Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott deposed, Turnbull wins leadership ballot by 10 votes

The Sydney News.Net Monday 14th September, 2015

australian prime minister tony abbott deposed, turnbull wins leadership ballot by 10 votes

CANBERRA, Australia - Malcolm Turnbull has won a leadership ballot in Canberra. The results of the ballot were announced at 10:50pm local time.


Tony Abbott who has been prime minister since the 2013 election win, has been under pressure for the best part of the year. As Turnbull pointed out earlier in the day however the government itself has lost 30 Newspolls in a row.

The sacking of a sitting prime minister is unusual for the Liberal Party, it has not been done before. The Labor Party did the same to Kevin Rudd and then again to his successor Julia Gillard. It was also done by the Labor Party 25 years ago to one of Australia's most popular prime ministers Bob Hawke.

Turnbull, who lost the leadership to a ballot in 2009 by one vote had a convincing win. He won 54 votes to Abbott's 44. There was one informal vote in the secret ballot.

Julie Bishop easily won a second ballot for the deputy leadership, notching up 70 votes to 30, beating Kevin Andrews. She earlier gave her support to Turnbull, which veteran Liberal Michael Kroger said was decisive in the leadership challenge. Bishop is now in her 8th year as deputy.

Rupert Murdoch, boss of News Corp, who campaigned vigorously for Tony Abbott leading up to the 2013 election and has supported him since was saddened at his demise. News Corp's journalists have kept Turnbull at bay with negative comments about his leadership style and past performance as opposition leader. Murdoch did not comment about Turnbull when he tweeted his views after the ballot. He did however say Turnbull needed to call a snap poll in November, something he has been calling for in recent weeks. Mr Murdoch is also of the opinion Labor will replace Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

"Sad to see such a decent man as Abbott toppled," Murdoch tweeted. "Now Turnbull needs a November election before Labor sacks Shorten."

Turnbull is likely to be sworn in on Tuesday. He will become the 29th prime minister of Australia, and the fifth prime minister the country has had in 5 years.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, who stuck with Abbott to the end is likely to lose his portfolio and be replaced by Scott Morrison. He earlier on Monday railed against the "outrageous disloyalty," of those behind the leadership challenge. "The disloyalty of some has been outrageous," he told reporters on Monday night. "The prime minister has my absolute loyalty as I have his."

Following the poll many Abbott supporters were left shell-shocked, dismayed or outright angry. Those involved in promoting the bid were being singled out and criticised, critics arguing they were acting in their own selfish interests.

Graham Richardson, a power broker for years with the Australian Labor Party defended the conspirators saying they were unlikely to have been agitating for a change to benefit themselves. He pointed out 54 of the members voted for Turnbull and the main reason for the change was that the government had been behind in the polls for a very long time, and with elections a year out, if they had passion for their party and the retention of the government then that would have been the basis for their actions.

Asked on Sky News what Turnbull will have to do in the early days, Richardson said he will have to come up with a completely new government which will involve a "big-time reshuffle." People will want them to have a plan, a mini budget, he said.

Turnbull spoke well after the ballot after waiting to see if Mr Abbott wanted to make a speech, which he declined to do. The outgoing prime minister was meeting with colleagues and supporters and fielding calls from supporters around the country.

"This has been a very important day in the life of the nation, the government, and our party," Mr Turnbull said late Monday night. "What a great debt the country, the government and party owes Tony Abbott," Turnbull said. He went on to articulate the achievements of the government in Mr Abbott's two years as prime minister. "I want to thank Tony Abbott very much," the PM-to-be said.

"This has been a very important, sobering experience today," Mr Turnbull added. He said he was very humbled by the result.

Asked if the government would serve its full term, Turnbull said it would.

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