Monday, September 14, 2015

Tony Abbot ousted by Liberal Party in Australia

Malcolm Turnbull, the Minister of Communications in Australia, has beaten Tony Abbott, now
former Prime Minister, in a 44 to 54 party ballot vote to become the Prime Minister. The Liberal
Party in Australia is much like the GOP in the United States that believes in fiscal conservatism and
social conservatism as well. Poll after poll has shown Mr. Abbott to be at record low approval ratings
at 24%, leaving many Australians angry with the current government and earning him the title as te
"Australian George Bush". This left the Liberal Party to believe that Mr. Abbott was unelectable and
thus Malcolm Turnbull challenged Mr. Abbott for the Prime Minister position. This will be
Australia's fifth prime minister within the time span of 5 years. The position of Prime Minister in
Australia is given the leader of the party with the majority of seats in Parliament. Like the US, he/she
is not elected by popular vote.  However, leader of the party can be challenged and will have to win a
majority of votes within his/her party to stay as prime minister; this is called a leadership spill or
could be thought of as an impeachment within the party. This is not the first time the former prime
minister has been challenged since Mr. Abbott was challenged in Feb 2015 and won by a 61-39 vote.

Mr. Turnbull is very vocal for the United States presence in the Asia Pacific region in order to
counter balance the China power move in the South China Sea. However, he also sees Obama's Asian pivot as "utterly flummoxed" and is open to a Chinese world power. The new Prime Minister sees the US to open itself to China and has a realpolitik/balance of power approach to China-U.S relations like Kissinger did in the 70s. He disagrees with directly challenging China on the issue of the South China Sea and is also skeptical about utter devotion to being an ally of the United States. However, he does recognize that relations with China should be with extremely cautious approach.

Tony Abbott



Teague Bredl said...

Five prime ministers in five years is impressive (not). The more the better (not). As for Abbot's 24% approval rating, that's not bad just 1% lower than Bush Jr.'s lowest point. What was Tony Abbot doing in Australia to get such a bad rep? Especially since he won the challenge election about 7 months ago in February 61-39. Did Malcolm Turnbull's support for the US help him rise to victory in the elections or was it simply how terrible of a job Abbot was doing?

Louis Villa said...

Its interesting to see that the new prime minister seems to be taking a step away from foreign affairs. He want to make any hasty judgement about either the United States or China, and this leaves him open to supporting one or the other very easily at some point in the future. Its also interesting to see that he does not want to interact with China in regards to the South China Sea. As China has started expanding into this area, they have gotten push back from many other nations such as Japan. I wonder if the news that there is little expiration from Australia will create a resurgence of Chinese naval activities

Steven Lee said...

To clear any misunderstandings, Abbott was challenged by the same man, Mr. Turnbull. It should also be noted that Mr. Turnbull was the man responsible for accusing the Rudd government (Labor party) for corruption during the 2008 market crash. The accusations actually turned out to be a farse and seriously embarrassed the Liberal party in the years after. As for why Tony Abbott getting terrible poll numbers it is mostly because of his gaffes, questionable position on gay marriage, nonaction on climate change, rampant sexism, etc. John Oliver made a great video on his primeriship.