What does Malcolm Turnbull stand for?

Last week I asked the question “what does Kevin Rudd stand for?” so I thought it only reasonable to post the same question in relation to Malcolm Turnbull.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know too much about Malcolm Turnbull, other than the fact that he was a lawyer (like just about everyone else in the Liberal party) and that he’s filthy rich (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and that he once lived in a flat. Not just any flat mind you; a “rented one” – which has been made clear in various media.

I also know that Malcolm is quite a staunch advocate for ending discrimination against same sex partners, largely I suspect, due to the large demographic of same sex couples residing in his seat of Wentworth. There’s votes in it after all.

However in order to find out more about what Malcolm really stands for, I went straight to his own web site malcolmturnbull.com.au. The first thing that struck me was that there really isn’t anything about what Malcolm stands for other than for a brief background called ‘about Malcolm’.

The opening paragraph in ‘about Malcolm’ reads:

“Malcolm grew up in Vaucluse and Double Bay in the 1950s and 1960s. His father, Bruce, was a single parent for much of Malcolm’s childhood. They lived in a series of flats, mostly rented.”

I got the point. The most important thing that Malcolm wants us to know is that he once lived in a rented flat. Fair enough.

Next I went to Malcom’s maiden speech, the second installment in the ‘about Malcolm’ section which reads:

“Wentworth’s most endearing aspect is the least well known. Contrary to popular myth, our community is egalitarian, democratic and far from homogenous. Like the majority of Wentworth’s residents I grew up living in flats, mostly rented and, in the style of the times, with small rooms running off a long dark corridor.”

Fair enough. Malcolm wants us to know that he lived in flats, the rented variety, which were also dimly lit and spacially challenged. Just in case we weren’t getting the picture.

The remainder of the maiden speech is pretty unremarkable, with the exception of the occasional “hard luck” tibit thrown in for good measure. I must admit, at this point I was really beginning to feel sorry for Malcolm’s terrible upbringing, but this next revelation was the real tear-jerker:

“I was an only child and my parents split when I was nine. My father, Bruce, Turnbull was a single parent for much of my childhood. All divorces are difficult and painful. My parents’ was no exception. My mother had moved overseas. Bruce and I moved into a smaller flat.”

“An only child?” “A broken home?” “A smaller flat?” When the one before was already tiny and destitute? At this point I was reduced to tears and cried “My God, why has thou forsaken poor Malcolm??”

Nevertheless, in my relentless quest to find out more about Malcolm, I dried my eyes and ventured on, tissues in hand, to the third and final installment of ‘about Malcolm’ – the Leader of the Opposition address. This time things were looking promising.

The opening statement begins:

“Well, it’s a great honour and privilege, humbling, to be elected today to lead the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party of Australia. Ours is a great party, a party whose values are as important to the prosperity and security of Australia in the years to come as they have been in years gone by because they are values that are based on freedom of choice, on respect for the individual, on fairness, on ensuring that Australia remains a land of opportunity.”

It’s very inspiring stuff, humbling even – “freedom of choice” (tick), “respect for the individual” (*cough* *cough* *ahem*, this is the Liberal party, right?), “fairness” (WTF?), “Australia; land of opportunity” (yeah, whatever..)

Undeterred, and somewhat quietly comforted by Malcolm’s not-so-subtle eloquence, I proceeded on to the next paragraph:

“I do not come to the position of leader of the Liberal Party from a lifetime of privilege. I know what it is like to be very short of money. I know what it is like to live in rented flats. I know what it is like to grow up with a single parent, with no support other than a devoted and loyal father.”

Just as well I had those tissues handy; “An only child?” “A broken home?” “An un-ending chain of dingey and derelict flats? Rented for that matter. And now “No goddam money?!”

“Hath thou no mercy son of god?” I wailed…..

And then I managed to compose myself..

Well that’s about it. To be honest, I couldn’t bear the thought of looking any further afield, in fear that I may uncover any further disturbing revelations about Malcolm’s dysfunctional and underprivelaged background. One can only take so many tales of torment and emotiional distress in one day.

So judging by his web site, that’s really all there is to know about Malcolm Turnbull.

