Australia Gets Its 5th Prime Minister in 5 Years

Scott Morrison wins after Liberal party rebellion
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2018 2:37 AM CDT
Australia Gets Its 5th Prime Minister in 5 Years
Outgoing Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks during his final press conference before leaving Parliament in Canberra, Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andrew Taylor)

In the 35 years between 1975 and 2010, Australia had five prime ministers—the same number it has now had in the last 5 years. The latest to enter the revolving door is Scott Morrison, who emerged triumphant Friday after Malcolm Turnbull was forced out by his own party, the BBC reports. Members of the ruling Liberal Party—the more conservative of Australia's two main parties—forced a leadership contest in which Turnbull declined to stand. Morrison, a hardline conservative who served as treasurer under Turnbull, beat former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton 45-40 in an internal ballot. "It has been such a privilege to be the leader of this great nation," Turnbull said. "I love Australia. I love Australians."

Turnbull is the fourth prime minister to have been forced out by colleagues over the last decade, and his exit may lead to a new election, the Guardian reports. He says he won't stay in government, which will erase the Liberal-led coalition's single-seat majority. Turnbull was forced out by a right-wing rebellion in his party that Peter Hartcher, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, calls "pointless." "It brought down a prime minister, destabilized the government, damaged the standing of the ruling party, unsettled the country, and made Australian democracy an even bigger laughing stock," he writes. "Without satisfying the disgruntled faction that started it all." (In 2015, Turnbull's predecessor denounced "treachery" after he was ousted by his own party.)

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