by Allanah Leahy – EM TV World News
A dramatic political turn of events last night resulted in the ousting of Tony Abbott as Liberal Party leader and Prime Minister of Australia.
Newly-instated Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, was sworn in today, after defeating Abbott in a Liberal ballot last night, 54 votes to 44.
Tony Abbott’s leadership was challenged earlier in February this year, but this time, he did not survive.
Today, he made a solemn farewell as leader, before the new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in.
“Leadership changes are never easy for our country. My pledge today is to make this change as easy as I can. There will be no wrecking, no undermining and no sniping. I’ve never leaked or back-grounded against anyone and I certainly won’t start now, our country deserves better than that. I want our government and our country to succeed, I always have and I always will,” he said in a press conference.
Although Turnbull is a strong climate change advocate and critic of past climate change policies, including those within his own party, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten noted that a change of leadership does not necessarily reflect a positive change in direction.
But Turnbull, a former banker and lawyer, promised a robust and progressive outlook to change.
Public opinions, however, are mixed with doubt over the apparent leadership instability.
“I’ve voted in three elections now and had five Prime Ministers, so yeah it’s a bit scary,” David Cliff, a case manager for workers’ compensation, told Reuters.
“He does run the risk of being excessively over-intellectual in the way he goes about things. He doesn’t necessarily have a common touch, I mean he’s a former merchant banker, you know, senior board positions, he’s not really the sort of guy who’s gonna bite into an onion on a farm, that sort of thing.
“Which was the appeal I think of Tony Abbott, who still had solid support in his party towards the end, so it’s 22 per cent of the Liberal national voters still strongly supported him at the end because of the way in which he kind of had that common touch. So I think he has those difficulties as the new PM,” said Dr Peter John Chen, a government and international relations lecturer at the University of Sydney.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill thanked outgoing Prime Minister Tony Abbott, while congratulating Turnbull. Prime Minister O’Neill addressed PNG and Australia’s need for closer cooperation, especially on the devastating damage caused by climate change in the Pacific region.