Scott Morrison sworn in as new Australian PM after bitter coup

Morrison became prime minister after winning a three-way contest by his party after they chose to spill Malcolm Turnbull from the top job.

Australia appears set to get its sixth change of prime minister in 11 years, which would continue an era of extraordinary political instability.

Part of why Australian leadership has changed so often has to do with party rules.

Mr Morrison defeated the key challenger Peter Dutton, a former Cabinet minister, by a vote of 45-40.

Although he first entered Parliament in 2007, Mr. Morrison first rose to the public's attention as immigration minister and his introduction of tough asylum seeker policies alongside offshore detention centres for processing illegal arrivals.

The Liberal party is the senior partner in the ruling conservative coalition that will face an election by May 2019. Morrison left his mark on the role, with three federal budgets that were widely accepted, cementing the economic credentials of the Turnbull government during a period of record jobs growth.

Scott Morrison was sworn in as the country's 30th leader late Friday after a bitter Liberal Party revolt against moderate Malcolm Turnbull driven by a hardline conservative faction.

"If the motion is carried, I will treat that as a vote of no confidence and I will not stand as a candidate in the ballot", Mr Turnbull said.

But the fallout over Mr Turnbull being removed by his own party has been swift and severe.

Former human services minister Michael Keenan, who switched his allegiance from Malcolm Turnbull to back Mr Dutton, does not expect to be returned to the ministry.


He also condemned Dutton and said that "many Australians will be shaking their heads in disbelief at what's been done".

The Liberal Party coup plotters have done a brilliant job over the past few days, at least if their starting goal was to convince as many voters as possible that they could not care less about the business of running the country.

Josh Frydenberg, meanwhile, beat fellow Victorian Greg Hunt and Queenslander Steve Ciobo as the new deputy leader, replacing Bishop.

Australia, we have a new Prime Minister.

Morrison faced off against Peter Dutton for the leadership, who also holds strong views on LGBT+ people.

It is not clear who if anyone will take Mr Turnbull's place on an important trip he planned next week to regional neighbours Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, which would end at an annual forum of 18 Pacific island nations on Nauru on Sept 5.

Adding pressure on rebel lawmakers, Turnbull said he would resign from parliament if he lost the leadership, threatening the government's one-seat majority.

"We intend to be governing ... so I don't think anybody should be making any plans for any elections any time soon", Morrison said.

Relations between Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull started badly in Feb 2017 when Mr Trump berated the Australian leader over a bilateral refugee agreement before abruptly ending their telephone conversation, according to a leaked transcript of the call. "We must now all unite and move forward together working hard for the Australian people".

  • Tracy Klein