Peter Dutton emerges as frontrunner as Liberals seek new leader to replace Scott Morrison

Liberal politicians have begun jostling to replace outgoing Prime Minister Scott Morrison as party leader after Labor seized government from the Coalition. 

Key points:

  • Party insiders say Peter Dutton is the frontrunner to become opposition leader
  • Josh Frydenberg was considered the likely replacement but looks to have lost his safe Liberal seat
  • Other contenders include Karen Andrews, Dan Tehan and Angus Taylor

Mr Morrison last night took responsibility for the loss and said he would step down as Liberal leader.

The biggest Liberal losses in the election were to independent women, the “teal” candidates, who were running on integrity and climate policies.

Party insiders say Defence Minister Peter Dutton is the frontrunner to be the next Liberal leader. 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's likely loss in his once-safe Melbourne seat has thrown open the leadership battle since he was most likely to lead the Liberals in opposition.

Peter Dutton emerges as frontrunner as Liberals seek new leader to replace Scott Morrison

Karen Andrews became the Home Affairs Minister last year.(ABC News: Luke Stephenson)

Queensland MP Karen Andrews called a Sunday morning press conference where she talked about her national security credentials and said it was time for her party to reflect on the loss.

She said it was “way too early to have a discussion about leadership” when asked if she would nominate for the position.

“I am not commenting on any leadership speculation,” she said.

Ms Andrews was among the first women to speak out about the culture in her party, saying she'd “had a gutful” when revelations emerged about the treatment of women in Parliament House.

Party sources suggested Trade Minister Dan Tehan and Industry Minister Angus Taylor were also possible candidates.

When Ms Andrews first entered politics, she beat Mr Dutton in pre-selection when he was seeking to shift from his marginal Brisbane seat of Dickson to the safer Gold Coast seat of McPherson.

More to come.

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