16 Sep 2015

New Australian PM unlikely to mean new Pacific policies

4:54 pm on 16 September 2015

An Australian foreign policy academic says another change of Prime Minister is unlikely to bring any great changes to the country's policies on climate change and the Pacific.

Malcolm Turnbull was yesterday sworn in as Prime Minister after he ousted Tony Abbott as Liberal Party leader in a late night ballot.

The Lowy Institute's Jonathan Pryke says Mr Turnbull's attention will be very much focussed on domestic issues, leaving foreign policy to his deputy Julie Bishop, who remains foreign minister.

However, Mr Turnbull has in the past attacked Tony Abbott's record on the environment and climate change, calling for a "stong, credible policy framework" to cut carbon emissions.

He has also spoken out about the detention of children at Australia's asylum seeker detention centres on Nauru.

But Mr Pryke says Mr Turnbull's past statements won't necessarily translate to policy changes.

"Turnbull has already made it clear that there will be no changing of Australia's policy with regards to what targets we will be taking to the [COP 2050] negotiations, but I think we can expect to see at least a lightening of the tone with regard to discussions with Pacific countries on climate change issues.

Malcolm Turnbull's appointment makes him Australia's fifth Prime Minister in eight years.

Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop, after winning the leadership ballot.

Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop, after winning the leadership ballot. Photo: AAP