Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media outside Parliament House Canberra yesterday.
Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the media outside Parliament House Canberra yesterday.

Defeated Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull will move to the backbench and remain in the Parliament - for now.

Speaking after his one vote defeat by Tony Abbott in this morning's party room ballot, Mr Turnbull left open the door to departing his marginal seat of Wentworth at the next election.

"There will be no by-election in Wentworth," he told reporters.

But when pressed whether he would stand at the next election, he added: "Lucy and I are going to have a think about that on the holiday and discuss it with our children."

"I will be on the backbench, assuming the Parliament does come back."

Paul Keating, after being defeated in a leadership ballot with Bob Hawke, famously returned to the backbench and plotted his eventual victory as prime minister.

Mr Turnbull said if the Liberal Party voted against the Government's emissions trading scheme, a decision taken by the party room this morning, then that would give Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a double dissolution election trigger.

Mr Turnbull thanked the "thousands of Australians" who supported his principled stand on the ETS.

He used his press conference to also highlight how Woodside boss Don Voelte had supported the amendments the Liberal Party had won from the Government on the trading scheme.

In a sign of the pressure building on moderate Liberals in the Senate that want to back the ETS, Mr Turnbull offered this guidance.

"I think I have always demonstrated that I have the courage of my convictions," he said.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

More from The West