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Malcolm Turnbull has rejected claims that changes to his energy policy are aimed at holding off a leadership challenge.

Leadership tensions have rocked Australian politics again, with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull barely surviving a challenge from internal rival Peter Dutton.

Mr Turnbull's original energy policy, which was trying to deliver cheaper energy, more reliability and lower emissions, enjoyed broad support - even in his party room.

I have seen leadership challenges before and this was a resounding vote of support in the leadership team.

He stepped down from his position as home affairs minister after the vote, and was already working on softening his image yesterday afternoon.

"I do think there is a danger for him", she said.

In 2009, Turnbull, then leader of the Liberal Party in opposition, crossed the floor to vote with the Labor government in favor of an Emissions Trading Scheme, a move that ultimately lost him the party leadership.

Before the ballot, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg had warned government colleagues that they would lose popularity if they dumped Mr. Turnbull.

"Unity has to be created and loyalty has to be earned".

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says it's too early to say whether the resignation of Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will have any effect on trans-Tasman policy.

Nationals MP Damian Drum has had a gutful of the former prime minister's interventions.

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"If the prime minister's own party does not want him, and almost half of his party voted against him remaining prime minister, why should the parliament put up with him?"

In his parliamentary register of interest, Mr Dutton lists himself as a beneficiary of RHT Family Trust - along with his wife and children.

Mr Dutton, who resigned from cabinet to the backbench today after losing a challenge to the Prime Minister, did not rule out a future tilt at the Liberal leadership but maintained he would do all he could to help the government beat Labor at the next election.

A stymied effort to cut corporate taxes, a citizenship crisis that cost a number of lawmakers their seats, and his perceived arrogance as the so-called "Mr. Harborside Mansion" of Sydney have all weighed on Turnbull's popularity with voters.

Ministers gathered for an emergency meeting at Parliament House last night, where discussions focused on the NEG.

"In the minds of a lot of Australians, anyone would be better than Malcolm Turnbull as leader of the Liberal Party".

The stunning retreat emerged as the energy issue threatened to turn into a crisis for Turnbull's leadership, and the government worked on measures to reduce power prices to meet the demands of Coalition dissidents.

"I would think the Liberal Party have a very limited chance of winning the next election", said Ian McAllister, professor of Political Science at Australian National University in Canberra. I would like to contribute to public debates.

"There are members of Parliament. who want power prices down, who want to end Labor's emissions obsession, who are not worshipping at the altar of the climate change gods, and who are prepared to stand up for traditional Liberal conservative values", Abbott said earlier in August on Sky News Australia.

Mr Dutton told Melbourne's 3AW he was still talking to colleagues.

'If there are people who are saying behind-the-scenes that is not true, I guess they have to examine their own conscience'.