Mr Turnbull won the vote and his deputy Julie Bishop was the only candidate for her role.
The leadership talk was fueled by an Ipsos poll published in Fairfax newspapers, which showed support for Turnbull's Liberal-National coalition falling four points to 45 percent, 10 points behind opposition party Labor and enough for a crushing electoral defeat.
The relatively narrow victory may not spell the end of Mr Dutton's leadership ambitions.
Mr Dutton has now resigned from his Home Affairs portfolio, creating a big gap in Cabinet that Mr Turnbull will have to fill.
Mr Spence denies he's been calling for federal Queensland MPs to dump Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. He called a surprise snap leadership vote on Tuesday, before a spill could be called on him by a challenger.
Climate change was to be the undoing of Turnbull the first time around.
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She has already released several secret audio recordings, including of the meeting in which she was sacked by Kelly. Due to her history, many commentators have pointed out that it's hard to verify Omarosa's claims as truth.
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The embattled prime minister has faced serious questions over his leadership in the past week amid changes to his National Energy Guarantee policy. But when Hockey refused to oppose a carbon emissions trading scheme, Abbott stood at the December 1 ballot and defeated Turnbull by one vote.
Chief government whip Nola Marino announced the close margin at the tense party room meeting which has been labelled a "humiliation" for Turnbull with a frontbench who does not support him.
But the move has failed to silence conservative critics within the Coalition.
Moments later, Turnbull emerged victorious, taking 48 votes to Dutton's 35 in the spill contest. I think he probably still is. Australians are due to hold a general election early next year.
Sky News is reporting that after Mr Turnbull called the spill, Mr Dutton put his hand up to challenge.
Peter Dutton to challenge Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Abbott said: 'It's no way to run a government, making absolute commitments on Tuesday and breaking them on Friday'.