Turnbull’s GQ Interview Borders On Leadership Treachery

A PROFILE ON Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull in chic magazine GQ — containing just enough foolish hypothesising to raise eyebrows — borders on disloyalty to the present Liberal leadership; minor as it may seem, Turnbull has indirectly sanctioned a resumption of leadership speculation through the timing and substance of an inadvisedly given interview that serves no purpose other than to posture for the Prime Ministership.

Another relatively brief piece from me today, as I have a lot of work to chew through this weekend (although I am heading across to the MCG this afternoon to witness what I hope will be a regulation belting of the detested Essendon Football Club, dished out by my beloved Carlton, but we will see).

But in what is being billed as “The Power Issue” — quite — Turnbull’s latest appearance in the trendy GQ magazine can really only be interpreted as a tacit green light to ongoing speculation that he will replace Liberal leader Tony Abbott, becoming Prime Minister, and I think it is fair criticism that when all factors are considered, Turnbull’s participation in the GQ feature borders on an act of disloyalty against his leader.

It is no wonder his critics accuse him of compromising the political and electoral interests of the Liberal Party, for they are causes that will receive no advancement as a consequence of this latest media foray.

POWER ISSUE...Turnbull's GQ feature makes it clear he remains a willing contender for the Prime Ministership.

POWER ISSUE…Turnbull’s GQ feature makes it clear he remains a willing contender for the Prime Ministership.

Already badly damaged by the abortive putsch against him in February, Abbott and his Treasurer Joe Hockey now face a difficult imminent budget that appears to be a losing proposition whichever way you cut it; snookered by an exceedingly hostile Senate in which an irresponsible Labor “leader” marshalls votes against virtually any constructive legislation put to it, Hockey and Abbott have spent months trying to suggest the coming budget will be mild, uncontroversial, incremental at best, and not “scary:” all bywords for a damp squib that will eschew meaningful action on the increasingly urgent redress the national finances require.

Already, Abbott in particular is backtracking from tough action to fix specific issues — the GST being the most prominent at present — at a time those issues are virtually exploding in the Coalition’s collective face, suggesting instead that others (in this case the state Premiers) sort them out instead, in a distasteful and confused double actin which Hockey seems to be posturing over the need to get moving with reforms over the very same issues.

The outrage lobby to the government’s Left is pre-emptively attacking the Coalition for even daring to contemplate tough action; the government’s critics on the mainstream Right are  voicing disapproval at best that Abbott’s government appears hellbent on avoiding any further attempts to do what it was elected to do after last year’s disaster, which is to fix the federal budget.

And all the while, the Coalition — which has been very poorly served by its recruitment of so-called “tacticians,” “strategists” and “communications” personnel — continues to drift dangerously toward the political oblivion of a first-up election loss when next it faces the people.

Yet none of this bothers Turnbull, who posed for GQ in the sort of (admittedly impressive) outfit reserved for power pics of the up-and-coming.

His admission, when asked if he would have stood for the Liberal leadership if the February spill attempt had succeeded, that “people would have been astonished if I hadn’t” breaks the cardinal political rule of not fuelling destabilising chatter against the leader of the day — unless, that it, destabilisation is exactly the desired effect.

And whilst Turnbull himself may not be directly responsible for GQ‘s provocative headlining of the “Primed Minister” or its crass assertion that his “next stop” would be The Lodge — “maybe” — Turnbull should have had the brains and the judgement to have realised that co-operating with GQ at this time and for this type of feature he would merely fuel unrest against Abbott’s leadership — and declined to participate.

Tellingly, his office is said to have refused to comment when contacted and asked whether Turnbull was happy with the finished article GQ is publishing next week after its most recent interview with him.

And I think Joe Hildebrand, writing in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph today, has it about right with his satirical interpretation of the Turnbull interview.

I have said it before and I will share the piece with readers once again, and I am prepared to do so until the cows come home: Malcolm Turnbull is no solution as Prime Minister, and no amount of glib posturing or smugly provocative media appearances will change that.

In an ideal world, Abbott would sack his minister for disloyalty, for certainly Turnbull has honoured his obligation not to undermine his leader in only the most literal sense: his activities and his utterances within cooee of leadership chatter make it painfully clear that not only is Turnbull agitating to become Prime Minister himself, but that he considers himself more than ready to join the battle the moment it begins.

