Scott Morrison has been announced as leader of the Liberal party and Australia’s next Prime Minister, following a contest for the party’s leadership.
A three-way contest was held in a party room meeting on Friday after Liberal members voted to spill the leadership, 45 votes in favour to 40.
Treasurer Scott Morrison, former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop all vied for the top job, with Bishop eliminated in the first round of voting and Morrison winning a majority of 45 votes to Dutton’s 40.
Morrison was a high profile advocate against marriage equality last year telling people it was “OK to say no” in last year’s postal survey.
He reportedly abstained from voting on the same-sex marriage legislation when it was presented to parliament.
“I have always supported retaining the existing definition of marriage between a man and a woman in the Marriage Act,” he said at the time.
“I have also always been upfront and consistent in my views on this issue with my electorate and will continue to do so, consistent with my own beliefs and values.”
Responding to Morrison’s appointment, national LGBTIQ advocacy group just.equal urged the new Prime Minister to govern for all Australians, including the LGBTIQ community.
Spokesperson Rodney Croome said the group were concerned that Morrison is “a proponent of so-called ‘religious freedom’ laws that would allow greater discrimination against LGBTIQ people.”
“We hope Mr Morrison will govern for all Australians, and not use ‘religious freedom’ as an excuse to erode equal rights and protections for LGBTIQ Australians,” he said.
“Our message to Mr Morrison is that LGBTIQ people are Australians too, and as Prime Minister he has a duty to look after our welfare and protect our rights along with all other Australians.”
Morrison also defended NRL player Israel Folau earlier this year when he came under fire for writing on Instagram that “hell” was “God’s plan” for gay people.
“Good for him for standing up for his faith,” he said at the time.
“I think he wouldn’t have wanted to intend to have offended or hurt anyone, because that’s very much against the faith that he feels so passionately about.
“He’s shown, I think, a lot of strength of character in just standing up for what he believes in, and I think that’s what this country’s all about.”
Morrison’s deputy leader will be Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, who reportedly won his vote by a large majority.
Turnbull had previously indicated he would leave the parliament if he were deposed as prime minister.
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