I have been highly critical of the environmental policies of Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott who has led the world in rolling back efforts to deal with climate change and reducing pollution while opening up pristine areas of mining and other industries. In a move that is likely to be celebrated by environmentalists around the world, Abbott is Prime Minister no more. In a remarkable change, ruling conservatives ousted Abbott (right) as party leader in favor of former party leader and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left).
The change represents the end to the most controversial tenure of a prime minister in the modern history of the country. Abbott’s polarizing policies were not just putting areas like the Great Barrier reef in danger but dramatically undermining Australia’s standing in the world.
Liberal Party members voted 54 to 44 to replace Abbott as a time of record low poll numbers for the conservative coalition government. In addition to opening up protected areas, moving to allow dredge material to be dumped near or in the Great Barrier reef, and removing a host of environmental protections, Abbott repealed the country’s carbon pollution tax while speaking around the world against climate change efforts. He became a favorite of China’s for his anti-environmental stance.
Turnbull will become Australia’s fourth prime minister in the last two years.