Pity the Australians - they have been watching Prime Ministers fail for too long. Leadership coups provide compelling drama but they should not happen when a party is in power. Australia now has its fourth Prime Minister in less than three years. Malcolm Turnbull's toppling of Tony Abbott means that for a second time, a leader endorsed by Australian voters has been removed by federal MPs.
Few of those voters will lament Mr Abbott's demise. His abysmal polls are the reason Liberal MPs have replaced him now rather than risk defeat at the election due in a year. Few Australians held him in high regard even as he led the Liberals to victory in 2013. He owed that success to the previous Labour Government's leadership woes. It had replaced Kevin Rudd with Julia Gillard, then desperately reverted to Mr Rudd before the poll.
Most Australians never warmed to Ms Gillard, holding the circumstances of her promotion against her, and did not consider her a legitimate Prime Minister. The Liberals will be hoping the same fate does not await Mr Turnbull. He has one thing going for him that she did not: Mr Abbott lacks the public appeal that Mr Rudd still enjoyed when his colleagues could no longer bear him. Consequently, Mr Turnbull is unlikely to be undermined by sniping from the man he displaced.
Mr Abbott's career is over. Australians by and large will be relieved. He was too conservative for the times on issues such as terrorist threats and same-sex marriage. The Western world has been rapidly liberalising laws on the rights of sexual minorities in recent years and Australia must be feeling like an oddity.
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Mr Turnbull is distinctly more liberal than Mr Abbott on most issues, probably more liberal than his party, and he has begun by treading carefully. Nothing will be done on gay marriage, he says, until it is put to a referendum. But at least under him a referendum will be scheduled. The new Prime Minister needs to be cautious on all fronts, conscious that he has led the Liberals before, when they were in Opposition, and they found him too imperious for their liking.
Their dividing issue at that time was climate change, a subject that could give Mr Turnbull's promotion an impact on New Zealand. John Key has been happy to coast in the slipstream of Mr Abbott's scepticism about climate science. Together at the Pacific Forum last week they resisted calls to respond to the possibility of sea-level rise. The Turnbull Government may want to take stronger commitments to the global goal-setting conference in Paris in December. Mr Key, who has vowed this country will be a follower not a leader on emissions reductions, may have some catching up to do.
But his personal relationship with his new counterpart will be fine. Mr Turnbull has long been a declared admirer of Mr Key's style of politics and said so as soon as he became Prime Minister on Monday night. New Zealand is better for the stability of two successive Governments that have not changed Prime Ministers in midstream. Australia should be so lucky.