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Scott Morrison sworn in as new prime minister of Australia

Sydney, Australia / Scott Morrison was sworn in as the 30th prime minister of Australia on Friday after winning the Liberal Party leadership vote during an internal ballot to resolve the country’s governance crisis.

Morrison, who until now was Australia’s treasurer, was sworn in by Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. He replaced Malcolm Turnbull after the party forced him out amid growing discontent and a revolt of party conservatives.

After winning the leadership challenge earlier on Friday, Morrison assured stability and unity during a press conference.

“Now, our job (…) is to ensure that we not only bring our party back together, which has been bruised and battered this week, but that will enable us to ensure we bring the parliament back together, that we can continue to work to ensure that our country stays close together,” Morrison said alongside his deputy, Josh Frydenberg.

Frydenburg was also sworn in as treasurer.

Morrison, 50, assured his government will focus on keeping “the economy strong” and “Australians safe,” and added his priority will be to tackle the country’s severe drought, considered to be one of the worst in the last decades.

The new prime minister expressed his intention to offer positions in his government to Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop, with whom he ran alongside in the leadership ballot earlier Friday.

He further said the will be announcing the make-up of his government in the coming week.

Morrison is a social conservative and devout Pentecostal Christian who voted against same-sex marriage in parliament in 2017 and took a hardline stance as minister for immigration and border protection in 2013-2014.

Friday’s chaos began when a party meeting was convened after Turnbull received a petition letter with signatures of the majority of Liberal MPs. He had said Thursday that if a leadership vote was called after receiving the petition, he would not stand as a candidate on the ballot.

Dutton, who in an earlier leadership challenge on Tuesday lost to Turnbull by 35 to 48 votes, had insisted on holding a second, believing he had the necessary votes to take over the party and government.

In Friday’s leadership challenge, Morrison defeated Dutton with 45 votes to 40, Chief Government Whip Nola Marino said. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was eliminated in the first round of voting.

No Australian prime minister has managed to complete their term since 2007 due to internal power struggles both in the Liberal-National coalition and in the Labor Party.

This is the second time the Liberal Party, part of the ruling Liberal-National coalition of the Australian government which won the 2013 and 2016 elections, has changed its leadership after Turnbull took power in 2015 through another internal spill, rolling Tony Abbott.

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