath has been frustrated with the current leadership for months.
Assistant Minister: Zed Seselja
ACT Senator Zed Seselja is another staunch conservative and was a vocal critic of last year’s same-sex marriage plebiscite, sitting out the vote in November.
He was also one of Tony Abbott’s numbers men during the 2015 leadership spill, which Malcolm Turnbull won.
Despite offering to step down from his role as Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation, he took his seat on the Senate frontbench the day after Mr Dutton’s leadership challenge.
Assistant Minister: Karen Andrews
Karen Andrews has voted for the conservative option in successive Liberal leadership ballots, so her decision to back Peter Dutton did not come as a big surprise.
The Queensland MP is the Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills and will remain in the position because Malcolm Turnbull turned down her resignation.
She has served as an assistant minister under two prime ministers but has been overlooked for promotion under Mr Turnbull.
Fun fact: Peter Dutton tried to move to her much safer Gold Coast seat of McPherson in 2009, but lost preselection.
Topics: government-and-politics, political-parties, liberals, turnbull-malcolm, australia