Peter Dutton resigns ministry after leadership loss to Malcolm Turnbull

UPDATE 1-Australia weakens commitment to climate accord after government fractures

Australia PM backS away from climate targets

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared the leadership vacant and will officially recontest his position against Peter Dutton.

Under the Australian system, as in the United Kingdom, the prime minister is not directly elected by voters but is the leader of the party or coalition that can command a majority in parliament.

In a move that repeats the pattern of previous leadership spills such as Paul Keating's two ballots against Bob Hawke during 1991, Mr Dutton has resigned from cabinet and go to the backbench to consider his next steps.

Just yesterday Mr Turnbull said he had Mr Dutton's "absolute support".

"There was also an election for the deputy leader". Would you prefer the Government to be led by another leader, or is Malcolm Turnbull the best man for the job?

"We always thought that he was convicted on climate change issues".

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Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the backflip showed his successor was willing to abandon his core beliefs.

The original commitment would have set in legislation Australia's pledge for a 26% cut in emissions, based on 2005 levels, by 2030.

"The government is hopelessly divided, it is at war with itself", she said. However the pair then swapped again three years later with Rudd resuming the role of PM.

Turnbull had attempted to see off a challenge by retreating on energy policy that was contentious among the conservative wing of his party, but his backdown was not enough.

A senior political figure described Mr Turnbull as being in "panic mode" and "clearly rattled" about the amount of support he has lost.

Turnbull won the vote 48 to 35.

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Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

"He (the PM) thanked the colleagues for their support".

'It's become pretty clear, it's been a pretty torrid decade, ' he said.

Mr Turnbull blindsided his Home Affairs Minister when he brought on the vote after days of speculation and pressure on Mr Dutton to challenge.

Gary Spence, LNP president in Queensland, urged federal MPs to replace Mr Turnbull with Mr Dutton, arguing he would do better at defending the Coalition's nine marginal seats in the state.

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