Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted by party rivals

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull ousted by party rivals
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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been ousted as the country's leader after rival members of his Liberal Party voted to install one of his former supporters as his successor.

Treasurer Scott Morrison won an internal party vote over former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton by a margin of 45-40, the BBC reported late Thursday.

Dutton had previously led the successful push to gather signatures required to start a vote against Turnbull's leadership.


Turnbull, who survived a similar effort to oust him on Tuesday, did not stand in the leadership contest that took place early Friday local time.

The second vote followed several days of defections to the hard-line wing of the center-right Liberal Party over dissatisfaction surrounding Turnbull's more moderate style of governing, according to media reports.

The Australian prime minister visited the White House earlier this year after initially getting off to a rocky start in his relationship with President TrumpDonald TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call MORE.

Trump lashed out at Turnbull during a call shortly after taking office last year, reportedly badgering and eventually hanging up on the Australian leader.

Trump argued with Turnbull over a past agreement on refugees that he viewed as unfair, according to reports at the time.

The combative conversation led to Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Revising the pardon power — let the Speaker and Congress have voices MORE (R-Wis.) and other lawmakers to reaffirm support for the key U.S. ally.

“I have had it,” Trump told his Australian counterpart during the call, according to a transcript reported later by The Washington Post. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”

Trump told the Australian leader that he had a better conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Post.

“Putin was a pleasant call,” Trump said. “This is ridiculous.”

Former Australian health minister Greg Hunt praised the election of Morrison in a statement reported by The Guardian early Friday local time.

"Two incredible people and two incredible friends have been elected as prime minister and deputy leader of the Liberal Party," Hunt said.

"I think what we have now is a new generation, a next generation of leadership. Two incredible people of extraordinary integrity and capability. They will give Australia a real change at success," he added.