The PM's back-up is now missing and the outlook is as uncertain as ever.
Michael Gordon is the political editor of The Age.
The United Nations has expressed "grave concern" over the treatment of two asylum seekers who say they were savagely beaten by Papua New Guinea police and immigration officials on Manus Island before being arrested on New Year's Eve.
This is the damage-control reshuffle Malcolm Turnbull had to have after throwing Sussan Ley overboard: pragmatic, minimalist and utterly risk-averse.
The Turnbull government has slapped down Tony Abbott's call for it to ditch its renewable energy target for 2020, declaring there are "no plans" to change the policy that was settled when Mr Abbott was prime minister.
The death of a Sudanese refugee who alleged repeated negligence over six months by health providers on Manus Island is set to be investigated by a parliamentary committee following a move by the Labor Party.
Malcolm Turnbull is caught in a perfect storm, his government being assailed for making life harder for the less well off while certain of his ministers are seen to behave like the rich and famous.
Sussan Ley has blown Malcolm Turnbull's cover. She has resigned not because she concedes any breach of the rules covering politicians' travel or the Prime Minister's code of ministerial conduct.
Not once in her media conference at Albury did she say sorry to the public for not just one, but a number of errors of judgment when it comes to spending their money.
Sussan Ley's mea culpa for slugging the taxpayer for a trip to the Gold Coast when she bought a Main Beach apartment is hopelessly inadequate and will not be the end of the matter.
Heath Minister Sussan Ley's conduct invites the "pub test" at the precise time of year when many Australians, drink in hand, are extremely well-placed to apply it.