Australian Prime Minister ousted

Scott Morrison chosen as Australian PM after hardline elements in ruling party force out current PM Malcolm Turnbull over immigration.

Tags: Australia
Gary Willig ,

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Flag of Australia

Scott Morrison was selected as Australia's new Prime Minister Friday after hardline members of the ruling Liberal Party forced the ouster of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Morrison became Australia's fifth prime minister in the last five years.

Former home affairs minister Peter Dutton forced the "spill," or leadership challenge, in protest against Turnbull's more liberal policies. Dutton, Morrison, and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop competed to replace Turnbull as prime minister, with Morrison emerging as the victor.

Morrison, an ally of Turnbull who served as a treasurer and immigration minister under the former prime minister, is the architect of Australia's hardline policies against asylum seekers.

“Our job ... is to ensure that we not only bring our party back together, which has been bruised and battered this week, but that will enable us to ensure we bring the parliament back together,” Morrison said after he was tapped to become prime minister.

He cited Australia's continuing drought as "our most urgent and pressing need right now.”

Dutton stated that his "course from here is to provide absolute loyalty to Scott Morrison."

Turnbull announced his retirement from the House of Representatives and politics following his ouster. His departure would erase the ruling coalition's one-seat majority and could lead to early elections.

Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne strongly criticized hardline elements in the Liberal Party for challenging Turnbull's leadership. “I think some people should have considered the greater good of the people of Australia, and the government, rather than their own self-interest and ambition,” he said.

Another minister in the coalition, Nationals MP Darren Chester, wrote on Twitter: “Australia. We owe you an apology. I’m sorry. You deserve better than many of the things our Federal Parliament has served up to you for the past 10 years.”

The last Australian prime minister to serve a full term in office was John Howard, who was defeated when he ran for reelection in 2007.