Ardern congratulates next Australian PM on job

REPORTS Turnbull Will Stand Aside And Allow Scott Morrison To Stand Against Peter Dutton

Scott Morrison to step in for Malcolm Turnbull

Morrison said he would review drought response plans with officials.

She said Morrison acknowledged his warmth for New Zealand and that her government would keep advocating for New Zealand in the bilateral relationship.

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.

Turnbull said he would quit politics "not before too long".

Australia's next prime minister, Scott Morrison, is seen by some as an incongruous mix of a committed Christian who made his name through ratcheting up a refugee policy that many church groups have condemned as inhumane.

Turnbull, who was prime minister for two years and 11 months, oversaw a strong economy with low interest rates, inflation and unemployment.

"The new generation of Liberal leadership is on your side", he told Australian voters, many of whom are angry and frustrated with a decade of political instability in which no sitting prime minister has lasted a full term.

Members of Australia's conservative Liberal Party are meeting at Parliament House to choose a new prime minister.

Mr Turnbull condemned Dutton supporters for bringing down his leadership in an intense and bruising campaign, which the prime minister described as "an insurgency".

Will convene a party room meeting once he receives a letter with a majority of MP signatures requesting one.

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Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, another Turnbull backer, was also in the running but was eliminated in the first round of voting.

The 50-year-old overcame Peter Dutton, who was the key challenger to incumbent PM Malcolm Turnbull, to win a leadership ballot by 45 votes to 40.

Morrison rose to public prominence when the conservative coalition government was first elected under Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2013 as the minister who stopped asylum seekers from attempting to reach Australian shores by boat.

He also said he would work to bring Australia's main conservative party, the Liberals, back together after it had been "bruised and battered this week". A complication had been finding 43 lawmakers to sign a petition demanding a change of leader.

We have lost the prime minister; there is a government to save.

On Tuesday Mr Dutton attempted to topple Mr Turnbull, but was unsuccessful.

He took just 8.6% of the votes, behind Turnbull (38%), Bishop (29%) and Dutton (10%).

Turnbull said that if that happens, he will not stand as a leadership candidate and will leave parliament, sparking a by-election which could be problematic for the government which has a wafer-thin one-seat parliamentary majority.

His government was also upended by a freaky citizenship crisis that ruled 15 lawmakers ineligible for office for holding dual nationalities and it has trailed the opposition Labor party for 37 consecutive fortnightly opinion polls.

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