Eddie Jones has been sacked as coach of the Wallabies after a disappointing run of eight defeats in nine games.
Jones had come under increasing pressure in recent games
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) hope the move will spark a revival in fortunes ahead of the 2007 World Cup.
Ewen McKenzie, David Nucifora, John Mitchell and Scott Johnson are among those touted to take over.
"Professional rugby is a result-based game - one win in nine matches is far from satisfactory," said ARU chief executive Gary Flowers on Friday.
NSW coach McKenzie is a former Wallaby prop who played in Australia's 1991 World Cup final win over England.
Nucifora won two caps for Australia as a hooker and, after leading the Brumbies to the Super 12 title in 2004, is now technical advisor at the Auckland Blues.
Mitchell, the former England forwards and All Blacks coach, is in charge of Australia's new Super 14 franchise Western Force, while Johnson is Wales' skills coach.
"This is a very difficult decision, but the ARU strongly believes we must give the Wallabies a fresh start with a new coach who will give us the best possible chance of future success," added Flowers.
"The national team has underperformed over the past five months and the ARU has reached the view that the current situation is unsustainable."
EDDIE JONES FACTFILE
Born: 30 Jan 1960
Coaching honours: Japan, Suntory, Australia A, ACT Brumbies, Australia
Past employment: School teacher and principal
Playing career: Hooker for New South Wales (no international honours)
Did you know? Under Jones, Australia endured their worst streak in 36 years - losing seven matches in a row
Jones had been contracted to guide the national side to the 2007 World Cup in France but is reported to have received an unspecified payout to end his tenure prematurely.
He is now expected to be appointed head coach of the Japanese national side and could come face to face with the Wallabies in the 2007 World Cup.
An emotional Jones said: "I don't agree with the decision, but I accept it. It's hard to describe the disappointment.
"I would have loved the opportunity to win the World Cup for Australia in 2007."
And the 45-year-old added: "The one thing I know is I would like to coach the Wallabies again. I'm still young, even though I've lost some hair.
"There's no reason why I won't be coaching the Wallabies again. And that is my intention.
"I want to become a better coach and coach the Wallabies again. It's the greatest honour and privilege you can have."
Jones, who was appointed in 2001, won 33 of his 57 games in charge, losing 23 and drawing one.
And he suggested his side's poor showing in 2005, when they finished bottom of the Tri-Nations table without a win, was not helped by a crippling injury list.
Players of the calibre of David Lyons, Clyde Rathbone, Stephen Larkham, Elton Flatley, Stirling Mortlock, Jeremy Paul, Bill Young and Ben Tune all missed last month's European tour.
"What we haven't done is win enough games," said Jones, whose front row proved to be the weak link against the likes of England and Wales.
"But I'm quite convinced - and I can say this with absolute conviction - that the development of the side is pretty good.
"In terms of where we're going, we're on the right track.
"You'll see those fruits borne in a couple of years. We've got a very good chance of winning the next World Cup."