Malcolm Turnbull new Australian Prime Minister, beats Tony Abbott by 10 votes

By @giherela on
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Malcolm Turnbull was voted Australia's new prime minister on Monday September 14, 2015. He beat former Prime Minister Tony Abbott by just 10 votes. Reuters/Sean Davey

Malcolm Turnbull won the party ballot on Monday night to become the Liberal Party's new leader and Australia's 29th prime minister, having secured 54 votes against Tony Abbott’s 44 votes.

Julie Bishop also defeated Kevin Andrews to take up the position of Liberal Party deputy leader, 70 votes to 30 votes.

The Party met for just under 40 minutes to decide the leadership, following a push earlier on Monday by Turnbull and Bishop for a leadership ballot

 

Meanwhile, international leaders are reportedly offering their congratulations to Turnbull, with New Zealand prime minister John Key wishing the new PM-elect "the best", and extending his message to Abbott.

"For the last two years Tony Abbott has been a loyal friend of NZ and we thank him for that. Tonight will be a difficult time for him and his family," he said, according to the NZ Herald. "I am confident our close and critical relationship with Australia will continue unchecked with the change of Prime Minister."

Turnbull reacts to leadership ballot win

Turnbull took to the podium after emerging victorious from the party room, noting that the experience has been "important" and "sobering", and saying that the nation and the party owes a "great debt" to Tony Abbott:

"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.

"The free trade agreements that have been negotiated represent some of the key foundations of our future prosperity which I’ll talk about in a moment. And, of course, restoring the security on our borders has been an extraordinarily important step enabling us, for example, to offer the increased and generous arrangements for Syrian refugees last week. So I want to thank Tony very much indeed for that."

He went on to say that the party will now, under his leadership, have an economic vision and a leadership that explains the great challenges and seizes the opportunities that Australia faces. 

"This will be a thoroughly Liberal government. It will be a thoroughly Liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market. 

"The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future proof ourselves. We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.

"There has never been a more exciting time to be alive than today and there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian."

Turnbull also said that while ministerial changes are inevitable, ministers will continue in their positions until the end of the week, unless they choose to step down. It is widely believed Joe Hockey will be replaced by Scott Morrison as treasurer, while ABC's political editor Chris Uhlmann said "some of the loyalists for the Prime Minister would be going with him" from ministerial portfolios.

"We'll find out in the next 24 hours," he said.

Bishop will retain her position as Australian foreign minister, and affirmed that the government's climate change targets will remain unchanged. Parliament is expected to serve out its full term. 

The word from Tony Abbott's office is that he will not be making a statement on Monday night. 

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