Date
23 September 2018
Scott Morrison is set to take over as Australia's prime minister after he won a bruising leadership contest within the Liberal Party. Photo: Reuters
Scott Morrison is set to take over as Australia's prime minister after he won a bruising leadership contest within the Liberal Party. Photo: Reuters

Scott Morrison to become Australia PM after winning party ballot

Scott Morrison will become Australia’s new prime minister after winning a Liberal Party leadership vote on Friday, taking over from Malcolm Turnbull who has lost the backing of his party.

Morrison, who is currently serving as the nation’s Treasurer, is set to take the top post after beating former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in an internal party ballot.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was also in the running for the leadership, but didn’t make it to the final round.

Morrison will be Australia’s sixth prime minister in less than 10 years.

Friday’s vote brings to an end an internecine battle that has scarred the government ahead of an election due by May 2019, Reuters reports.

Incumbent PM Turnbull, who called the leadership meeting after losing the majority support of his party, opted not to contest the vote.

The leadership battle was sparked on Tuesday by an unsuccessful challenge by Dutton, who narrowly lost a vote against Turnbull.

Under intense pressure to call a second vote, Turnbull convened a party meeting on Friday after receiving a letter signed by the majority of party members calling for a change of leader.

Turnbull said before the ballot that if he lost the prime ministership he would resign from parliament.

Turnbull came to power in a party-room coup in September 2015.

A social liberal and multi-millionaire former merchant banker, he has struggled to appeal to conservative voters and only narrowly won a general election in 2016, Reuters noted.

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RC

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