Financial Times

Turnbull ousts Abbott as Australia PM and signals new style

by Jamie Smyth

September 16, 2015 | 2:52 pm
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Former Goldman Sachs banker Malcolm Turnbull will become Australia’s fourth prime minister in the space of two years after leading a coup against incumbent and long­time
adversary Tony Abbott.

In a day of political drama in Canberra, members of the ruling centre­right Liberal party voted in favour of the former lawyer by 54 to 44, putting an end to months of leadership speculation that unsettled business confidence.

After winning the vote, Mr Turnbull ­ himself deposed as party leader by Mr Abbott in 2009 ­ signalled a change in style from Mr Abbott’s strident leadership. “The prime minister of Australia is not a president. The prime minister is the first among equals,” he said, as he insisted he would lead a consultative and traditional cabinet government. “This will be a thoroughly liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market.”

Mr Abbott took over as premier in 2013 with the promise of bringing stable government to Australia after the previous Labor administration deposed two prime ministers ­ Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard ­ in three years. But he quickly became a divisive figure, hampered by policy missteps, gaffes and a weak economy.

Public support for the Liberal­National coalition government has been haemorrhaging for months, with Labor consistently leading in the opinion polls ahead of a general election
expected to be held next year.

Mr Turnbull, 60, was one of Australia’s most powerful lawyers before setting up his own investment bank. He was managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia from 1997 to 2001
before being elected in 2004 to the federal parliament for a seat in Sydney.

 

Jamie Smyth


by Jamie Smyth

September 16, 2015 | 2:52 pm
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