The musical chairs in Australia’s high-stakes power politics continues as the country prepares to get its fifth prime minister in eight years. Incumbent Tony Abbot was ousted as prime minister and the leader of the ruling liberal party after his popularity plummeted over the past few months. Malcolm Turnbull is set to become the new prime minister after being elected as the leader of the Liberal party.
Turnbull, a multi-millionaire former banker and tech entrepreneur, won a secret party room vote by 54 to 44, according to Liberal Party whip Scott Buchholz. Liberal MPs also voted for Julie Bishop to remain deputy leader of the party. Mr Turnbull is expected to be sworn in after Mr Abbott writes to the Governor General and resigns.
Mr Turnbull also served as Minister for Communication under Mr Abbot before he resigned to launch a leadership challenge. Speaking about the leadership crisis in the party, Mr Turnbull said that he had not taken the decision lightly, and stressed that it was “clear enough that the government is not successful in providing the economic leadership that we need” and that Australia needed a new style of leadership.
The ongoing global crisis has hit Australia especially after China’s economic crisis worsened. The Australian dollar hit a six-year low. Almost 60 per cent of Australia’s exports to China is made up of iron ore and the price of the metal has been steadily dropping since 2013. The leadership change comes at a time when the Australian economy has slowed down.
Some of Mr Abbot’s decisions were viewed as more hawkish than any of his predecessors. Mr Turbull, on the other hand, has strong views on issues such as climate change and gay marriage which has earned him criticism from many members within his own party.
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