Newly elected Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks at a press conference after ousting Tony Abbott in a leadership ballot in Canberra Sept. 14, 2015. (AFP)
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Turnbull was sworn in as Australia's 29th prime minister after a surprise ballot of his conservative Liberal Party colleagues voted 54-44 on Monday night to replace Prime Minister Tony Abbott only two years after he was elected.Shortly before Turnbull was sworn in, a grim-faced Abbott spoke for the first time since his sudden ouster, warning that the persistent volatility in Australia's government could hurt the nation's standing on the global stage.Abbott did not say during his speech whether he will quit politics.Abbott, a 57-year-old former Roman Catholic seminarian, has been described as the most socially conservative Australian prime minister in decades, while Turnbull is considered not conservative enough by the right wing of the party.Abbott acknowledged his government had not been perfect, though he blamed the poll-heavy culture of modern politics for the frequent upheaval in the nation's leadership. Turnbull's return to the helm will likely lead to a major Cabinet reshuffle, with Treasurer Joe Hockey and Defense Minister Kevin Andrews among the ministers who publicly supported Abbott.Successive opinion polls showed that the government was likely to lose in next September's elections under Abbott's leadership.
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