Malcolm Turnbull is set to become Australia’s new prime minister after beating Tony Abbott by 54 votes to 44 in a snap Liberal party ballot and promising the country a new, respectful, slogan-free leadership style. The Liberal party whip Scott Buchholz announced the results to waiting journalists about 30 minutes after the meeting of parliamentarians began. There was one informal vote. Julie Bishop remains deputy Liberal leader and a ministerial shakeup looms after the leadership upheaval. Liberal party votes 54-44 in favour of Malcolm Turnbull taking over from current prime minister Tony Abbott. Long-simmering leadership tensions exploded on Monday when Turnbull declared a challenge, arguing Abbott had shown himself unable to make the case for policy change or turn around the Coalition’s political fortunes.
Abbott pleaded with his party not to repeat the Labor party’s mistakes, and his backers immediately mobilised a counteroffensive, seeking to build momentum during the five hours between Turnbull’s declaration and the ballot.
They insisted electorate offices were being “swamped” with calls from Liberal party members aghast that the party would consider removing a sitting prime minister and providing a parade of ministers to urge the party to stick with the current prime minister.
… The decision comes two years after Abbott led the Coalition to an election victory and seven months after Abbott’s “near death experience” in the last attempted leadership spill. The Coalition has been lagging behind Labor in major published opinion polls since last year, when the government’s first budget carried unpopular measures to cut health and education spending, deregulate university fees and introduce a Medicare co-payment.