Once again I find myself asking, what does Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal party really stand for?

posted by: reb(el)


60 Responses

  1. I’ll have to revise my 12:15pm guess.

    It’s obvious isn’t it, Malcolm stands for living in small rented flats and making the trivial like salutes to George W Bush or phone calls to George W Bush by Rudd into earth shattering events . If he becomes PM he will give a first flat renters grant to those people renting flats in the wealthy suburbs.

    I missed most of it but there was an ABC Fora with Keating and Turnbull on this afternoon. From the little bit I caught Keating was all over Turnbull on economic matters and Turnbull kept trying to hijack the topics and change them away from economic matters (because he was getting hammered by Keating). Can’t wait until the transcript of vodcast becomes available, it will be a real indication of what Turnbull stands for.

    OK it is available:

    If the embed doesn’t work here is the link: Keating, Patten And Turnbull On The State Of The World

  2. reb

    I think you miss mentioning something in Malcolm’s past that is not really well known. Did you know that he actually lived in a rented flat when he was growing up?

    I know – it shocked me!

  3. Not just “rented” joni, it was small and dark too…

    And no doubt had a rising damp problem poor plumbing and a leaky roof….

    That’s Vaucluse for you….

  4. The horror…. I bet he has trouble sleeping at night.

    My first bedsit in Meadowbank in Sydney was so scary that I slept with a knife by my bed, and when my mates came to stay one weekend they refused to ever stay there again.

  5. Good post reb, even if you forgot to sign it.

    As a Liberal Party member and former merchant banker (no rhyming slang intended) Malcolm believes in private enterprise and free markets. His rented flat is now a long way from the big end of town. I admire his social liberalism and his support for an Australian republic. He must infuriate the Howard conservatives on those fronts.

    I’m looking forward to when his free enterprise ideals clash with the Nationals’ rural socialism. should be a ripper of a stoush. The Nats have given the world a model for solving the financial crisis: captialise the profits, socialise the losses. Even George W. should be able to understand that.

  6. We have a PM that wants to be head honcho of the UN and an opposition leader that wants to be first president of Australia…aren’t we in good hands!!!

  7. Thanks Kevin. I’ve dropped my moniker in.

    I was (note the past tense), initially quite impressed with Turnbull. I thought that he would be the most logical choice for leader of the opposition. He represented a break from the ‘old guard’ and the potential to be a powerful force against Rudd and in calling Labor to account.

    Boy have those illusions been shattered. His recent conduct in firstly offering unilateral support for the government’s handling of the economic crisis, and subseqent turnaround and relentless criticism is pathetic.

    He is obviously receiving bad advice. No doubt from the same source that Joe Hockey gets his from.

    All this constant bleating about a phone call that nobody cares anything about, and pompous displays of self-importance and grandstanding in parliament purely serve to undermine himself and the Liberal party overall.

    I agree that the Libs are all about free enterprise, capitalism, and basically survival of the fittest. It’s just that they always seem a bit afraid to admit it, instead choosing to quietly, or not so quietly (WorkChoices) go about shouldering up to big business while tramping over the rights and welfare of ordinary Australians.

    The good news is that Australia woke up to the con that was being inflicted upon them at the last election.

    The bad news is, I don’t think that anyone at the liberal party truly understands how they got it all wrong. Every time one of them (particularly, Abbott, Hockey, Minchin and Downer) open their mouths it’s like they blame the Australian public for mis-understanding their intentions.

    The fact is that we did. That was the point. It’s just that they, the libs, just don’t get it.

  8. Actually, one thing I quite like about Malcolm Turnbull, and it’s actually just occurred to me, is that I’ve never once heard him mention anything about God, or religion, or christianity.

    How refreshing is that?!

    Or is it just me? Does anyone else know, whether he’s a god-botherer or not?

  9. Realise the Malcolm was thrust into the Liberal leadership way earlier than he wanted. Nelson was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb until at least 18 months out from the next election. Everyone but Nelson knew he wasn’t going to lead the opposition to fight the next election.

    But then the centre right of the Liberal Party began making unappealing noises about Nelson’s leadership and began pushing their more small ‘l’ liberal choice in Malcolm forward. In the meantime Costello was about to launch his bookflop and though he wouldn’t confirm or deny it there was movement afoot to have him take over the leadership if there was no challenge to that takeover.

