Turnbull, 60, was elected as the new leader of the Liberal Party when he received 54 votes to Abbott’s 44 in the poll on Monday night. The BBC reported that earlier in the day Abbott had dismissed rumours of a leadership challenge as “Canberra gossip” – but within hours he had been voted out of office.

Turnbull previously led the centre-right Liberal Party in opposition from 2008-09, but then lost a leadership challenge to Abbott by one vote. The former businessman and lawyer subsequently served as minister for communications under Abbott before quitting to launch his new leadership challenge.

Despite his success Turnbull could still face trouble from within his own party as many dislike his support for climate change action and gay marriage. Julie Bishop remains Liberal deputy leader, and will stay on as foreign minister.

The last Australian prime minister to serve a full term was former Liberal leader John Howard, who left power in 2007 after 11 years at the helm. Labor’s Kevin Rudd served from 2007-10 before he was ousted by Julia Gillard, but she in turn was replaced by Rudd in June 2013 – just months before a general election which saw Abbott’s Liberals come to power in coalition with the National Party.