It is matter of months, weeks or even days before the government's rebels finish him off, emboldened by the 35 MPs and ministers who revealed in Tuesday's leadership vote that they'd already abandoned Mr Turnbull.
However the ABC understands that despite Mr Dutton challenging him for the leadership, Mr Turnbull later offered his rival the chance to stay on.
One MP from WA said a Dutton prime ministership might help the Liberal Party win votes away from One Nation.
"It is good to be in front of the cameras where I can smile and maybe show a different side to what I show when I talk about border protection", he intoned when it was his turn for his after-match media conference.
"I have been the shadow minister for health and finance, I have been the health minister, the minister for sport and I have been the minister for workforce participation". I am proud of the fact that I got children out of detention.
The prime minister, meanwhile, called for unity: "We can not allow, as I said in the party room today, our internal issues to undermine our work".
Mr Dutton resigned from Cabinet after the vote and will move to the backbench, triggering a ministerial reshuffle.
The timing is a little unfortunate though, given that she'll have other things on her mind and it's a safe bet, leadership will be one of them.
The prime minister declared the leadership vacant after entering the party room with his deputy Julie Bishop shortly after 9am on Tuesday morning.
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This former Queensland cop obviously sees it as a one-way relationship, reminding us there's a lot they do for us and telling us we should be reflecting on the relationship between Australia and New Zealand where they do a lot of the heavy lifting.
"We need to invest more in water to get farmers out of drought so they do not go through what they go through at the moment".
Under new rules introduced on July 2, childcare centres now receive direct subsidies from the federal government and expose Mr Dutton to claims that he had a "pecuniary interest" in a contract with the Commonwealth and therefore breached section 44 of the constitution. Labor leader Bill Shorten said of the party-room challenge.
"The saving grace for Labor is voters don't like Malcolm Turnbull much better", said the ANU's McAllister.
"I have been in the parliament for 17 years and on the frontbench for 14".
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten taunted the Prime Minister by reminding him the government had abandoned an emissions intensity scheme in 2016, a clean energy target in 2017 and was now reversing its position on the scheme he had pursued in 2018.
"My job from here, my next step, my job from here, that is to make sure I can prosecute the sort of messages that I have just spoken about and that is what I am focused on".
"I believe that I was the best person to lead the Liberal Party to success at the next election", Dutton told reporters.
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