Scott Morrison is Australia’s new prime minister, beats Dutton, Bishop

By @chelean on
The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his deputy Josh Frydenberg
The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his deputy Josh Frydenberg attend a swearing-in ceremony in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018. Reuters/David Gray

Scott Morrison is the new Australian prime minister, replacing Malcolm Turnbull as the new Liberal leader. The treasurer beat Peter Dutton, 45-40, while third contender Julie Bishop lost in the first round on Friday.

After days of turmoil among the Liberal party, Turnbull was forced to call a meeting to resolve their party’s crisis on Friday. It was his last day as prime minister as he was succeeded by Morrison in the so-called Liberal spill.

He thanked the Australian people for his three-year term as leader, listing his achievements over the period. He also praised his former treasurer, saying Morrison had been loyal and effective.

Turnbull has had a few words to those who he claimed wanted to topple his leadership.

“I was impressed by how many of my colleagues spoke or voted for loyalty above disployalty, how the insurgents were not rewarded,” he said. “The people who chose — Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others — who chose to deliberately attack the Government from within, they did so because they wanted to bring the Government down.”

As he would be leaving Parliament, there would be a by-election for his seat of Wentworth, Sydney.

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull kisses his wife Lucy, while standing with daughter Daisy, and grandchildren Alice and Jack after a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018. Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull kisses his wife Lucy, while standing with daughter Daisy, and grandchildren Alice and Jack after a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018.  Reuters/David Gray

Dutton said that although he lost to Morrison, he was pleased that the former treasurer has been chosen to lead the party. He still thought Morrison would be a better candidate than Turnbull.

“I think it’s a turning point and I think it’s a healing point for the Liberal Party,” he was quoted by the ABC as saying. “I think we now look forward instead of back.”

Josh Frydenberg, meanwhile, beat fellow Victorian Greg Hunt and Queenslander Steve Ciobo as the new deputy leader, replacing Bishop. Frydenberg will also be treasurer.

Bishop, who is still Foreign Minister, has said she wouldn’t be releasing a statement on plans yet.

Incoming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) walks next to his new deputy Josh Frydenberg Incoming Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R) walks next to his new deputy Josh Frydenberg after a party meeting in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018.  Reuters/David Gray/Pool

From the Opposition

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has nothing but praise for his former rival. The Labor leader said Turnbull had led the country with love, calling him a “formidable opponent.”

“In 2016, Malcolm and I led our two parties in the longest election campaign in fifty years and in some respects, I suppose we have been engaged in that same contest in the two years since,” he said in a statement.

“But for all our verbal conflict, for all the fierce words we’ve exchanged, I hope Malcolm knows that I have always respected him as a formidable opponent, as an advocate of great intellect and eloquence and as someone who came to parliament, relatively late in life, because he was driven by the desire to serve.

“Australian politics will always need people like that, on all sides. The final observation I would make may seem a small thing but I believe it says a great deal.

“On many occasions, Malcolm and I would speak at the same events. I don’t think any Australian Prime Minister has used the word ‘love’ more frequently in his public remarks.

“Anyone who listened to him speak could always hear his deep and profound love for his wife Lucy, for their children and grandchildren. But also his abiding love for our country.”

Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has experience being both the winning and losing party in a leadership spill, has a message for Turnbull as well.

“Congratulations to @ScottMorrisonMP — always an honour to serve. To the 29th PM from the 27th PM, @TurnbullMalcolm there is a life after. Best wishes for the days to come,” she wrote.