By: James Neyer ~Staff Writer~
Democracy is alive and well throughout the world. In America, we are entering the primaries, which will decide the Democratic and Republican parties’ choices for president. While this is going on here, our cousin across the seas had an interesting week themselves. As we slept, Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott for leadership of the liberal party. After a 55- 44 vote, Turnbull was chosen to be the next Prime Minister of Australia on Sep 14.
This may not seem like a big deal, but the shocking point is that Turnbull will be the fourth Prime Minister of Australia chosen in the last two and a half years. For Americans, it would seem preposterous to change leaders this often. Once elected, our president has his job for the next four years and does not have to worry about losing his job. However, Australia follows the British style of federal parliamentary government. This means that instead of the people, elected representatives vote for the leader. It is therefore possible that the prime minister can get voted out four days before being eligible for his pension.
The most likely reason for the change is that there is a federal election next year. The Liberal Party hopes that by removing a widely despised prime minister, they might still remain popular and maintain representatives in the parliament.
While the change in leadership is interesting, it does raise a standard question: Why should we care about this? Well, there are two major reasons for it. The first is that it is important to learn about the affairs of foreign governments. This broadens our knowledge, and it is one of the primary duties of our president.
The second reason is that we soon will experience a change in leadership. Abbott was originally met with mixed reactions. While some people disliked him, there was not as much hate for him as there is today. Many grew to hate him in the last couple of years due to various issues. Every bad change that the government brought about had a face. A face that is easy to hate, as you watch it eat a raw onion.
Turnbull, in contrast, was seen as a friendly face to the people. As the disdain for Abbott grew, so did the love for Turnbull. He seemed wiser, calmer and less radical than Abbott. As people looked at Turnbull saying how different it would be if he were prime minister. Well, they now have their wish, but the question is: How different it will be?
Turnbull has made some changes with the cabinet, appointing Marise Payne as the first female Minister of Defense and Michaelia Cash to the position of Minister for Women. This helped bring the women of Australia to peace when the previous Minister for Women, Tony Abbott, was removed. With all these changes, there are a few questions that remain.
Will these changes be substantial or superficial? Will he stay the course and bring about his views that he has held for a long time, or will he fold and follow the same path as Abbott? With this change in leadership, it will be interesting to see if the same unpopular ideas get passed or if Turnbull will turn things around.