Peter Dutton: Who is the possible new Australian Prime Minister?

Liberal MP Peter Dutton's political future hangs in the balance as he takes on Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of Australia - but how much do we know about the possible Prime Minister?

Born in Brisbane, Queensland, Mr Dutton started his working life at 12 years old, handing out newspapers and cutting lawns before taking on a position as a butcher's boy, which he worked at until he began university.

He first ran for Parliament in 1989, but was unsuccessful.

The following year he became chair of the Bayside Young Liberals and graduated from the Queensland Police Academy.

His first marriage in 1992, at 22 years old, lasted no more than just a few months.

Mr Dutton worked within the sex offenders squad and the drug squad throughout Brisbane before joining the National Crime Authority, according to Newscorp.

He quit the police in 1999 to run the family childcare business full-time and get ready for the federal election campaign in 2001.

The new millennium marked fresh beginnings for Mr Dutton as he turned his focus to politics, winning the Dickson electorate from Labor's Cheryl Kernot in 2001 and catching the attention of John Howard.

He went on to become Minister for Workforce Participation and then Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue.

In March 2002 his first child Rebecca was born, before Mr Dutton married another woman - his current wife Kirilly - in July 2003, with whom he has two sons, Harry and Tom.

Mr Dutton came under fire when in 2007, Labor Party Senator Penny Wong told then-Prime Minister John Howard to look into claims he had breached the code of conduct and "profited personally from policy decisions", reported.

The new millennium marked fresh beginnings for Mr Dutton as he turned his focus to politics full-time, winning the Dickson electorate in 2001.
The new millennium marked fresh beginnings for Mr Dutton as he turned his focus to politics full-time, winning the Dickson electorate in 2001. Photo credit: Getty

He was forced to deny a conflict of interest relating to his childcare centre, ABC Learning Centres, after Labor suggested he had "serious questions to answer".

Mr Dutton defended the business as well as a $75,000 bill for a seven-day parliamentary trip he had taken the previous year with his wife.

He will be forced to front up to fresh questions about the business after the Attorney-General referred new allegations to court in August.

Mr Dutton's wife is the owner and childcare director at the Camelia Avenue Childcare Centre in Everton Hills, as well as Bald Hills Childcare Centre, both in Brisbane's north-west. Both are owned by RHT Family Trust, of which the couple and their children are beneficiaries, according to documents.

Since July 2, the government's childcare reforms have meant centres receive Commonwealth subsidies, which are passed on to parents.

It's yet to be decided whether Mr Dutton has a "direct or indirect pecuniary interest with the Public Service of the Commonwealth" - which means if proven true, he will be disqualified from parliament. Malcolm Turnbull has said he will receive legal advice on the matter as early as Friday morning.

Known as a figurehead within the conservative group of the Coalition, the 47-year-old has faced other controversies over the years across his multiple roles including Minister for Health and Sport, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Minister for Home Affairs.

He was the only frontbencher to intentionally skip Kevin Rudd's apology to the stolen generation in 2008 and his tough approach to border protection has drawn widely publicised criticism.

As Australia's political future is decided, Mr Turnbull is expected to hold a party meeting and invite a leadership spill motion to be moved.

If that happens he won't contest the leadership, and will leave Parliament. Peter Dutton is predicted to take over, with Mr Turnbull's preferred candidate Scott Morrison and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop the other contenders.