Malcolm Turnbull topples Brendan Nelson as Liberal leader

Malcolm Turnbull has seized the Liberal leadership from Brendan Nelson after a surprise party-room vote in Canberra this morning.

Malcolm Turnbull has seized the Liberal leadership from Brendan Nelson after a surprise party-room vote in Canberra this morning.

Turnbull, a former lawyer, investment banker, entrepreneur and member of BRW’s Rich 200 list, won a close vote, defeating Nelson 45 votes to 41.

Nelson announced the leadership spill on Monday evening, demanding that his Liberal Party colleagues “draw a line in the sand” and either support him or dump him.

The gamble, which appeared to be aimed at catching Turnbull and his supporters off-guard, has failed.

Current deputy leader Julie Bishop will remain in that role.

Turnbull entered Parliament in 2004 and 2006, two years later prime minister John Howard promoted him from the backbench to parliamentary secretary, with special responsibility for water.

In January 2007, Turnbull was elevated by Howard to the position of environment minister.

When the Coalition lost the federal election in November 2007, Turnbull challenged Nelson for the position of Liberal leader, only to loose in a close vote. But speculation about another challenge would not go away and Nelson was left with little room to move.

Turnbull started his career as a lawyer and later became an executive at investment bank Goldman Sachs before running his own advisory business called Turnbull & Partners. From 1993 to 2000 Turnbull was chairman of the Australian Republican Movement.

An experienced company chairman and director, Turnbull reportedly owned a $60 million stake in internet service provider OzEmail, which he sold to MCI WorldCom in 1999. In 2005, BRW valued his fortune at $133 milllion.

 

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