Australia is set to swear in Malcolm Turnbull as its new prime minister, after Tony Abbott was ousted by his party in a leadership challenge.
Mr Turnbull will go to Government House in Canberra on Tuesday to be sworn in by the governor-general.Mr Abbott received 44 votes to Mr Turnbull’s 54 in Monday night’s vote. He is yet to speak publicly.
As he prepared to take office, Mr Turnbull said it was “the most exciting time to be an Australian”.
“I’m filled with optimism and we will be setting out in the weeks ahead and the months ahead more of those foundations that will ensure our prosperity in the years ahead,” he told journalists.
Mr Turnbull, who will be Australia’s 29th prime minister, is expected to preside over a meeting of Liberal MPs on Tuesday morning and then hold a meeting of the joint Liberal-National coalition parties.
Mr Turnbull is not expected to announce a new cabinet line-up until the end of the week.
But there was speculation even before the ballot that Joe Hockey might lose the Treasury portfolio.
Political pundits have suggested Social Services Minister Scott Morrison might become the new treasurer.
Deputy Liberal Party leader Julie Bishop, who on Monday threw her support behind Mr Turnbull, said that earlier in the year after surviving his first challenge, Mr Abbott had asked for six months to turn the Liberal Party’s electoral hopes around.
“Tony had done a fantastic job in winning the 2013 election and there was so much hope and so much expectation, but last February, a number of people felt that he hadn’t met their expectations,” she told journalists.
“He asked for six months, and the party gave him that six months, and now seven months later the majority have decided they wanted a change of leader and that he had lost their confidence.”
Ms Bishop, who is foreign affairs minister and was re-elected as deputy leader on Monday, said it was a difficult time for Mr Abbott.
“He was calm, he was obviously very hurt,” she said.
Mr Turnbull, who served as minister for communications under Mr Abbott, will become Australia’s fourth prime minister since 2013.
Mr Turnbull said on Monday night the government would serve a full term, meaning a general election is likely in mid-2016.
The first real test of how the public has taken the news will be on Saturday in a by-election for the seat of Canning in Western Australia.
The seat is held by the Liberal Party. Opinion polling done before Monday night’s ballot suggested the Liberals would retain the seat but at a reduced majority. – BBC News