Australia’s anti-gay marriage Prime Minister Tony Abbott ousted in leadership ballot
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been ousted in a leadership vote just hours after accepting the challenge.
Mr Abbott, who is a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, lost out in the hastily arranged ballot with 44 votes to Malcolm Turnbull’s 54.
Just hours ago, Mr Abbott said: “There will be a Party Room ballot for both the leadership and deputy leadership positions later this evening. I will be a candidate and I expect to win.”
Julie Bishop will also remain deputy leader of the party.
Mr Abbott, who is a strong opponent of same-sex marriage, threatened to sack any ministers who voted for same-sex marriage when it was set to come to a vote last month.
He later moved to avert a showdown with his own MPs over the issue, by proposing a plebiscite (public vote) instead and avoiding a Parliamentary debate.
After Mr Abbott writes to the Governor General to resign, Mr Turnbull will be sworn in.
Despite reports that Mr Turnbull would still insist on a plebiscite for same-sex marriage, he has in the past said Australia is falling behind on the issue.
He also predicted that the coalition government would eventually allow a free vote on the issue.
More to follow.