5 reasons the Libs should push Turnbull’s profile
As the election campaigning drones on, my eyes are getting misty for Malcolm Turnbull. Remember him? The guy that led the Opposition, a mere eight months ago?
Labor has wheeled out Rudd (almost literally from his hospital bed) in the hope of turning around its woeful campaign. My question is, why doesn’t the Coalition do the same with its hitherto unacknowledged golden boy? Abbott may think he’s winning, but really all he’s doing is not losing. And that can quickly change if Rudd suddenly pushes the turbo boost for Labor.
Here are five reasons why Turnbull is the PM candidate we wish we had:
1. He’s smart, both an academic and “street” sense. Sure, he’s got all the requisite degrees, studied at Oxford, blah blah. But there’s more to him than that. He’s been a journalist, barrister, corporate lawyer, merchant banker. He defended the right of a British author to publish a book about his days as a MI5 agent (Spycatcher) – and won. And he’s written a few books, happily (and in contrast to his contemporaries) on topics other than himself.
2. He believes in things and is prepared to stand up for them. He was leader of the Republican movement and wrote a book about why Australia needs to become one. He’s Catholic but doesn’t agree with the Church’s teachings on abortion and stem cell research, so he supported progressive legislation on both, ignoring Cardinal George Pell’s very public disgust. He believes in climate change and actually wanted to do something about it, unlike his colleagues. He fell on his sword trying to support the Government’s emission trading scheme – something that at least was better than the nothing we have now. That cost him dearly, losing out in a three-way ballot by one single vote to Tony “the-argument-on-climate-change-is-absolute-crap” Abbott. Sigh.
3. He’s made a few mistakes, which means he’s more likely to think twice before making them again. Sure, he didn’t handle the whole Grech/Ute-Gate affair particularly well. But hey, Godwin Grech was one bizarre unit. In some way, Turnbull revealed a bit of his character there; a positive aspect gone largely unobserved. He listened to, and believed something a humble public servant-come-apparent-whistle-blower had to say. As a lawyer if nothing else, he should have known to exercise due skepticism before he opened his mouth in support. But it was hard not to feel sorry for Turnbull when all he really did was believe what a weird, little guy had to say. At least he wasn’t hurling abuse or treating public servants as though they were personal slaves like Rudd.
4. He’s made a lot of money through personal exertion. Some people think that’s a bad thing – how can he relate to the masses when he’s sitting on a fortune? But that’s the very reason why we should trust him. A man who can manage his own affairs, who has started and run his own successful businesses, and who knows the realities of corporate life is someone I’ll put a bit of faith in when it comes to the economy. I can’t imagine a person with his business acumen letting his shareholders (us) be manipulated by rip-off pink batt installers or extortionist school building renovators wearing King Gees.
5. He’s a total Silver Fox. He’s charismatic, handsome, highly articulate and chicks dig him. He’s got that Prime Ministerial ‘X’ factor. A quick poll of my left-leaning (highly disillusioned) friends said they were more likely to vote for Turnbull than Gillard, but would never in a million years vote for Abbott.
Abbott, has been a good Opposition leader. He’s opposed things – something he once said was an Opposition leader’s duty. He chips. He takes the other side. He has created a sense of chasm between the two parties (or rather did, before this campaign started) which was arguably needed. But he’s not someone most people truly believe should be leading this country. He has become too accustomed to arguing the case against – rather than for, something. Being PM demands a different skillset. And despite attempts to convince us otherwise, he doesn’t understand women or what we want. Even he must be wondering how the heck it has come to this.
In the aftermath of the Liberal Party spill, Abbott looked as baffled as anyone that he had won the vote. As the dark clouds gather over Gillard, he’s now licking his lips nervously, wondering if the impossible is really possible – that a Howard/Bishop ‘lovechild’ with highly conservative views, could one day soon speak on behalf on an entire nation. Meanwhile, swinging Australia is feeling nauseous at the thought of deciding what is the least worst option on August 21.
Malcolm, if you’re listening, dust yourself off and get back in the scrum.
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