Alas, such a decisive confrontation is too fraught with risk for Abbott to contemplate, for in the febrile world of Coalition politics and the government’s still-dire (if improved) standing in reputable polling, there is no guarantee he would emerge victorious from such a contest.

Turnbull will therefore carry on with his mischief-making and his subterranean intrigues, and these will in turn continue to damage the government and the Prime Minister personally irrespective of Turnbull’s protestations otherwise.

In the meantime, nobody wins, except perhaps for the disreputable and vacuous specimen leading the Labor Party at present. If Turnbull does not want to help facilitate a Labor triumph at next year’s election, stunts like his GQ appearance are an odd way of proving it.

AND ANOTHER THING: with an eye on some of the attacks I have been fielding on Twitter of late from the lunatic trolls of the Left, there is a grotesque irony in the fact that cretinous tweet-bombers who rail against “people like me” for daring to advocate low-tax, workplace flexible policies designed to maximise incentive and encourage reward for old-fashioned hard work are also the sort of people who tell pollsters with reckless abandon that not only do they support Turnbull as preferred Liberal leader, but that (unbelievably) they would vote for the Coalition were he to be restored to the position he lost in 2009 as a result of his disregard of the Liberal base and non-existent political judgement.

These people will no more vote Liberal than I would propose Communist Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon as president of the HR Nicholls Society, and it amazes me that even in the interests of mischief-making, these types would advocate for one of the richest men in Parliament to become Prime Minister: a man who admittedly had a severely compromised upbringing, but who has made millions of dollars through hard work and is the epitome personally of the cultural change I would like to see take hold in this country, even if his political utterances and ideas are not reflective of this.

It’s yet more evidence that the iron sulphite promise of Turnbull as Prime Minister is preposterous and fanciful bullshit. The same stellar opinion numbers that propelled Kevin Rudd back to the Prime Ministership in 2013 would as surely disintegrate beneath Turnbull’s feet the moment he was elevated to the post as they did for Rudd. Turnbull is an election loser in the making, and it is the very people who agitate for his ascendancy now who would guarantee it at the polls in 18 months’ time.



15 thoughts on “Turnbull’s GQ Interview Borders On Leadership Treachery

  1. I would prefer to at least try and not hand the keys to the Lodge to Shorten at least without a fight.
    Turnbull is the only chance for this not to happen, I know Liberal voters who are so angry with Abott & Hockey that they will vote against the Liberal Party for the 1st time in their lives.
    People have stopped listening to the current Liberal Party leadership !!!

    • Agree. Some of the crap that comes out of their mouths. There’s and old saying, ‘better to be thought of as a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.’

  2. He looks very uncomfortable in that picture; I bet its the hideous shirt and tie.

  3. It’s not the shirt and tie but rather the prosthetic which is needed when an invertebrate tries to walk upright!

    • Sorry Yale, your beloved Carlton got smashed again but the parallels with the apoplectic Malthouse and you are striking. Your hatred for Turnbull borders on mania and you are not prepared to even countenance the pragmatic option of him as leader of the Libs. You think it’s some kind of lefty conspiracy that he polls so much better than Abbott, have you ever thought that you may have to put aside your feelings and admit you are wrong?

      • BobD, for the first time in 88 comments posted by you on this site you have actually included a sliver of reasoned discussion. I say “sliver” because — as usual — it nonetheless contains your standard fare of Liberal bashing and personal abuse aimed at me.

        Firstly, I direct you to opinion polling results recorded by Kevin Rudd as “preferred Labor leader” for most of the time Julia Gillard was Prime Minister. They actually make Turnbull’s present numbers look a little dim. Yet once Rudd was restored to the office, they collapsed.

        You accuse me of claiming Turnbull’s numbers are a “lefty conspiracy,” but where is your proof that they are not? Certainly it was an article of faith that Rudd’s numbers were inflated by Liberal voters who thought they were merely damaging Gillard by expressing a preference for him if/when they were polled, when in fact Rudd was always going to lose that little bit less badly than Gillard; once Rudd was restored to the role his numbers collapsed because the Liberals who’d pumped up his tyres no longer “preferred” him. I am amazed you can’t see the same tactic at work here. Or perhaps you can, but it simply doesn’t suit you to admit it.

