Malcolm Turnbull defeats Tony Abbott in leadership challenge


Tony Abbott has been defeated by Malcom Turnbull in a Liberal Party of Australia leadership contest. Turnbull took 54 votes to 44 votes for Tony Abbott.

In the Deputy Leadership contest which also took place, Julie Bishop won 70 votes to 30 for Kevin Andrews.

Turnbull will now become the 29th Prime Minister of Australia.

There had been rumours for some time about the fragility of Tony Abbott’s leadership as opinion polls had fallen and the Liberal/National Coalition had grown ever more unpopular. That all came to a head on Monday when Malcolm Turnbull challenged the incumbent prime minister and a snap Liberal party ballot was held. Tony Abbott had faced a challenge in February but managed to persuade his colleagues that he should be given more time to turn around the government’s fortunes. His time ran out after Question Time today when Turnbull visited him and asked him to call a leadership ballot.

Turnbull is a former leader of the Liberal Party who was ousted by Abbott in 2009. The events of today have striking parallels with the Australian Labor Party battles between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. That all ended in tears when first Rudd was defeated in 2010 and then in 2013 Rudd came back and defeated Gillard before losing the subsequent general election. Turnbull has made it clear that he expects to take parliament through to a full term, which has to be on or before 14th January 2017.

Malcolm Turnbull (60) has a BA in Political Science from the University of Sydney as well as a Batchelor of Law. He took a BA in Civil Law at Brasenose College, Oxford, United Kingdom in 1980. From there he became a barrister before moving into business in 1983.

Turnbull was elected to parliament in 2004 and went on to serve as Minister for the Environment and Water (2007), Leader of the Opposition (2008 – 2009) and Minister for Communications (2013 – 2015). He is married with two children and, notably, is a republican and is known to be at odds with some of his party on climate change and same-sex marriage.

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