Malcolm Turnbull wins party ballot to become Australian Prime Minister
CANBERRA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Malcolm Turnbull, former Australian Minister for Communications, won the party room ballot Monday night to replace Tony Abbott as the leader of the ruling Liberal Party and thus is to become Australia's 29th prime minister.
Turnbull grabbed 54 of the Liberal parliamentarian votes, 10 more than the votes Abbott managed to get.
At a late night press conference held after the ballot, Turnbull paid tribute to outgoing Abbott, saying the government under Abbott has made "formidable" achievements, including reaching Free Trade Agreements with Japan, South Korea and China, and secured Australian border by stopping the boats of illegal immigrants.
However, he pointed out that in the years ahead the world will be more competitive and greater opportunities arise, he is aimed to ensure that the Australian people can take advantage of that.
"My government would be a thoroughly liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market," he said.
Turnbull also noted that the culture of Liberal Party leadership has always been "thoroughly traditional consultative" and one that made decisions in a collaborative manner.
"The prime minister of Australia is not a president, the prime minister is the first among equals," he said.
He seemed to imply that Abbott had been failed to listen to fellow party members in decision making and had made a number of unpopular "Captain's Calls".
He was also critical of the government's economic performance, saying the government should have an economic vision and a leadership that explained the great challenges and opportunities the country faced just like New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has achieved.
"We can handle those challenges, seize those opportunities and . .. in a manner that the Australian people understand so that we are seeking to persuade rather than seeking to lecture."
Turnbull announced that he was resigning from his position as communications minister earlier on Monday afternoon to challenge the prime minister for the Liberal Party leadership.
Turnbull, leader of Liberal Party between 2008 and 2009, lost the leadership vote in 2009 to Abbott by just one vote.
Turnbull said if the Liberal party was to be re-elected when voters go to the polls next year, the government had to change for the better.
"The fact is, we are maybe 10 months, 11 months away from next election. Every month lost is a month of lost opportunities," Turnbull told the media when announcing his challenge.
"We need an open government. We have to make a change for the country's sake, the government's sake and the party's sake."
Turnbull said after winning the vote, his assumption was that the government would see out the full term and not seek an early election. (Xinhuanet)