    Turnbull was neatly snookered. If he didn’t immediately claim the leadership then the eight ball was sunk and he would not see the leadership until after the next election at the earliest, and only then if the opposition did disastrously at the polls. If he did ask to be leader then it was his for the taking, Costello would sink back into obscurity but Turnbull was now in charge of a battered and torn ship heading for rocks and icebergs, whereas he would rather have been captain after the rocks and icebergs had passed and the ship was in open waters.

    So baring a massive stuff up by the Labor government within 18 months of the next election (and Internet censorship might end up being that) then Malcolm will be the sacrificial leader of the opposition. His true character and leadership potential will be shown if he either quits after losing the next election or he remains to fight on. If the latter then he absolutely must clean out the Liberal Party once and for all, getting rid of Minchin as the number one priority.

    That would really show if Malcolm stood for more than dingy and tiny rented flats in Vaucluse (is there such a thing in Vaucluse?)

  10. “Does anyone else know, whether he’s a god-botherer or not?”reb

    Now that you mention it I really don’t know where he stands on that one. Nice post reb. I like the segue…
    “Last week I asked the question “what does Kevin Rudd stand for?”

    “I admire his social liberalism and his support for an Australian republic. He must infuriate the Howard conservatives on those fronts.”

    Thanks Kevin, something else I’d never given much consideration to, credit to Mal where it’s due I suppose.

    I reckon it was Adrian who mentioned Turnbull’s suspicious grant (for a mate?) to sew rain in the clouds. I remember thinking at the time…”what a shrewd parasite”…but also noting the political expedience of publicising this in the final week of an election campaign. I don’t trust him, he seems like he is fiddling the knobs.

  11. What Does Malcolm Turncoat Stand For?


  12. Malcolm is a Catholic convert. Catholics in the Liberal Party have their own set of problems.

  13. “So baring a massive stuff up by the Labor government within 18 months of the next election (and Internet censorship might end up being that) then Malcolm will be the sacrificial leader of the opposition”Adrian

    I reckon the other possible(probable?) massive stuff up might be any sort of economic intervention on behalf of AGW. “They” are already starting to make lots of noise at my work (large US multinational) re the CTS & have inferred that it could kill the industry; “they” may be correct.
    I recognise that something must be done to at least attempt to address the possibly irreversible degradation of our planet & it’s gonna hurt. I believe however that most people, if their income is seriously threatened, will very quickly start to lose their ecological sympathy. The unions may not save Labor, my workplace is 100% & I can’t realistically see support for guaranteed loss of livelihood from many co-workers.
    The next election could be interesting…even if the Libs continue to politically disembowel themselves along the way.

    Malcom Turnbull may only have to be falsely contrary to get up. If he survives the attrition.

  14. “Malcolm is a Catholic convert”nature5

    Ta. I couldn’t care less as long as he doesn’t use his faith to publicly justify important decisions, yes I am an atheist bigot, but it is worth knowing nonetheless.
    I don’t have anything against personal belief until it begins to be seen as a template for my own lifes journey.

  15. Turnbull’s strategy at present may be to get a reputation as a hard-nose and throw enough dirt till some sticks. The policies/promises come in late 2009 or early 2010. Probably a waste of time before then anyway.

  16. I don’t really know what Turnbull stands for either. In recent times, he’s been trying to play clever little games (also known as flip-flopping) to try and make Rudd or Swan or whoever look bad. In so doing he makes himself look bad rather than the target. Recently he has also shown a like to make unfounded personal attacks for political gain.

    He is socially liberal which I appreciate much more than those moral high-horse, tell everyone else what to do, we know best social conservatives. He does of course also stand for free market capatalism. I think it’d be fair to call him a classic liberal.

  17. Malcom stands for nothing, he just expects everyone else to stand for him.
    But i see this from all pollies these days, once they reach a point there is no going back to caring for the voter.

    I’d like to see them all self combust and have a fresh lot of people to choose from.

  18. Well whatever Malcolm stands for it’s failing:

    The latest federal ACNielsen poll, published in today’s Fairfax broadsheets, has Labor’s two-party lead down to 55-45 from 56-44 last month. Malcolm Turnbull’s approval rating is down four points to 51 per cent and his disapproval is up five to 35 per cent, while Kevin Rudd is more or less steady on 70 per cent and 22 per cent. Also included are questions on the government’s economic management (positive) and expectations about the economy (surprisingly optimistic).

