Former Treasurer Scott Morrison is Australia’s 30th Prime Minister.
He just won the ballot over rival Peter Dutton 45-40 after Julie Bishop was eliminated from the three-way contest.
He’s also the nation’s sixth PM in six years.
Morrison won the Liberal leadership in a party room meeting on Friday, after the party voted to spill Malcolm Turnbull from the top job in a 45-40 vote.
Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg is the new deputy PM, replacing Julie Bishop.
Morrison first entered politics in 2007, the defeat of the Howard government after nearly 12 years, as the member for Cook in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
He first entered the ministry under Tony Abbott, taking charge of immigration and delivering on his leader’s election promise to “stop the boats”.
A year on in 2014, he became Social Services Minister, then when Abbott was rolled by Turnbull in September 2015, he became the new PM’s treasurer, taking over from Joe Hockey. It’s a role in which he once again made his mark with three federal budgets that were widely accepted, cementing the economic credentials of the Turnbull government during a period of record jobs growth.
He was a late entrant to the leadership contest, and when outgoing PM Malcolm Turnbull yesterday turned down Dutton’s request for a party room meeting, delaying it for 24 hours, many believed it was to buy time for Morrison to build his support base.
Morrison is one of the few MPs to remain publicly loyal to Turnbull in the leadup to today’s spill.
As some observers noted of today’s spill, had Turnbull not be abandoned by the trio of Mathias Corman, Mitch Fifield and Michaelia Cash, who in announcing their shift yesterday saying they believed the party was behind Dutton, he may have remained in power.
While he entered politics as a moderate, Morrison has steadily moved towards the conservative side of the party over his 11 years and thus is seen as the compromise candidate for those who feared the party may shift too far to the right and become unelectable.
Compared to Dutton, the change gives the government a chance of holding its ground against the Labor Opposition, with a Roy Morgan snap poll of 2,000 Australian voters yesterday finding that Morrison is in a “dead-heat” with Shorten as preferred prime minister – although that was a benchmark Turnbull always held a clear lead over Shorten in.
Yesterday’s poll found Morrison leads Shorten among men, while Shorten leads among women. Shorten leads Australians under 50, while Morrison leads 50+ year olds.
Scott Morrison now has just 10 months to prepare his government for an election, which needs to be held by June 2019.
He now needs to choose a new ministry and try and quell the conservative forces that have spent three years trying to tear down Turnbull at the urging of Abbott.
NOW READ: LIVE: A huge day in Australian politics
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