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Australia Has A New Prime Minister: Tony Abbott Overthrown By Former Goldman Partner Malcolm Turnbull

Former Cabinet Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to become Australia’s sixth prime minister in just eight years after beating Tony Abbott in a Liberal Party ballot on Monday. 

The vote caps a tumultuous stretch for Australian politics which has a seen a series of politcal coups and counter-coups dating back to 2007. Here’s Reuters:

Australia is facing the prospect of its fifth leader in eight years after Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday was challenged by his popular communications minister after months of speculation and poor showings in opinion polls.

 

Malcolm Turnbull, a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur, said he would seek the leadership of the ruling Liberal Party after being urged "by many people over a long period of time" to run amid criticism of Abbott's performance.

 

"Ultimately, the prime minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership our nation needs," Turnbull told reporters at parliament house in Canberra.

 

"We need a different style of leadership."

 

Kevin Rudd, elected with a strong mandate in 2007, was deposed by his deputy, Julia Gillard, in 2010 amid the same sort of poll numbers that Abbott is now facing. Gillard was in turn deposed by Rudd ahead of elections won by Abbott in 2013.

 

"If Abbott were overthrown, he will be the shortest reigning first-term prime minister to be overthrown," Rod Tiffen, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Sydney, told Reuters.

 

"It's pretty amazing to think that we will have had two prime ministers overthrown in their first terms, which hasn't happened since World War Two. This shows the degree of instability within parties that we now have."

And here’s BBC with what you need to know about Turnbull:

Who is Malcolm Turnbull?

  • Served as Minister for Communications under Mr Abbott, before resigning to launch a leadership challenge
  • Many in his party dislike his support for climate change action and gay marriage
  • Led the Liberal Party in opposition from 2008-2009 - but lost a leadership challenge to Mr Abbott by one vote
  • Previously worked as a successful lawyer and businessman - defending former British spy Peter Wright in the "Spycatcher" case in the 1980s

The punchline: Turnbull was Chairman of Goldman Sachs Australia from 1997-2001.

The other punchline, from Bloomberg ca. 2014, is that Turbull's son was executive director of SSG at Goldman: 

Alex Turnbull, a former executive director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s special situations group, is planning a Singapore-based hedge fund, said people with knowledge of the matter.

 

Turnbull, son of Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, will be the chief investment officer of Keshik Capital Pte, said the people who asked not to be identified as the information is private. The fund, which will be focused on Asia with the flexibility to invest globally, may start as early as January and will invest in equity and credit, including convertible bonds, they added.

 

Keshik is at least the third hedge-fund startup tapping Asian opportunities in recent years involving a former member of the Goldman Sachs unit that invests in distressed debt and companies with its own capital. The Special Situations Group, known as SSG, is part of Goldman Sachs’s investing and lending operation, which generated $4.3 billion of pretax earnings last year, the most of the New York-based bank’s four business segments.