Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been ousted following a leadership coup by Malcolm Turnbull, formerly the Minister of Communications. Turnbull is now the fourth Prime Minister of Australia in the space of five years.
Earlier today, Turnbull resigned from the cabinet to challenge Abbott for leadership of the Liberal Party of Australia, stating “We need a new style of leadership”.
Abbott was kicked out of office 55-44, making Turnbull the new Prime Minister-designate.
Tony Abbott had spent two years in the top office in Australia but his standing in the opinion polls had been hit hard from a series of unpopular budget cuts, policy U-turns and gaffes, which notably turned Abbott into a laughing stock in a piece by John Oliver’s US TV show ‘Last Week Tonight’.
As recently as last week, opinion polls had shown that only 30% of Australians were satisfied with Abbott’s leadership of the country.
Abbott had also been criticised for his views on same-sex marriage, which he opposed and blocked from being voted on, despite a majority of Australians supporting such a move. His denial of man-made climate change has also proved particularly controversial.
Malcolm Turnbull is a supporter of same-sex marriage and has signalled a willingness to hold a plebiscite on the matter. In addition, as a declared republican, there is some speculation that Turnbull may hold a referendum on abolishing the monarchy upon the death of Queen Elizabeth II. However, he has made clear that he will not shift policy on the issue of climate change.