Scott Morrison to replace Turnbull as new Australian PM

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Canberra, Aug 24 (IANS) Former treasurer Scott Morrison is set to replace to Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s sixth Prime Minister in just over 10 years, following a leadership vote on Friday which ended a week of chaos.

A member of the ruling Liberal party’s conservative faction and former Immigration Minister, Morrison defeated former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by 45 votes to 40 at a closed door leadership vote shortly earlier in the day, CNN quoted party’s whip Nola Marino as saying.

Marino added that Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, had been elected as Deputy Prime Minister.

The development followed days of speculation and confusion over whether Turnbull could maintain his grip on the premiership in the face of a conservative uprising.

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The leadership crisis began on Tuesday following a backlash in the Liberal Party over Turnbull’s climate change policy, which would have legislated the Paris Agreement goals.

The right-wing of the party would prefer greater investment in the country’s coal sector and policies to lower Australians’ power prices.

Dutton, a leader in the party’s conservative faction, stood against Turnbull for the leadership in a vote on Tuesday, losing only narrowly by 48 votes to 35 and all but guaranteeing a second vote.

Morrison’s election to the top of the Liberal Party is just the latest in a revolving door of leadership changes in the Australian capital in the past decade.

Since 2007, no Australian Prime Minister has faced two consecutive elections, reports CNN.

Turnbull said on Thursday he would step down and leave the parliament following the vote, potentially cracking the government’s slender one-seat majority and leading to a by-election or even a general election.

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In his last press conference as Prime Minister, Turnbull said he was proud of his achievements but also hitting out at a “determined insurgency” behind this week’s leadership chaos, reports ABC News.

“It has been such a privilege to be the leader of this great nation. I love Australia. I love Australians,” he said on Friday.

“We have so much going for us in this country. We have to be proud of it and cherish it.”

Turnbull is the fourth Australian leader in a decade to be ousted by internal rivals.

–IANS

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