Scott Morrison to be new Australian PM as Malcolm Turnbull ousted

Malcolm Turnbull is the fourth Australian prime minister in the last decade to be forced out internally 

Scott Morrison is to be Australia's new prime minister
Scott Morrison is to be Australia's new prime minister

Scott Morrison is to be Australia’s new prime minister after Malcolm Turnbull was forced out by party rivals in a bruising leadership contest.

On Friday, Turnbull failed in his attempt to stare down a challenge from hard right MP Peter Dutton, with insurgents in his party gathering enough signatures to call for a “spill” of the leadership”.

This led to a three-way challenge between Morrison, Turnbull’s treasurer, former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and Julie Bishop, the foreign minister.

Turnbull is the fourth Australian PM in a decade to be ousted internally. He had been under pressure from poor polling and what he described as an "insurgency" by conservative MPs.

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

In his valedictory speech, Turnbull warned against the rising tide of populist anti-immigration political rhetoric, promoted from within his own party.

“We are the most successful multicultural society in the world, and I have always defended that and advanced that as one of our greatest assets,” he said. “We must never allow the politics of race or division or of setting Australians against each other to become part of our political culture.”

Morrison won an internal ballot 45-40 over Dutton - who had been Turnbull's most vocal threat.

Morrison was treasurer in Turnbull’s administration, and immigration minister before that, when he was behind Australia’s controversial hardline asylum-seeker policies – including indefinite detention on remote foreign islands.

He voted no in Australia’s plebiscite on same-sex marriage, listed “church” as one of his interests in his Who’s Who report, and regards former prime minister John Howard as his political inspiration.

In his final press briefing, Turnbull called the week "madness" and thanked his colleagues for choosing Morrison over Dutton.

"We have so much going for us in this country. We have to be proud of it and cherish it," he said.

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