CANBERRA (Reuters) – New Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised on Friday the generational shift in the battling Liberal Party to end an internal battle that would scar the conservative government ahead of a May 2019 election.
Morrison, who was treasurer under outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was the surprise winner of a threefold challenge for the Liberal Party leadership, which was produced this week by a right-wing rival.
Morrison, who became Australia's sixth Prime Minister in less than 10 years, has taken the lead in a coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party whose single-seat majority must be defended if a by-election is held for a safe. Seat that Turnbull is abandoned.
"Our task … if we continue this leadership style as a new generation is to ensure that we not only reunite our party that was smashed and smashed this week, but that … we bring that to you Parliament back together, "said Morrison in his first appearance after his party room victory.
"The new generation of liberal leadership is on your side," he told Australian voters, many of whom are upset and frustrated over a decade of political instability in which no incumbent Prime Minister has held a full term.
Morrison was sworn into office shortly after 6pm. (0800 GMT) on Friday.
In the near future, he ruled out the election of parliamentary elections, but has yet to pass an early electoral test as Turnbull will resign from parliament and force a by-election in a Sydney seat that is a safe haven for the Liberals.
Turnbull accused his party of "revenge, personal ambition, factional feuds" in his party led by conservative legislators, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the man he plumped in a September 201
The Australians will be speechless and appalled by last week's behavior, "said Turnbull.
Liberal Party member Warren Ents said after the election," this prime minister's revolving door must stop. "
The Liberal Party is the senior partner of the liberal-national coalition government, which has consistently followed the Labor opposition in opinion polls over recent months, bookmakers on Friday had Labor a favorite to win the next poll.
Morrison's victory marked
the opportunity for a break from a decade of conflict between Turnbull and Abbott in government and opposition, but ideological divisions in the party on issues such as climate change, energy policy, immigration and even globalization remain strong.
Indeed, after Secretary of State Julie Bishop was eliminated after the first round of the leadership election Morrison beat only Peter Dutton, his more conservative rival, with 45 to 40 votes. Three changed votes would have changed the result.
Dutton was at the center of political turmoil this week. To avert his push for the top job, Turnbull unexpectedly announced a leadership election at a Liberal convention on Tuesday, winning 48 to 35.
The victory margin was considered unconvincing and Dutton and his influential supporters grouped together and pushed for a second vote , and seemed to develop momentum. Morrison emerged as a candidate on Thursday and quickly won with Moderates.
Originally from the conservative wing of the Liberal Party, Morrison is widely regarded as a centrist and has rejected prominent right-wing policies, including borders of immigration.
"He is the compromise candidate, a bridge between the Party's conservative and moderate wings," said Haydon Manning, a professor of political science at Flinders University in the state of South Australia.
"He can heal the wounds that threaten to break the coalition government and give the government time to prepare for an election," he said.
But Morrison is facing a series of political decisions that can revive old wounds within the government, including an energy appeal, a theme that acted as a catalyst in Turnbull's departure.
Turnbull this week attempted to appease conservative anger by stripping the greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements from its core energy policy, but the influential right-wing government legislators remain against politics.
Morrison will therefore need to find a way to meet Australia's commitment to reduce emissions by 26% by 2030 compared to 2005 in the Paris Agreement, without fueling old divisions, a challenge that Turnbull found difficult.
"The truth is that the coalition finds it very difficult to agree on anything with emissions," Turnbull said.
FINANCIAL MARKETS COMFORT
Morrison's victory was greeted by financial markets shaken by political instability. Australian equities rose higher on Friday, recovering after three days of losses, with the benchmark falling 1.5 percent.
"PM Morrison is the most market-friendly option," said Annette Beacher, chief Asia-Pac Macro Strategist at TD Securities in Singapore.
Beacher, however, said markets would look to see if Morrison could narrow the gap with the opposition Labor.
"The inclination of the Labor Party at this point ensures that it will form a government in the next elections," she said.
It was also hoped that Morrison would end the political instability that plagued Australia.
"The political turmoil of the last decade has come at the cost of our global competitiveness … the economy needs political security to boost investment and improve the business climate." Tony Johnson, Managing Director of Ernest & Young.
Colin Packham reports to CANBERRA, Swati Pandey and Wayne Cole to SYDNEY and Sonali Paul to MELBOURNE; Edited by Michael Perry and Paul Tait