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‘Startup’s best friend’ Malcolm Turnbull becomes prime minister

Monday, 14 September 2015 | By Denham Sadler

Former communications minister Malcolm Turnbull, the politician voted to be most supportive of startups, will be the 29th prime minister of Australia after winning a leadership ballot against Tony Abbott.


Turnbull resigned from cabinet and requested the ballot, which he won by 54 votes to 44 on Monday night.


InnovAction general manager Alan Dee says this could be the "best day Australian startups have seen in years".


"He gets startups, he understands it," Dee says. "He's got the right background, he comes from tech."


"He goes into Fishburners and converts naysayers by the end of the talk."


In the largest survey of the Australian startup ecosystem conducted earlier this year, Turnbull was far and away voted as the most supportive of fast-growing tech companies.


Of more than 600 Australian startup founders surveyed, 10% named Turnbull as the one politician seen to most likely be a startup’s best friend, well above independent NSW MP Alex Greenwich, who got 2.9% of the votes.


In a statement announcing his challenge, Turnbull emphasised his economic and business credentials.


“The government is not successful in providing the economic management that we need,” Turnbull said. “The Prime Minister has not been capable of providing the economic leadership that we need.”


Dee says Turnbull will now have to deal with regulation to help startups.


"He needs to remove the barriers to us doing trade," he says. "There's so much opportunity for change and we need govenrment policy to be more competitive. It needs a whole government approach."


Liberal MP Wyatt Roy, a vocal support of startups and innovation, voted in support of Turnbull.


"We need to be more productive, more innovative, more entrepreneurial," Roy told the ABC before the vote. "Our country needs very signficant economic reform."


"If you're going to achieve the reform that we need, Malcolm Turnbull is the best candidate to do that."


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