UPDATE 4.40pm: New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has addressed the media for the first time in his new position, after being sworn in as Liberal leader.
“There has been a lot of talk this week about whose side people are on in this building. And what Josh and I are here to tell you, as the new generation of Liberal leadership, is that we are on your side [points to camera],” he said, according to Channel 10.
Revealing his first priority was Australia’s farming drought, he added a list of other priorities including: “To keep Australians safe from terrorism, all the way down to bullying in our schools. To keep our country together. To not pit one group [of Australians] against another. To ensure that one can succeed, and all can succeed. That one doesn’t have to fail for another one to succeed.”
He concluded: “Now, our job, particularly for Josh and I, as we take forward this mantle of leadership as a new generation, 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, that we can continue to work to ensure that our country stays close together.”
UPDATE 1.21pm: Speaking outside the meeting room, Dutton said: “I want to say congratulations to Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg. I want to thank Malcolm Turnbull very much for his service as prime minister to this country and Julie Bishop, who’s been an amazing foreign affairs minister and deputy leader of our party.”
He added: “My course from here is to provide absolute loyalty to Scott Morrison to make sure we win the election and that we beat Bill Shorten.”
He was closely followed by former PM Tony Abbott, who added: “Look we have lost the prime minister but there is still a government to save, that’s what we will try to do now, to save the government.”
UPDATE 1.08pm: Josh Frydenberg has been confirmed as Australia’s new deputy prime minister, taking Julie Bishop’s place and becoming second in line to new PM Scott Morrison.
Scott Morrison has been confirmed as the new prime minister of Australia, beating Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop in a final battle for the top spot.
According to ABC News, former treasurer Morrison won 45 votes to 40 after he and former immigration minister Dutton went head to head to replace Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader.
Julie Bishop was eliminated from the vote just half an hour into the meeting, leaving the contest between Morrison and Dutton. She has previously insisted she would not remain deputy to another leader, making her departure alongside Turnbull likely.
The spill came after 45 members voted in favour of spilling and 40 against, resulting in the Liberal leadership being declared vacant when Turnbull resigned.
The result spells the end of Malcolm Turnbull’s political career, as he previously confirmed he would not join the backbench like his predecessor Tony Abbott.
Morrison is Australia’s sixth prime minister in 11 years.
I have just been provided with a request for a meeting of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. It has 43 signatures. As soon as they are verified by the Whips, which should not take long, the meeting will be called.
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 24, 2018
It comes after the prime minister’s office confirmed a party room meeting would go ahead on Friday. The Australian reported late Thursday night Dutton had reached the 43 signatures required to call for a leadership spill.
Turnbull indicated on Thursday he would step aside if the majority of the Liberal party room signed a petition for a spill. If passed, Turnbull admitted he would not then stand against Dutton, or anyone else with ambitions for the top job, and would bring an end to his political career.
“In terms of my own intentions,” he said. “When the party room meeting is called, I will invite a spill motion to be moved. If it is carried I will not stand as a candidate in the ballot. Those are the events that will unfold over the next few days.”
Making a thinly veiled dig at former PM, and his predecessor, Tony Abbott, he added: “I believe former prime ministers are best out of parliament, I don’t think there’s much evidence to suggest that conclusion is not correct.”
Turnbull previously emerged victorious, defeating former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by 48 votes to 35 following an unexpected partyroom ballot on Tuesday morning. However the secret ballot was only the start of things to come as in the days since, a large number of Ministers have resigned, leading to Turnbull’s eventual departure.