Malcolm Turnbull Sworn in as Australia’s 29th Prime Minister
Australia has sworn in new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, after Tony Abbott was ousted by his party in a leadership challenge.
Malcolm Turnbull, who was communications minister under Tony Abbott, is the fourth prime minister since 2013.
After taking the oath of office, Malcolm Turnbull attended his first Question Time in parliament as prime minister.
Tony Abbott on September 15 said his removal was “tough” but promised not to undermine the new government.
In his first public comments since his removal by the Liberal party late on Monday, Tony Abbott said it had been “a tough day, but when you join the game, you accept the rules”.
Tony Abbott said he was proud of what his government had achieved, while also taking swipes at party members who had leaked to the media and carried out “a sour, bitter character assassination”.
He did not say if he would remain on the backbench or eventually resign from politics.
Tony Abbott’s removal followed weeks of tumbling polls ratings and speculation about a challenge to his leadership.
In a move led by Malcolm Turnbull and his deputy and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Tony Abbott was voted out by the Liberal party by 54 votes to 44.
In his first Question Time session in parliament, Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to Tony Abbott, and said these are “the most exciting times to be an Australian”.
“The future is one of great opportunities and that requires confidence and leadership and it will be lost if we embrace the politics of fear and scaremongering.”
He said policies would “change in the light of changed conditions”, but did not signal any immediate amendments to contentious issues including same sex marriage and climate policy.
Opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten said Tony Abbott had been “a formidable fighter” in office, and praised his “generous and personal” nature.
Malcolm Turnbull is not expected to announce a new cabinet line-up until the end of the week.
Following his fierce criticism of Tony Abbott’s economic leadership, there has been speculation that Joe Hockey might lose the Treasury portfolio.
Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday night the government would serve a full term, meaning a general election is likely in mid-2016.
The first real test of how the public has taken the news will be on September 19 in a by-election for the seat of Canning in Western Australia.
The seat is held by the Liberal Party. Opinion polling done before Monday night’s ballot suggested the Liberals would retain the seat but at a reduced majority.