Newspaper article International New York Times

Party Battle Costs Abbott Leadership of Australia ; Cabinet Member Offering More Moderate Views to Become Prime Minister

Newspaper article International New York Times

Party Battle Costs Abbott Leadership of Australia ; Cabinet Member Offering More Moderate Views to Become Prime Minister

Article excerpt

Malcolm Turnbull is a moderate Liberal, whose views, most recently on the legitimacy of same-sex marriage, had conflicted with those of his Tony Abbott.

Malcolm Turnbull, a former investment banker and lawyer, was poised to become the prime minister of Australia on Monday night after defeating Tony Abbott in a vote of Liberal Party lawmakers.

The vote was the second challenge to Mr. Abbott's leadership in seven months. He came to power in September 2013.

Mr. Turnbull, 60, is a moderate Liberal whose views, most recently on same-sex marriage, had clashed with those of Mr. Abbott, 57. The Liberals, despite their name, are the more conservative of Australia's two major parties.

Michael Fullilove, the executive director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, said of Mr. Turnbull that "when it comes to foreign policy issues, he is less Manichean, in the sense of being black and white, less prone to seeing the world through a security prism."

He said Mr. Turnbull was also more alert to the risks of climate change. And while he would have to convince conservative colleagues of the need for a change in government policy, Dr. Fullilove described him as a "force."

Mr. Turnbull won the support of 54 of his party colleagues, compared with 44 who voted in favor of Mr. Abbott's retaining the party leadership.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will remain deputy leader of the Liberal Party. Ms. Bishop secured 70 votes, against 30 votes for her cabinet colleague Kevin Andrews.

Mr. Turnbull, in his first news conference as Liberal leader, said that Australia must embrace the challenges it faced and seize the kind of opportunities that sometimes arose from disruption.

"This has been a very important, sobering experience today. I am very humbled by it," said Mr. Turnbull, who was flanked by Ms. Bishop.

He said Australia must be agile and innovative. "We cannot be defensive," he said, adding that the country "cannot future-proof ourselves."

Asked about issues on which he dissented from conservative core values under Mr. …

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