There's a civil war in the Coalition echoing the knifing of Julia Gillard.
There's a civil war in the Coalition echoing the knifing of Julia Gillard.

Turnbull could be challenged at 9am meeting

MALCOLM Turnbull's deputies are urging colleagues to get behind the Prime Minister as speculation mounts that he could face a leadership challenge from Peter Dutton at a 9am party room meeting.

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne sent a blunt warning to colleagues pushing for a leadership spill that Australians are "thoroughly sick of instability and backstabbing", while Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg says there will be a high cost if the party chooses to topple Turnbull.

Dutton's supporters are doing the numbers ahead of a crucial Liberal Party room meeting at 9am. And if they don't strike today, it's expected Mr Turnbull's leadership won't survive past mid-September when the next Newspoll drops.