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Australian PM, fighting for political life, dumps tax policy

Australian PM, fighting for political life, dumps tax policy

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s grip on power slipped further on Wednesday when he was forced to abandon his centerpiece tax policy and a conservative rival in his own party canvassed support for an imminent second challenge.

Turnbull’s legislative agenda crumbled around him this week as he first watered down his main energy policy and then withdrew planned tax cuts for corporations, at the same time as he fought off a growing challenge from former home affairs minister Peter Dutton.

Dutton challenged Turnbull on Tuesday in a vote by the Liberal Party, the senior partner in the center-right government coalition, that likely marked the beginning of the end for Turnbull.

Turnbull won the party-room vote 48-35 but the narrow margin of the victory made another challenge almost certain in a country that has earned a reputation for a revolving door of political leaders, with six prime ministers since 2009.

Dutton, who needs to win over only seven more colleagues to become leader, said he was already canvassing party support for another tilt at Turnbull, possibly as early as this week.

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