Malcolm Turnbull promises new leadership style

Malcolm Turnbull (Reuters)
Malcolm Turnbull (Reuters)

Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in this afternoon as the latest Australian Prime Minister, promising a new style of leadership.

He took over after ousting Tony Abbott as Liberal Party leader in a late-night coup, becoming Australia's fifth Prime Minister in five years.

Winning a late-night caucus vote by 55 to 45, he faces not only a divided party but a divided country as well, with many Australians sick of the revolving door of leaders.

"Australian politics is an absolute joke. How the leadership can change without the public voting is…we're the laughing stock I think," says one voter.

"I think it's not very loyal," says another. 

Plenty in his own party are calling him a traitor too.

"The disloyalty of some has been outrageous," says Liberal MP Joe Hockey.

Mr Abbott was today gracious in defeat. His tenure has been under threat all year and the leadership spill was only a matter of time after a disastrous budget, a series of gaffes and 30 negative poll results in a row. 

"We have more polls and more commentary than ever before - mostly sour, bitter, character-driven assassination," says Mr Abbott.

A former journalist, lawyer and investment banker, Mr Turnbull has a net worth of more than $200 million.

He and wife Lucy are often described as the Clintons of Australia and are just as divisive.

Mr Turnbull and Mr Abbott have a history too, with the latter ousting the new Prime Minister as Liberal leader in 2009.

But last night Mr Turnbull got his own back, saying Mr Abbott's lack of economic leadership has let the country down and pointing to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as an example of how things should be done.

"John Key has been able to achieve very significant economic reforms in New Zealand by doing just that - by taking complex issues and then making the case for them," he says.

But before he can make a case to the Australian public he'll have to convince his party he's in Mr Key's league, and put the title of traitor behind him.

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