It is “a great time to seize the day”, Turnbull vowed earlier this morning.
The difficult year of Prime Ministership for Tony Abbott has come to a screeching halt after Malcolm Turnbull contested the top job last night. Turnbull resigned from his post as Communications Minister and requested a leadership ballot in Question Time yesterday. Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader, also announced she would resign as Deputy Leader should Abbott remain Prime Minister.
Turnbull stated that the Government would lose the election if he did not contest, while continuing to say without change, opposition leader Bill Shorten will be the next Prime Minister. The question on most tongues is ‘what does this mean for Australia’?
The 54-44 vote to Malcolm Turnbull will place him as the 29th Prime Minister of Australia, followed by a 70-30 vote on Deputy Leader with Julie Bishop victorious over Kevin Andrews. Andrews said the stand for the role was to prove the point he could work with Turnbull despite their ideological divide.
Turnbull argues Australia needs economic leadership which “respects the intelligence of the Australian people”.
The change was predicted by betting companies with the odds of almost 1.0 for Turnbull’s win, and 11.0 for Abbott’s return.
The Australian dollar increased last night and again this morning with a surge up to 71.38 US cents earlier this morning, suggesting increased global confidence in Australia from a leadership change.
Labor Campaign Director George Wright was quick to announce “nothing has changed”, emailing party faithful with suggestions Turnbull has committed to the same party lines relating to deregulation, same-sex marriage and other contentious issues.
Labor would most likely prefered Abbott as leader, observing an easier political opponent in the former Prime Minister. Turnbull is expected to be a much stronger contender against Shorten and is equally as likely to see a jump on the last thirty polls lost by the Government.
With a change to a more progressive political leader, it is less a question of if anything will change, but rather when. Turnbull walked into the party room last night with Wyatt Roy MP at his side, a young MP who publicly stated he would cross the floor to vote for same-sex marriage. The Prime Minister has highly different opinions to his former leader, and this will inevitably result in change.
Government whip Andrew Nikolic, Senate President Stephen Parry, Senate Leader Eric Abetz walked into the chamber with Abbott, likely in support. Andrew Nikolic was the only of the three Amigos who publicly supported anyone while Eric Hutchinson MP refuses to comment and Brett Whiteley refusing to let this distract him from representing Braddon. Tasmania has high representation in the Abbott cabinet, and this will likely result in less senior Tasmanian MPs in a Turnbull government.
Other senior ministers in the Abbott cabinet are also under fire; Treasurer Joe Hockey and Social Services Minister Scott Morrison could both face turbulent times under a Turnbull government.
Inevitably, the Liberal Party will change dramatically under the leadership of Turnbull, likely shifting to a ‘broader church’ style of governing whereby a broader cross-section of opinions will be sought. Social stances may be some of the first on the agenda for Turnbull.