Wednesday, February 20, 2019
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Overthrown Australian PM Turnbull set to quit parliament

Turnbull's move could lose Australian government the one-seat majority in parliament.

Dumped Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will quit parliament this week in another headache for Australia's rattled government which will temporarily lose its one-seat majority.

He told supporters on Monday he will resign from Parliament on Friday, a week after he was forced from office by legislators in his conservative Liberal Party because he had lost their support.

"As you know, my prime ministership has come to an end. The circumstances have appalled most Australians but again, I won't labour the point," he told the Monday meeting, Fairfax reported.

"I have a strong view which I've made very clear publicly so it comes as no surprise, that former prime ministers are best out of parliament not in it, and I think recent events best underline the value of that observation. 

"And so, accordingly, on Friday, I will resign from the House of Representatives."

His resignation could set the stage for an October 6 by-election.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison could also call general elections, although he has said he plans to hold polls close to when an election is due in May.

Turnbull became the fourth prime minister to be dumped by his or her own party since 2010 in response to poor opinion polling.

Opinion polling by respected Newspoll published on Monday found that government popular support has crashed to its lowest level in a decade due to the infighting.

The poll found that only 33 percent of respondents intended to vote for the government, a tie with a poll in 2008 when the Liberal Party was in opposition a year after being voted out of power.

The poll was based on a survey of 1,783 voters nationwide from Friday when the leadership changed until Sunday.

Turnbull's seat in the wealthy Sydney enclave of Wentworth is traditionally a Liberal safe haven, although a backlash against the government's political infighting could make this less certain. 

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