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Australia Gets Fourth Prime Minister In Two Years

Tony Abbott lived by the political sword, and died by it.

Australia's 28th prime minister has become the latest major politician in this manic new age of instantly disposable leaders to be torn down.

Hear his outgoing message as Prime Minister below: 

He was elected two years ago to lead Australia with a handsome majority, in the lower house at any rate. But now, he is the first Liberal PM to be voted out by his party since 1971.

Now Malcolm Turnbull will be sworn in as prime minister and meet with his frontbench after ousting Tony Abbott in a Liberal party room ballot.

The ministry will remain as it is for the rest of the parliamentary week before a reshuffle which will benefit Mr Turnbull's backers.

The former banker and MP for the Sydney seat of Wentworth won Monday's ballot 54-44, with Julie Bishop defeating Kevin Andrews for the deputy role 70-30.

Turnbull said before Monday's ballot that the party was headed for defeat under Mr Abbott and needed a new style of leadership.

"A style of leadership that respects the people's intelligence, that explains these complex issues and then sets out the course of action we believe we should take and makes a case for it," he said before the vote.

"We need advocacy, not slogans."

He vowed his leadership will be consultative and collaborative.

In a brief statement before the ballot, Mr Abbott urged party members not to follow Labor's "revolving-door prime ministership".

Mr Turnbull said Mr Abbott's leadership style fell far short of John Howard's "good cabinet government".

"There must be an end to policy on the run and captain's calls," he said.

What had been backroom grumblings about Mr Abbott's leadership for months came to the boil around noon on Monday when Ms Bishop approached the prime minister to ask him to stand aside.

After parliamentary question time, Mr Turnbull approached Mr Abbott and asked for a leadership ballot - which went ahead at 9.15pm after hours of number-crunching.

A key backer, Senator Arthur Sinodinos, said the Turnbull ministry would reflect a broad church.

"He will try to create a big tent, a broad church, within the party because he knows his best prospect of being a good prime minister is to have a champion team rather than a team of champions," the former chief of staff to John Howard told the ABC's 7.30 program.

One of the incoming prime minister's first tasks will be to renegotiate the coalition agreement with The Nationals.

Mr Turnbull said after the ballot the nation and the party owed Mr Abbott a "great debt" for his formidable achievements.

He listed the three Asian free trade agreements, securing Australia's borders and generosity towards Syrian refugees as key successes.

"We need to have in this country and we will have now, an economic vision, a leadership that explains the great challenges and opportunities that we face," Mr Turnbull said.

"This will be a thoroughly, thoroughly Liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market."

One betting agency on Monday night shortened its odds to give the Liberals a 71 per cent chance of winning the election.



* "The party and the nation owes a great debt to Tony Abbott. The burden of leadership is heavy and the government under Tony Abbott has made formidable achievements including the free trade agreements and securing our borders.

* "Australia will now have an economic vision and a leadership that explains the great challenges and opportunities and how they can be seized in a manner that the Australian people understand through persuasion rather than lecturing.

* "This will be a thoroughly, thoroughly Liberal government committed to freedom, the individual and the market.

* "Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, innovative and creative.

* "There has never been a more exciting time to be alive and there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian.

* "Leadership culture will be thoroughly consultative with a traditional cabinet government that ensures decisions are made in a collaborative manner.

* "To be a successful leader in 2015 or at any time you have to be able to bring people with you by respecting their intelligence in the way you explain. NZ prime minister John Key is the model for explaining complex issues and making the case for change, achieving significant economic reforms.

* There will be no early election - the parliament will serve its full term.

* There will be a ministerial reshuffle. He'll meet the ministry on Tuesday with a view to making changes next week.

* The government's climate policy is well-designed and will stay in place.

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