Turnbull will be replaced by former treasurer Scott Morrison, who defeated Turnbull’s early rival for the position Peter Dutton in a Liberal Party ballot by 45 votes to 40, Fairfax Media reports.
Deputy prime minister Julie Bishop, who was also Australia’s foreign minister, has also been removed from office, and will be replaced by Josh Frydenberg.
The result of the leadership contest is seen as something of a compromise following what Turnbull described as an “insurgency” from the right wing of his party, during his final address to the media as prime minister.
“Australians will be dumb-struck and appalled by the conduct of the last week,” Turnbull told the ABC, adding that those behind the leadership challenge had decided to “deliberately attack the government from within… because they wanted to bring the government down. They wanted to bring my prime ministership down.”
Turnbull also indicated that he would be resigning from parliament entirely, which has the potential to destabilise the Australian government even further.
The outgoing PM’s resignation will force a by-election for his seat, and could potentially leave the government and in-coming prime minister Scott Morrison without a majority in the lower house, and unable to form a government.
Turnbull only held a one-seat majority in the lower house, and should his party lose the upcoming by-election, it would force Australia into a fresh general election, which polling suggests the opposition Labor Party is likely to win. (Courtesy The Week)