New Australian PM survives first test but discontent grows

Monday, 10 September 2018 World

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s center-right government united behind new Prime Minister Scott Morrison to fend off a de facto vote of no confidence on Monday but his coalition still appeared likely to be heavily punished by voters at an election due by May.

Morrison, who relies on the support of rural voters, opposes the ban but several of his backbenchers have vowed to support the legislation.

His first session of parliament as leader was hostile but Morrison’s government united to defeat a series of motions by the opposition Labor party to debate Turnbull’s ousting that would have amounted to a confidence vote.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 10, 2018.    

The coalition lost its a majority of only one seat in parliament with Turnbull’s resignation in August, leaving it precariously placed to push ahead with its agenda and hold off calls for an early election.

He also faces growing calls to address allegations of bullying within his party after allegations from three female backbenchers that they were unduly pressured by supporters of Peter Dutton, whose challenge brought on the leadership vote.

New Australian PM survives first test but discontent grows