Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was removed from power Friday by
conservative elements of his own center-right Liberal Party unhappy with an attempt to set
targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the world’s biggest coal exporter.
Turnbull, 63, was replaced by the country’s treasurer, Scott Morrison, who became the
fourth prime minister in five years.
It was also the sixth change of government in 11 years — a period of political instability that
Australia has not experienced since the early 1900s. No prime minister since John Howard,
who lost office in 2007, has served a full term in office.
In a news conference after the vote, Morrison pledged to end the infighting and “heal the
party.” He referred to himself and his newly elected deputy, Josh Frydenberg, as a “new
generation” of Liberal Party leaders.
Morrison is a former tourism industry lobbyist who was behind Australia’s tough refugee
policy. That policy confined thousands of men, women, and children to government-run
centers in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific island nation of Nauru for years.
‘‘It has been a challenging time to be prime minister, but I am very proud of our record of
achievements,’’ Turnbull said after he was removed. ‘‘I have been a reforming Liberal prime minister.”
Analysts said the increasing polarization of political debate — a development paralleled in
democracies around the world — had made governing harder for centrist leaders such as
Turnbull, a former Goldman Sachs partner, is so wealthy that he preferred his own home to
the prime minister’s official residence on the other side of Sydney Harbor.
SOURCE: BOSTON GLOBE