    UPDATE: Galaxy has also produced a poll showing Labor leading 55-45. The poll has Labor on 43 per cent of the primary vote, the Coalition on 40 per cent and the Greens on 11 per cent. No mention of a sample size that I can see, but in Galaxy’s case it’s usually about 800.

  19. A rented flat?! Whoar, luxury! …

    I once lived in a hollowed-out kangaroo testicle by side of road at bottom of tarpit.

  20. And let me guess Ross, you used to have to lick the tarmac clean every morning?

    Hmmph, luxury!!

  21. I lived in a tepee outside Lucas Heights Nuclear Facility in the seventies…we continually played cat and mouse with security and I hope they have improved since then as the outer shell of the reactor got plastered with “ban uranium mining” stickers!

  22. I believe however that most people, if their income is seriously threatened, will very quickly start to lose their ecological sympathy. The unions may not save Labor, my workplace is 100% & I can’t realistically see support for guaranteed loss of livelihood from many co-workers.

    HD workers income is already seriously threatened because of the GFC. Even with exteme capitalism having it all its own way for the last 10 years at least.

    Real action on Climate Change will create new industries and new employment opportunities. Some industries are due to go the way of the dinosaur. Rather than protectionsim of these industries, they should be wound down as new opportunities are created.

  23. adrianofnowra | November 16, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    And also to be considered is that Nelson called Turnbull’s bluff, no doubt having become completely sick of non-stop speculation re the leadership since Howard’s defeat. Upon defeat, Nelson bowed out gracefully leaving Turnbull to look like a selfish, back-stabbing ummm twat.

    And Kevin at Kevin Rennie | November 16, 2008 at 8:03 pm. I am yet to see any of the gumption displayed by Turnbull subsequent to when he was playing with Costello’s mind and awaiting the call to beome Liberal leader. Surely Turnbull wouldn’t have been making all these statements viz tax reform just because he wanted to be noticed and to get his name in the paper?

  24. TracieofFNQ.

    I completely agree, I just don’t think that there will be “widespread” public support once the unsweetened reality starts to dawn on those inhabiting the dinosaurs.
    It will decimate the regional area that I live in of jobs; not exactly a vote winner, no matter how necessary. Many simply won’t care when it is their own head on the block.
    I’d very much like to be incorrect, time will tell.

  25. HD I think it all depends on how the idea is sold to the public.

    We can look at change as positive or negative. Our pollies, media and vested interests are resorting to that time honoured Howard favourite FEAR.

    They could choose to be positive and talk up the benefits of taking action on Climate Change eg. cleaner environment, healthier people, AND better economic opportunities going into the future.

    Naturally our ‘Leaders’ appear to be putting the environment last and IMO risking Australia’s future economic advantage, by allowing innovative tecnology to go offshore to be developed by more prescient countries.

  26. Tracie, I believe the change required to meet the future has been badly prosecuted and if two thirds of the population realise that we have to change our habits then why do we need the big stick in the form of an ETS to attain the goal?

    I’ve set up a stand alone arm of GSC to promote innovation to industry and the government specifically to retain innovation on our soil and I urge anyone out there that sees such to contact me through the GSC website.

    I’m not interested in wealth or renown…advancement of this nation is my driving force.

  27. Hello Hello..!

    Can we get this back onto a critique of what Talcum (and the Libs in general) stand for?

    Thank you kindly..


  28. Nice to see the Liberals take their responsibilities seriously….

    “Dr Nelson shares the back bench with the former ministers Peter Costello, Kevin Andrews and Philip Ruddock.”

    “The group often chuckle away during question time. Dr Nelson reveals they are “passing commentary on what’s happening at the front, whether it’s good or it’s bad – on both sides”, but he declines to reveal the juicy details.”

    “chuckling away?” I guess that’s all the liberals have got left to contribute to Australia’s political landscape.

    It would be comical if it wasn’t so pathetic, and such a gross waste of tax-payers money.

    You’re not being paid to f**kin’ chuckle FFS!!!


