New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attends a swearing-in ceremony in Canberra on Friday. Photo: REUTERS
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New Australian PM pledges 'generational change' to heal ruling party

5 Comments
By Colin Packham

New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised generational change in the warring Liberal Party on Friday, seeking to end an internecine battle that has scarred the conservative government ahead of an election due by May 2019.

Morrison, who was treasurer under outgoing prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, emerged the surprise winner in a three-way challenge for the leadership of the Liberal Party brought on by a right-wing rival this week.

Stepping up to become Australia's sixth prime minister in less than 10 years, Morrison has inherited leadership of a coalition between the Liberal and National parties whose one-seat majority will have to be defended when a by-election is held for a safe Sydney seat that Turnbull is set to vacate.

"Our job ... as we take forward this mantle of leadership as a new generation, is to ensure that we not only bring our party back together, which has been bruised and battered this week, but that ... we bring the parliament back together," Morrison said in his first appearance after his party-room victory.

"The new generation of Liberal leadership is on your side", he told Australian voters, many of whom are angry and frustrated with a decade of political instability in which no sitting prime minister has lasted a full term.

Morrison was sworn into office shortly after 6 p.m. on Friday.

He ruled out calling a general election in the near term but will still face an early electoral test, as Turnbull is set to resign from parliament, forcing a by-election in a Sydney seat that has been a safe seat for the Liberals.

Turnbull blamed his demise on "vengeance, personal ambition, factional feuding" in his party, led by conservative lawmakers including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the man he toppled in a party-room coup in September 2015.

"Australians will be dumbstruck and so appalled at the conduct of the past week," said Turnbull.

Liberal party member Warren Enserch said after the leadership vote: "This revolving door of prime ministers has got to stop".

The Liberal Party is the senior partner in the Liberal-National coalition government that has consistently trailed opposition Labor in opinion polls in recent months. Bookmakers on Friday had Labor a favorite to win the next poll.

Morrison's victory marks the chance for a break from a decade of leadership clashes between Turnbull and Abbott in both government and opposition, but ideological divisions in the party over issues such as climate change, energy policy, immigration and even globalisation remain stark.

Indeed, after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was eliminated after the first round of the leadership ballot, Morrison only defeated Peter Dutton, his more conservative rival, by 45 votes to 40. Three changed votes would have altered the result.

Dutton was at the center of the political turmoil this week. Seeking to head off his push for the top job, Turnbull unexpectedly called a leadership vote at a Liberal party meeting on Tuesday and won 48 to 35.

The victory margin was seen as unconvincing and Dutton and his influential supporters regrouped and pressed for a second vote, and seemed to be building momentum. Morrison emerged on Thursday as a candidate and quickly won favor with moderates.

While originally from the conservative wing of the Liberal party, Morrison is widely seen as a centrist and has rejected prominent right-wing policies, including limits on immigration.

"He is the compromise candidate, a bridge between the conservative and moderate wings of the party," said Haydon Manning, a political science professor at Flinders University in South Australia state.

"He can heal the wounds that threatened to fracture the coalition government and allow the government time to prepare for an election," he said.

But Morrison faces a series of policy decisions that could reopen old wounds within the government, including an impasse on energy, a topic that acted as a catalyst in Turnbull's demise.

Turnbull this week sought to placate conservative anger by stripping requirements for reducing greenhouse emissions from his centerpiece energy policy but the influential right-wing government lawmakers remain opposed to the policy.

Morrison will therefore need to find a way to meet Australia's commitment to reduce emissions by 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 under the Paris accord without stoking old divisions, a challenge Turnbull said would be difficult.

"The truth is that the coalition finds it very hard to get agreement on anything to do with emissions," said Turnbull.

Morrison's victory was welcomed by financial markets, which have been shaken by the political instability. Australian shares edged higher on Friday, rebounding after three days of losses that saw the benchmark fall 1.5 percent.

"PM Morrison is the most market-friendly option," said Annette Beacher, Chief Asia-Pac Macro Strategist at TD Securities in Singapore.

However, Beacher said markets would be looking to see whether Morrison can narrow the gap with opposition Labor.

"The skew towards the Labor party at this stage ensures they will form government at the next election," she said.

It was also hoped Morrison would end the political instability that has plagued Australia.

"The political turmoil of the past decade has come at the cost of our global competitiveness ... the business community needs policy certainty to promote investment and improve business confidence." said Tony Johnson, chief executive officer of Ernest & Young.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

5 Comments
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Time to go cap in hand I think as well

Won't be getting access to the former PM's millions anymore

No more $1.75 million dollar donations.

