Scott Morrison: Liberal Leader and Australia’s next Prime Minister

Morrison PM leadership challenge
Scott Morrison defeated Julie Bishop (left) and Peter Dutton (right) in a three-way leadership contest. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)

24 August 2018

Louise Yaxley – ABC News

Scott Morrison has been elected Liberal Leader and will become Australia’s next Prime Minister after beating Peter Dutton 45-40 in a leadership ballot.

Key points:

  • Malcolm Turnbull lashes out at the wreckers he said had created chaos
  • Peter Dutton says he will provide “absolute loyalty” to Scott Morrison
  • Turnbull has resigned as Prime Minister

The Liberal decision ends Malcolm Turnbull’s three years as PM. Mr Turnbull has now been to Government House to resign as Prime Minister.

Earlier, he thanked the Australian people and listed achievements including tax cuts, same-sex marriage and jobs growth. He said his successor had been a very loyal and effective treasurer.

The outgoing PM lashed out at the wreckers he said had created chaos. He said there had been a determined insurgency trying to, “if not bring down the Government, then bring down my Prime Ministership”.

“I was impressed by how many of my colleagues spoke or voted for loyalty above disloyalty, 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.”

Turnbull last press conference

Malcolm Turnbull stood with his family at his last press conference as Prime Minister. (Photo: ABC News: Matt Roberts)

Mr Turnbull said he would be leaving Parliament very soon, which means there will be a by-election for his Sydney seat of Wentworth.

In a pointed sign, Mr Turnbull did not call on any News Corp journalists to ask questions at his final media conference.

The spill has exposed the level of bitterness inside the party. Moderate Trent Zimmerman said it had been a “horrific week”.

After being defeated, Mr Dutton said he would provide “absolute loyalty” to Mr Morrison. “To make sure we win the election, that we defeat Bill Shorten to make sure that he’s never Prime Minister,” Mr Dutton said.

His supporters had been pushing for the leadership change including circulating the petition to force a meeting. But the move backfired with Mr Morrison winning the ballot.

Former PM Tony Abbott left the meeting saying “we’ve lost the Prime Minister but there is still a government to save. That is what all of us will do our best to do now,” Mr Abbott said.

Long-serving deputy leader Julie Bishop has also lost her position to Victorian Josh Frydenberg who defeated Greg Hunt and Steve Ciobo with an absolute majority.

Mr Morrison will emerge from a chaotic and crisis-filled week in Federal Parliament as the nation’s 30th PM. The 50 year old has served as Mr Turnbull’s Treasurer since the last leadership change in September 2015. He will now need to reshape the ministry which has been rocked by resignations this week as frontbenchers agitated to dump Mr Turnbull.

The closeness of the vote reflects the deep divisions in the Liberal Party. Frontbencher Melissa Price supported Mr Turnbull and described it as an emotional meeting. She said Mr Morrison gave a powerful speech after his victory.

Ms Price said the new leader described 10 years of “sniping, negativity and instability” and he said “the time is for us to put that all behind”. She told the ABC Mr Turnbull appeared shocked by the closeness of the result.

“I think he could not believe how close it was that we had gone through all of this during the week and we really hadn’t progressed that much,” she said.

[Read the ABC News article].

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