  29. I’m being a bit off topic lately as I was over at Meganomics this afternoon.

    The topic of this thread should have read…”Does Turnbull know what he stands for?”

  30. LOL!! Good point scaper!!

  31. Tracie..not everything has gone offshore. For example – http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s2050132.htm. This is at UQ. Those green jars contain Mr and Mrs Algae and their many offspring. Just in case I haven’t bored everyone to death already, these are youngest dau aka Ezra’s Mr and Mrs Algae and they are doing very nicely and looking to reach set targets.

  32. Reb, if you were sitting in the backbenches watching Turnbull, Bishop and Hockey in full flight, could you honestly keep a straight face???

    By his own actions Turnbull has made his bed complete with plastic undersheet…so he can lie in it!!!

  33. And also over at the Oz via Ross Fitzgerald: And on the federal scene, in the short time that Malcolm Turnbull has led the Coalition, is the Rudd Labor Government being held to greater account than it was under Brendan Nelson?

    I was interested to read that Ross is letting Mal off the hook regarding being ‘on the federal scene ..for a ‘short time’ when Mal has been setting himself up for the position since even before Rudd was elected.

    But excellent point Ross – what indeed has Turnbull accomplished except making a nuisance of himself.

  34. Sorry Reb. Do you mind if I quickly respond to Scaper and Min?

    Scaper the major carbon emitters have been actively involved in keeping Climate Change off the agenda for the last 10 years. They are unlikely to change thier polluting habits without ‘incentive’. The ETS is not going to solve the problem but at least it is a start.

    Min I agree some things are being done, but we are way behind where we should be. After 10 years of criminal denialism, we need earnest action.

    As far as Malcolm Turnbull is concerned I am not sure he will still be Leader by the time next election rolls around. His recent carry ons have been an embarrassment to his party, and quite tedious for everyone else.

    If he is the best the Libs have to offer then the ALP doesn’t have too much to worry about. I would also not be suprised if we haven’t heard the last of Peter Costello.

    If Turnbull crashes and burns even Costello may begin to look promising again.

  35. If Turnbull crashes and burns even Costello may begin to look promising again

    Do we have a smiley for custard?

  36. Tracie,

    Aside from Talcum, I think it’s slim pickings over at the Liberal party for a replacement leader. Perhaps Costello, but I suspect he would only do it if begged, and then again, he was so down and out in the polls last time, Rudd would just walk all over him.

    The Libs don’t really have anyone else…


  37. I’ll gee ye a smiley TB!


    BTW, nearly bought Morecombe & Wise DVD “The Christmas Specials” at the ABC shop today. Suspect it will become a near term purchase…


  38. JFY, sreb
    Bring me sunshine in your smile,
    Bring me laughter all the while,
    In this world where we live there should be more happiness,
    So much joy you can give to each brand new bright tomorrow.

    They were very talented lads – especially the one with short hairy legs that go like this…

  39. I liked the funny one wae the glasses..

    I’ve never forgotten this, from old radio cassette I had:

    (eric n ernie are sitting in a sunny courtyard listening to classical music)

    Eric: Ah, it’s a lovely day isn’t it.

    Ernie: Yes. It certainly is….

    (long pause)

    Eric: That’s nice music.

    Ernie: Yes, it certainly is…

    (long pause)

    Eric: What’s it called?

    Ernie: It’s Delius.

    (long pause)

    Eric: Who’s it by?

  40. … but I fink were off topic, sreb…

    BTW I found the original (and the best) – The Plank – on youtube!

    …might have posted this earlier – aw bugger it!

    EDITOR: Aye, can you two sods get back on topic!! 🙂

  41. Reb I just keep remembering ‘Lazarus with a triple bypass’, and wonder whether it’s safe to write off Costello.

    Like you say, they don’t really have anyone else and Turnbull is turning out to be a real fizzer.

  42. You never know Tracie. If things don’t improve in the next 12-18 months, then Costello may well stand a chance…

  43. costello “stand”? u need a backbone for that…

    (cue octopus comment)

  44. I still reckon Turnbull should defect to the Sex Party…oh that word, I’m sure they will be filtered out on the net.

    GET THE MESSAGE, people…

  45. Well, with the sex party – getting screwed over by the government would certainly have a different connotation

  46. or shafted for that matter..

