Australia’s Political Infighting May Have Already Doomed Its New Government

Australia’s Political Infighting May Have Already Doomed Its New Government
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, right, gestures while speaking with Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party Josh Frydenberg during their first press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Aug. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Andrew Taylor).

Malcom Turnbull’s tenure as prime minister of Australia ended the same way it began: with an intra-party revolt. Turnbull, a moderate in his conservative Liberal Party, successfully contested then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s leadership in September 2015. But Abbott and his supporters moved to exact revenge, finally pushing Turnbull out last month. Scott Morrison, the newly sworn-in prime minister, takes the helm of a Liberal Party weakened by internal strife and a tenuous grip on power, as the opposition Labor Party surges ahead in the polls. In an email interview, Lloyd Cox, a lecturer in politics at Macquarie University in Sydney, discusses the recent leadership change and the grim political situation facing the new Australian government.

World Politics Review: What are the internal factors within the Liberal Party that led to Turnbull’s downfall as prime minister, and how did Morrison come to replace him?

Lloyd Cox: Turnbull’s ousting from the Liberal Party leadership, and hence the end of his tenure as prime minister, was the culmination of a lengthy period of political destabilization. It was the fourth time in eight years that a sitting prime minister has been removed from office by his own party. Australia has now had seven prime ministers in a little over a decade.

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