New Prime Minister good news for Illawarra conservatives: UOW expert

Wollongong-based senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Prime Minister designate Scott Morrison and Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis. Photos: Alex Ellinghausen
Wollongong-based senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Prime Minister designate Scott Morrison and Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis. Photos: Alex Ellinghausen

The demise of Malcolm Turnbull and election of Scott Morrison as Prime Minister-designate is a good outcome for Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

Greg Melleuish, an associate professor of history and politics at the University of Wollongong, said it would have been even better for the Wollongong-based senator if Peter Dutton had won the top job.

“Given her strong support for Dutton, she'd have to be a chance for a cabinet post under Dutton. She might be a chance under Morrison,” Prof Melleuish said.

Associate professor of history and politics at the University of Wollongong Greg Melleuish.

Associate professor of history and politics at the University of Wollongong Greg Melleuish.

He said Ann Sudmalis on the other hand was a winner regardless of who the Liberals chose to lead the nation.

“I think the party recognises the importance of Gilmore. I think whoever is prime minister will be down there because it is such a marginal seat.”

The academic and political expert correctly predicted to the Mercury that Mr Morrison would become Australia’s 30th prime minister, before he beat Mr Dutton 45-40 in the leadership ballot just before 1pm on Friday.

Josh Frydenberg won the deputy Liberal leader position, replacing Julie Bishop, who was unsuccessful in her bid to become prime minister.

Prof Melleuish was surprised the move to replace Mr Turnbull happened at all, let alone that it was led by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

“Dutton is hardly a lovable person but in his defence, in terms of public popularity, being Immigration Minister is poison,” he said.

But the deposed prime minister and those “very ambitious and determined people who will stop at nothing to be prime minister”, put the Liberal party on a course of no return.

“Turnbull tore down Tony Abbott so he has got no reason to complain about someone else tearing him down,” Prof Melleuish said.

“He got into office and then he went into a disastrous double dissolution where he basically came very close to losing government. It has been very fragile ever since. [Turnbull] His demise means the conservative element of the party will be far more dominant now.”