Deposed Australia PM Turnbull set to quit parliament this week
Dumped prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will quit parliament this week, reports said Tuesday, in another headache for Australia‘s rattled government which will temporarily lose its tiny one-seat majority.
The moderate was deposed in a Liberal party coup last week driven by a hardline conservative faction.
After being knifed, he indicated would leave parliament rather than go to the backbench and told a party gathering on Monday evening he will officially resign on Friday, broadcaster ABC and Fairfax Media reported.
His departure will trigger a by-election for his Sydney seat, potentially on October 6, leaving new Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a precarious position with no parliamentary majority for two weeks.
Turnbull’s seat in the wealthy Sydney enclave of Wentworth is traditionally a Liberal safe haven, although a backlash against the government’s political infighting could make this less certain.
“As you know, my prime ministership has come to an end. The circumstances have appalled most Australians but again, I won’t labour the point,” he told the Monday meeting, Fairfax reported.
“I have a strong view which I’ve made very clear publicly so it comes as no surprise, that former prime ministers are best out of parliament not in it, and I think recent events best underline the value of that observation.
“And so, accordingly, on Friday, I will resign from the House of Representatives.”
Christine Forster — the sister of arch-conservative Tony Abbott, who helped orchestrate Turnbull’s demise — has already put her hand up to replace Turnbull in the plum seat.
Forster, who is gay and was a high-profile proponent of same-sex marriage in a successful campaign last year, is a well-known Liberal councillor in Sydney.
Others reportedly in the running include businessman and former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma, while the Greens and Labor will almost certainly field candidates.
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