Turnbull to resign on Friday

By @chelean on
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull kisses his wife Lucy, while standing with daughter Daisy, and grandchildren Alice and Jack after a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018.
Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull kisses his wife Lucy, while standing with daughter Daisy, and grandchildren Alice and Jack after a news conference in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018. Reuters/David Gray

Malcolm Turnbull will resign from Parliament. The former Australian prime minister, after losing in the leadership spill last week, will trigger a by-election in his Sydney electorate of Wentworth when he leaves the Parliament on Friday.

The ABC confirms Turnbull’s departure. He sent a letter to his federal electorate on Monday, thanking them for allowing him to serve them for 14 years as a member and three years as prime minister. He will write to his community to outline the reasons he will be resigning on Friday.

The date for the by-election will be set by Speaker Tony Smith after Turnbull’s formal resignation. His son-in-law James Brown has ruled out running for the seat, but someone else already has her eyes on the prize.

Councillor Christine Forster, who is former PM Tony Abbott’s sister, confirmed on Monday that she would be running for the seat after she was encouraged by her party members.

“It’s a difficult situation and I don’t want to be seen to be disrespecting Malcolm — who I do respect,” she said.

Bishop’s reported new role

Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who quit her role in the new Morrison administration, reportedly has been gearing up to hold a new position. According to The Australian, she is eyeing Sir Peter Cosgrove’s role as Governor-General once he leaves the post in March.

Bishop was a contender for the PM position during the Liberal spill on Friday but was pushed out of the race when she only received 11 votes. Scott Morrison ultimately won, defeating Peter Dutton. It has recently been revealed that there had been party plot against her in a leaked WhatsApp message. According to news.com.au, the WhatsApp thread revealed that Mathias Cormann had secured votes for her to keep Morrison out of the race, though it was apparently just a ruse to get her ahead of Morrison and to get Dutton to the prime spot later on.

She has been replaced by now-former Defence Minister Marise Payne as Foreign minister. She announced she would be quitting the Cabinet but would remain in the Parliament backbench.

The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the new Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Governor General of Australia Peter Cosgrove The new Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the new Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Governor General of Australia Peter Cosgrove pose after the swearing-in ceremony in Canberra, Australia August 24, 2018.  Reuters/David Gray

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has asked Morrison to delay the next appointment for the Governor-General. The Labor leader asked the prime minister to extend Cosgrove’s commission for a further six months to September 2019.

“Given that a general election must be held in or before May of next year, an extension to his term would allow an incoming Prime Minister to nominate to Her Majesty Queen Eleizabeth II an appropriate successor and new Governor-General following the next election,” his letter reads. “Such an extension is within convention and would be supported by the Opposition.”

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