Funding is a biggg and urgent problem for the Liberal party. Just as important is getting some cohesion back.

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Though it sounds positive being a centrist with the divisions in the party,it's going to take some hard yakka to pull the party into line. Pretty bishy tis Oz politics.

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4th PM in 10 years. The Aussie sure seem to be impatient.

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4th PM in 10 years. The Aussie sure seem to be impatient.

Fifth, actually.

Kevin Rudd (2007-10, 2013) Julia Gillard (2010-13) Tony Abbott (2013-15) Malcolm Turnbull (2015-18) and now Scott Morrison (2018-)

Aussies are even more impatient than you thought.

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I used to like Scott Morrison. We know, Scott Morrison has been used for revenge Peter Dutton by Malcolm Turnbull. We have to wait and see how Scott Morrison will reorganize Liberal Party and his policy. Hopefully, he won’t listen to Turnbull’s advice

Current Coalition policy is former PM Tony Abbott's policy and his blue print for future Australia. Tony Abbott’s policy is good for Australia and its friends.

I have watched Malcolm Turnbull his farewell speech and he was boasting on TV about how his Government accomplished economy and immigration, infrastructure and free trade and so on. However, most of lift and right political commentators have commented about Malcolm Turnbull was he has achieved nothing on his own policy in the Office except Gay Marriage. He will back down if his colleagues didn't agree with his policy. Turnbull is only care about stay in the power as long as possible.

The Commentators talk about Turnbull was egoist, self centered, power monger and narcissistic and vengeful person.

Turnbull had leaked party room discussion to media to undermine his boss Prime Minister Tony Abbott and spreading rumors. Later, he confessed the reason for his party room coup was revenged to Tony Abbott. Abbott had defeated Turnbull for Liberal Party leadership in party room spill when they were in opposition 2009. Turnbull’s rating and Coalition rating was very bad at that time. The MPs asked him to change his center left policy but he refused to change. So Tony Abbott and other MPs challenged him for leadership. Tony Abbott had regrouped Liberal MPs and won election 90 seats to Labor 50 seats in 2013 Election. However, Tony Abbott was ousted by Malcolm Turnbull in September, 2015.

Now Coalition has only one seat advantage over Labor in lower house Malcolm Turnbull personality is very similar to Scientology leader David Miscavige.

Turnbull had promised after the 2013 Election win, there's no more party room coup in Liberal Party and he won’t be followed Labor Party style party room coup. However, he cannot control his jealous and hatred against former PM Tony Abbott and longing for the Office after Tony Abbott had successfully singed the free trade agreement with Japan, S. Korea and China. Tony Abbott is straightforward person and relationship between neighbor countries have improved and the economy was taking off again. Turnbull started leaking information to media and spreading rumor about affair between Prime Minister and his Chief of Staff Mrs. Peta Credlin. There's no affair and only rumor was spreading by Turnbull camp. Malcolm Turnbull couldn’t keep his promise to loyal PM Tony Abbott and no to Party room coup.  Malcolm Turnbull has been planning to oust PM Tony Abbott from the Office with the leader of faceless men James McGrath and Julie Bishop, Christopher Pyne.

Malcolm Turnbull is ruthless, egoist, self centered, power monger and narcissistic personality with vengeful person. Also he was over confidence with his wealth and he thinks, everything is possible for him with his money. He used $ 1.7 million his own money for the election campaign in Liberal marginal seats and won election by just single seat at 2016 Election.

Malcolm Turnbull said late Crown Casino owner and media mogul Kerry Parker did threaten to kill me and I said to him: 'Well, you'd better make sure that your assassin gets me first because, if he misses, you better know I won't miss you.'

Turnbull did it his way by creating three ways challenge between Peter Dutton, Scott Morrison and Julie Bishop. His loyal and closed ally Scott Morrison has won but Peter Dutton camp was not happy. Only Malcolm Turnbull will know about whether he was trying to wreck party unity as his last attempt before he goes or just only it was payback for Peter Dutton for try to oust him from the Office.

No more $ 1.7 million donation for Liberal Party. However,  Turnbull and his wife Lucy will spend millions of dollars of Tax payer money on the office, Chauffeur drive Government car, Limousine, overseas and domestic travels on business class and staying on five stars Hotel in the future as retired Prime Minister’s entitlement.

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