Scott Morrison has been elected Liberal leader in the eventual Liberal partyroom meeting at 12.20pm today and hence will become Australia’s 30th Prime Minister. Morrison prevailed 45-40 votes on the second ballot against Peter Dutton with Julie Bishop eliminated on the first ballot. Josh Frydenberg was elected Deputy Leader.
After the initial spill position succeeded 45-40 Malcolm Turnbull resigned as Liberal leader and will now resign as member for Wentworth triggering a by-election. Julie Bishop ends nearly 11 years as Deputy Liberal leader serving three leaders and her future is yet unknown. Whether Peter Dutton, his chief backer and friend Mathias Cormann and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott will serve in the new Morrison ministry is also unknown.
Scott Morrison is a social conservative who abstained from the same sex marriage vote however many conservatives still view him as the main betrayer of Tony Abbott as Prime Minister in 2015 and as Turnbull’s Treasurer is too intertwined with his progressive policies. Both Morrison and Frydenberg were heavily involved in the decisions of the Turnbull Government including the contentious National Energy Guarantee.
Whether Morrison and Frydenberg can both introduce a policy reset and heal the bitter divisions between the conservative and moderate factions in the Liberal Party will be their first task. Winning the next election will be a whole other question.
Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott addressed the press coming out of the partyroom meeting congratulating the victors and hoping the party and government can heal and defeat Bill Shorten. Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg will address the media later on.
Malcolm Turnbull in his press conference has said he was proud having led a progressive Liberal government of lower taxes, record infrastructure spending and legalizing same sex marriage. He called on Australia to reject the politics of division, was glad the insurgents against him were not rewarded and wish Scott Morrison the best and thanked Julie Bishop for service.