After a successful leadership coup, Malcolm Turnbull has arrived at Parliament House to assume control of the Australian government.
On Monday night, the former Communications Minister defeated Tony Abbott in a leadership ballot 54 votes to 44.
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Leaving his Canberra apartment the following morning, Mr Turnbull told reporters he was “filled with optimism” as he readied himself for his first day in power.
“It was a long night and it’s going to be a big day today … a lot of work to do,” he said.
Mr Turnbull denied his becoming prime minister was a turn of events he expected, but said it was a role he was “privileged” to undertake.
Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop, who had the task of telling Abbott he had lost support of the party, said this “the toughest thing I’ve had to do in political life”.
“I am not enjoying this … It is a very difficult time,” she told Sky News.
But the party will quickly regroup, Ms Bishop said.
Turnbull’s first moves
On Tuesday morning, Mr Turnbull will preside over another meeting of Liberals MPs and then a meeting of the joint coalition parties.
He will also meet with his ministerial colleagues, inviting them to stay on until he unveils his own ministry at the end of the week.
At some time before 2pm, Mr Turnbull will visit Government House to be sworn in as Australia’s 29th prime minister by the governor-general. Until this ceremony occurs, Mr Abbott will technically remain in the role.
At 2pm, Mr Turnbull will lead his government to its first Question Time after the leadership spill. It is unclear how this will be conducted, as several ministers are sure to lose their jobs by week’s end.
Labor is certain to target ministers it expects to resign or be replaced.
Abbott licks his wounds
The ousted prime minister is reportedly feeling “quite raw” after the events of Monday night, according to one of his close allies.
“It’s quite raw, as you can imagine,” cabinet minister Bruce Billson told Sky News on Tuesday.
Mr Abbott did not speak publicly on Monday night after being deposed. At time of publication, he was yet to formally resign the prime ministership.
Deputy leader Julie Bishop said he took the news of his impending demise calmly, but felt emotionally hurt.
“I know that the prime minister was aware that there was unhappiness,” Ms Bishop told Sky News.
“He was calm. He was obviously very hurt.”
Abbott’s close allies supported their former leader, praising his accomplishments on morning television and radio, while pledging loyalty to their new leader.
One examples was cabinet minister Bruce Billson, who voted for Abbott. He told Sky News he now backed the decision of his colleagues to elect a new “captain-couch”.
The Nationals are on board
Mr Turnbull and Nationals leader Warren Truss have settled on a new coalition agreement.
The pair met at Parliament House for 30 minutes on Tuesday in the wake of Mr Turnbull ousting Mr Abbott.
Liberal and National party members held separate meetings before the agreement talks, but no joint party room meeting was held.
Deputy leader Barnaby Joyce said his party wanted to make sure their people were looked after.
“It’s not the way you want to do business … but it is what it is,” he told reporters about the events of Monday night.
There is no love lost between the junior coalition partner and Mr Turnbull, going back to his time as opposition leader.
Labor goes on the attack
Federal Labor wasted no time painting Malcolm Turnbull as an arrogant man prepared to sell out his beliefs to be prime minister.
Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said his personal quest for the top job was now fulfilled but she wondered where that left the country.
“He’s very smooth and I think that’ll work for him in the short term but people will very quickly come to see that smoothness as a sort of slick merchant banker approach to public life,” she told ABC radio on Tuesday.
Fellow frontbencher Jason Clare labelled Mr Turnbull “a multi-millionaire who lives in a pink mansion on Sydney Harbour”.
-with agencies and reporting by Kaitlin Thals and Jackson Stiles.