USA TODAY US Edition
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER IS OUSTED
Turnbull to be 4th PM since June 2013
“The burden of leadership is a very heavy one. ... (His) achievements ... have been formidable.” Malcolm Turnbull said of his predecessor, Tony Abbott
Australia will have a new prime minister Tuesday after Tony Abbott lost a Liberal Party leadership challenge to former communications minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Turnbull won 54 votes to 44 at the internal party ballot Monday at Parliament House in the capital Canberra, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was voted in as deputy Liberal leader, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported.
Turnbull, who was ousted as leader of the party by Abbott in 2009, will become Australia’s fourth prime minister in just over two years, when Kevin Rudd succeeded Julia Gillard in June 2013. Turnbull said “his assumption” was that Parliament would serve its full term.
The change in leadership does not undermine the security of the government, which commands a clear majority in the House of Representatives, where parties form government. Any no-confidence motion proposed by the opposition Labor Party against the new prime minister would be doomed to failure.
Turnbull resigned from the Cabinet earlier Monday before meeting with Abbott and declaring his intentions to challenge him for the leadership, as the 2year-old conservative coalition government struggles in polls.
Speaking to reporters after the vote, Turnbull said the nation owes a “great debt” to Abbott and said he would lead a “thoroughly Liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market,” ABC reported.
“The burden of leadership is a very heavy one. Tony has discharged that as leader of the party and, of course, as prime minister over many years now and the achievements of the government that he has led have been formidable,” he added, ac- cording to the broadcaster.
Unlike Abbott, Turnbull, 60, supports gay marriage, wants Australia to replace Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state with an Australian president and backs a policy of making polluters pay for their carbon gas emissions.
In February, Abbott survived a leadership challenge after lawmakers rejected a motion that called for a ballot for the party’s top position, initiated by disgruntled lawmakers in the face of dismal opinion polling.
Abbott’s ouster continues a volatile period in Australian federal politics, especially as the Liberals were elected in 2013 as a stable alternative to the Laborcontrolled government.
Labor came to power under Rudd in 2007, but dumped him for his deputy, Gillard, in 2010. The government then dumped Gillard for Rudd months before the 2013 elections.