Australian prime minister ousted after party vote
September 14, 2015 05:57 pm
Australia’s beleaguered prime minister has been ousted from his position by an internal government challenge, and the party’s former leader has been elected to replace him.
Tony Abbott lost a leadership ballot by members of his conservative party following the second challenge to his position this year.
The change in leadership comes as the two-year-old conservative coalition government struggles in opinion polls.
Liberal Party whip Scott Buchholz told reporters that lawmakers voted 54 to 44 to replace Mr Abbott with his chief rival, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The vote continues an extraordinarily volatile period in Australian politics. Mr Turnbull becomes Australia’s fourth prime minister in just over two years.
Mr Turnbull and foreign minister Julie Bishop met with Mr Abbott earlier today to request a leadership ballot. Mr Turnbull led the party in opposition from 2008-2009 before being deposed by Mr Abbott.
Mr Abbott had dismissed leadership speculation just hours earlier.
“I just am not going to get caught up in Canberra gossip, I’m not going to play Canberra games,” he said. “I know that sometimes the media particularly like to play the Canberra game, but I’m not going to get involved with it.
“I’m just not going to chase all of these rabbits down all of the burrows that you are inviting me to go down, I’m just not going to play the Canberra games.”
At a press conference at 4pm local time (7am Irish time) Mr Turnbull outlined how it has come to this. (Irish Times)