  47. But u really do not want to get their stump speech.

  48. One thing about Turdball is that he doesn’t sit on the fence. He will get tired jumping it everytime public opinion changes though. It’s hard to find a long term position on anything for this coconut. As soon as Rudd actuallly goes into the bunker and thinks through policy, then announces it, Turdball is the first to throw his weight behind it to take the sting out of the Rudd announcements. After he thinks he has watered down the average punters response to good policy, he then tries to discredit it by picking holes in predominately irrelavent items in that policy. He is a John Howard clone, a lone ranger, rules without input from his party and thinks he is the annointed one. To epitomise his idioticy, imagine the current push to put Rudd crawling over a President that has put human rights back decades on this planet, is a lame duck President and is highly unpopular with his own people. The great Turdball party is trying to make something of Kevin not loving an hugging the idiot. This is just what Turdball and his party is about.

  49. “I still reckon Turnbull should defect to the Sex Party…oh that word, I’m sure they will be filtered out on the net.

    GET THE MESSAGE, people…”

    Should that be Get the MASSAGE, people?

  50. Massage?

    His sister in law could be his sexertary…I hear she has the experience.

  51. I can’t help noticing that despite Turnbull’s belief that being the product of a single parent family and living in rented flats results in a ‘disadvantage childhood’ that he has not proposed any measures to assist the many ‘disadvantaged’ children living in similar circumstances today.

  52. He has no time for these people and he does not identify with that past…the whole thing was a sham to create a portrait of a man of humility.

    My concern is that because there is no strong opposition this government might go down the road of the last lot…this Internet filtering is an indication of my fears.

  53. What does U-Turn-bull stand for?

    What do the “Liberals” (so-called) stand for?


  54. oh dear,

    It looks like Talcum’s taking a bit of a hammering:

    OUTGOING National Australia Bank chief John Stewart has called on the Federal Opposition to join the efforts of regulators, banks and the Rudd Government to deal with fallout from the global credit crisis.

    Mr Stewart, who hands over the reins of the bank to Cameron Clyne on January 1, described the Australian Government’s handling of the financial meltdown as “outstanding” when compared to the often reckless responses of overseas governments.

    “One of the strengths of the system at the moment is that you’ve got a government that is prepared to talk and listen to its regulators and banks,” he said.

    “Ken Henry and Jim Murphy really know what’s going on,” Mr Stewart said. “The response of Treasury to the crisis has been fabulous.”

    Ken Henry? Fabulous?

    Isn’t this the same Ken Henry, that Liberal party stooges Eric Abetz and the drag queen Helen Coonan attempted to discredit and malign during some lengthy interrogation ultimately resulting in nothing?

    And then this:

    MALCOLM Turnbull had a shot fired across his bows early yesterday morning. Coalition Senators delivered an unmistakable message that they are not happy with his leadership style.

    Not only did four National Party Senators and a couple of Liberals cross the floor in defiance of instructions issued by Turnbull and his leadership team. A whole lot of other Liberals – including Senate leader Nick Minchin – simply did not turn up for the vote.

    One of them said later, “This was the clip over the ear that Malcolm had coming.”

    There was muttering among Coalition Senators that the quick about-face proved Turnbull still has a lot to learn about politics.

    “He sees himself as the CEO of a company,” one of the mutterers said. “Politics isn’t like that.”



  55. Getting a good dose of medicine from the Doctor…more to come.

  56. “He sees himself as the CEO of a company,” one of the mutterers said. “Politics isn’t like that.”

    Why Not? They expect the rest of us to be at the mercy of their free market idealism. What planet do politicians inhabit? Della Bosca said recently of the ‘no alcohol at work’ and breath testing of pollies issue that it wasn’t suitable for them and ‘some’ workplaces – why not? Is it so hard to live in, and be part of, the same rules, policies and worldview that they create for everybody else?

  57. Quite a few criticisms of Turnbull mostly of relate to his tactics of grandstanding in the House of Representatives and then expecting the Libs in the senate to be the fall guys.

  58. In the end Brendan Nelson will get his revenge on Malcolm undermining him.

  59. dear mr malcom
    you are a disgrace to this nation
    You will never become Prime minister
    I just want you to know you can’t be the saviour
    Australia did vote you idiot

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