Australia has a new prime minister. Treasurer Scott Morrison, architect of the country’s famously tough migration and border policies, claimed the country’s top position on Friday after a party room ballot sealed the fate of Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr. Morrison, 50, won a closed door leadership vote 45-40 to end Mr. Turnbull’s troubled time at the nation’s helm. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, another ally of the former prime minister, was also in the running but was eliminated in the opening voting round.
Mr. Turnbull is the fourth Australian PM in 10 years to be ousted by party colleagues. He had been under pressure from poor polling and what he described as an “insurgency” by fellow conservative coalition MPs.
“It has been such a privilege to be the leader of this great nation. I love Australia. I love Australians,” Mr. Turnbull said at his final press conference.
Speaking to reporters after the vote on Friday, Mr. Morrison said he wants to “bring our party back together which has been bruised and battered this week” and bring the country together.
He also said dealing with a severe drought, which has hit parts of eastern Australia, would be “our most urgent and pressing need right now”.
Although he first entered Parliament in 2007, Mr. Morrison first rose to the public’s attention as immigration minister and his introduction of tough asylum seeker policies alongside offshore detention centres for processing illegal arrivals.
Mr. Morrison is the son of a policeman and an active member of a Sydney Pentecostal evangelical church.
He voted no in Australia’s plebiscite on same-sex marriage, listed “church” as one of his interests in his Who’s Who profile, and regards former prime minister John Howard as a political inspiration.