Turnbull: Australia's fifth PM in five years

Australia has a new prime minister – again. Malcolm Turnbull became the country’s 29th leader this week.

15-9-17-Turnbull-634
Australia's Malcolm Turnbull: PM number 29

Australia has a new prime minister again. Malcolm Turnbull became the country's 29th leader this week when he deposed Tony Abbott as the head of the ruling centre-right Liberal Party in a sudden coup. Turnbull, considered a centrist, defeated the more right-wing premier by 54 votes to 44. Abbott had replaced Turnbull as Liberal leader in 2009 when the party was in opposition. The previous Labor government swapped leaders twice between 2010 and 2013. Australia has now seen four prime minsters in just over two years, and five in five.

What the commentators said

The collapse in commodity prices and the Chinese slowdown form the toughest backdrop for the economy since the last recession in the early 1990s. As mining exports have slumped, overall investment has declined, while there is less and less scope for indebted consumers, sustained by a housing bubble, to drive growth. Abbott's response was an austerity drive that he had not prepared people for and was then unable to implement anyway because he didn't negotiate effectively with the senators holding the balance of power in the Upper House, said Smyth.

Public debt to GDP is just 29%, said the FT, so the priority should be to invest in activities that could rebalance the economy and "inject more competition into the service sector". That will mean taking on the powerful unions who helped bring down a previous Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard, said The Times. "There's no guarantee that Australia's prime ministerial merry-go-round is over."

Recommended

How long can the good times roll?
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Quiz of the week: 19-25 September
Economy

Quiz of the week: 19-25 September

Test your recollection of the events of the last seven days with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week.
25 Sep 2020
25 September 1996: the Taliban reach Kabul
This day in history

25 September 1996: the Taliban reach Kabul

After the end of Soviet involvement in Afghanistan, the Taliban reached the suburbs of the capital, Kabul, on this day in 1996.
25 Sep 2020
Bad data is driving fear of a second wave of Covid-19
UK Economy

Bad data is driving fear of a second wave of Covid-19

The recent spike in Covid-19 “cases” is very different to the original outbreak, says James Ferguson of MacroStrategy Partnership. The government need…
18 Sep 2020

Most Popular

How the stamp duty holiday is pushing up house prices
Stamp duty

How the stamp duty holiday is pushing up house prices

Stamp duty is an awful tax and should be replaced by something better. But its temporary removal is driving up house prices, says Merryn Somerset Webb…
25 Sep 2020
Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?
UK Economy

Can Rishi Sunak’s winter plan save the UK economy?

With his Winter Economic Plan, chancellor Rishi Sunak is hoping to support the economy through the dark months ahead as restrictions tighten again. Jo…
25 Sep 2020
The electric-car bubble could get an awful lot bigger from here
Renewables

The electric-car bubble could get an awful lot bigger from here

The switch to electric cars is driving a huge investment bubble. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, says John Stepek. Fortunes will be made and l…
24 Sep 2020