Turnbull ousts Abbott to become new Australian PM
Malcolm Turnbull won the Liberal Party room vote 54-44 in Canberra, hours after declaring his leadership bid.
A former lawyer turned businessman, Turnbull told a press conference that change was needed “for our party’s sake, for our country’s sake.”
“We need a different style of leadership. We need a style of leadership that respects the people’s intelligence, that explains these complex issues,” Turnbull said.
Abbott seemed caught off guard by the swift pace of the leadership challenge, though rumors had suggested his position was in trouble for months.
In a hastily convened press conference yesterday afternoon, Abbott said: “The prime ministership of this country is not a prize or a plaything to be demanded. It should be something which is earned by a vote of the Australian people.”
In February, Abbott emerged victorious from a no-confidence vote among his party colleagues, with 61 votes to 39. The Prime Minister may have won majority backing, but the 39 votes against him left him exposed and at risk of further insurrections.
Abbott came to power in 2013 with the promise of a stable government, immune from the infighting that had dogged the previous Labor leadership. During the previous government, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard jostled for the top job, and the Liberal Party rightly identified that the electorate had had enough.
However, a series of unpopular decisions exposed cracks within the Liberal Party. Abbott was seen to have bungled his first budget, which went down badly with voters.
The Liberal Party had sold itself as old hands when it came to managing the country’s economy, capable of correcting lax Labor spending, which had eroded a surplus deftly created by the former Liberal government, led by John Howard
Yesterday, Turnbull’s nomination speech pulled Abbott up on his economic record, CCN reports.
“It is clear enough that the government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need,” he said. “He has not been capable of providing the economic confidence that business needs.”
Abbott defended himself against the attack by drawing on the government’s successes.
“Since coming to Government, our team has stopped the boats, improved the budget, cut taxes and increased jobs. We have laid the foundation for a better deal for families and for small business.