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Australian opposition leader replaced by Turnbull
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14:02, September 16, 2008

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Australian opposition leader Brendan Nelson was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull Tuesday morning with a narrow loss of vote in the Liberal party room in Canberra.

Turnbull outpolled Nelson by just four votes -- 45-41 -- to emerge as the new opposition leader with Julie Bishop remaining deputy opposition leader.

Turnbull is understood to have told the party room meeting the Rudd government was a government of only one man and the Liberals, as the party of the "liberty and freedom", had the ability to move forward and win the 2010 general election.

On Monday night, Nelson took everyone by surprise by calling the snap spill of his leadership to try to end destabilization of his position. It was also an attempt to wrong foot Mr Turnbull, who had only returned to Australia on Sunday after a holiday in Italy the previous week.

Turnbull lost the leadership ballot to Nelson by just three votes on Nov. 29 last year after the Liberal Party lost the election to the Rudd-led Labor Party.

Nelson polled poorly against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and speculation had been continuing that either former treasurer Peter Costello would be drafted into the leadership or Turnbull would make a move.


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