Australia’s beleaguered Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted

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GB news 24 desk//

Australia’s beleaguered Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was ousted on Friday after a majority of Liberal Party parliamentarians said they supported calls for a leadership change, according to media reports.

Treasurer Scott Morrison won the following leadership contest, defeating former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by 45 votes to 40. It marks a bittersweet day for Turnbull, who, despite being forced to step down, will be replaced by one of his closest backers.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, another Turnbull ally, was also in the leadership running but was eliminated in the first round of voting.

Turnbull was forced to resign as prime minister after Dutton succeeded in collecting the required 43 signatures to force a renewed leadership contest.

Turnbull survived an earlier attempt to oust him on Tuesday, winning a party room vote by 48 to 35. However, in the days since, several ministers have defected to the hard-line wing of the conservative party that opposes the outgoing prime minister’s more moderate political approach. Several other Liberal Party lawmakers have also resigned in protest over Turnbull’s premiership, including Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.

As his leadership came increasingly into doubt on Thursday, Turnbull announced he would not contest a second leadership vote and leave parliament. However, his next steps will remained unclear. Should Turnbull leave politics altogether, it would trigger a by-election for his Sydney seat and threaten the government’s narrow one-seat majority.

Morrison becomes Australia’s sixth prime minister in just 11 years.

Turnbull, meanwhile, becomes the fourth consecutive prime minister to be dumped by his or her own party before serving a full three-year term since 2010.

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