        Turnbull as Liberal leader would mean a return to tin ear politics, a slew of left-leaning social programmes, a complete disregard for rural Australia (which is why the National Party flatly refuses to embrace him) and a dictatorial and unilateral approach to management of the Liberal Party room. Add in some colossal and glaring pieces of political misjudgement — enter centre stage, Godwin Grech, with your ute — and I’m afraid it is impossible to conclude that Malcolm Turnbull is anything other than a liability.

        If Malcolm was so popular, then why did the Coalition average a 12-point deficit after preferences in opinion polling under his leadership? Hmmm?

        And rather obviously unlike yourself, I talk to a large number of rank-and-file members of the Liberal Party regularly, BobD, and be very well assured that my estimation of Turnbull’s leadership prospects is by no means a minority view inside my own party.

        To believe that Turnbull is somehow going to lead the Liberal Party into Nirvana — when there was absolutely no sign he would when he actually led it — is to accept the rather tall story that people rusted onto the Greens and the ALP, who like Malcolm’s left-leaning social views, are going to abandon those parties en masse and vote for us. It will no more happen than the flood of Liberals who were supposedly going to desert us and vote for Rudd (and didn’t).

        And in any case, you are free to vote however you like, but I want to vote for a conservative government: we certainly don’t have one of those as it stands. Under Malcolm, such an objective would be exponentially further away. With Abbott (or a more palatable replacement if it comes to it) we retain the prospect of good sense breaking through at some point. Under Malcolm, people might as well just go off and vote Labor. Which, BobD, is exactly what the hordes of Greens and Labor voters will do if Malcolm becomes Liberal leader, the fact they like him personally notwithstanding.

        There are people in the ALP I like too. It doesn’t mean I’d ever vote for them. The principle is the same.

        But all that said, since you have been visiting this column I at first attempted to engage you and then — when I realised you were only here to direct insults and abuse at me, and post childish anti-Liberal cheap cracks, I was determined to ignore you. But since that doesn’t work either, here we are.

        You are welcome to come here and participate in discussion — and God knows, apart from your general dismissals of all Liberals as bad, and my views as somehow the result of sleep deprivation or other rubbish, you have never rebutted a single argument posted in this site.

        Why should unions be excluded from the same legislative standards of governance as business, BobD?

        Why is a “tax switch,” moving the emphasis from taxes on income to taxes on expenditure (and slashing income tax rates whilst boosting pensions) so evil to you?

        What is your argument in favour of a Turnbull leadership?

        Or perhaps you can coherently explain the ALP’s blueprint for economic management and governing Australia, because Bill Shorten certainly can’t.

        Let this be a warning: if you continue to simply come to this site to try to wreck it, I will do something I have never done, after almost quarter of a million visits to it and several thousand comments, some of them from readers on the Left who I am happy to welcome to argue their case: I’ll block you and blacklist you to stop you posting here.

        I don’t like the idea of blocking anyone, but in your case it isn’t as if I’d be silencing a dissenting voice. Abuse is not reasoned opinion.

        I urge you not to test me on this. There won’t be another warning.

        • Sorry you feel that way, obviously you’re taking Carlton’s losing very badly at present. Goodbye.

      • Sorry Bob D
        You obviously dont read polls…when he is polled amongst LNP voters, he polls much worse than Abbott.
        There were several articles and polls about that just recently.
        Perhaps you should read his history…he is a polished crook in a suit, yep I dont like him either, he is a fork tongued silvertail with no moral compass on anything except filling his own pockets.
        He should really be in the ALP…he is a perfect match!!

  4. I dont like Turnbull either, neither does anyone I know…Andrew Bolt says he was flooded with callers saying they would no longer vote Coalition if Turnbull was leader…old Full of Bull is no leader.
    As far as him having a chance to win a second term for the Coalition…I severely doubt it.
    His past as a Goldman Sachs man, his involvement with the HIH collapse and then theres the Axiom Forest Resources pollution disasters in the Solomon Islands that he was involved in.
    This is a man who presents himself as a concerned environmentalist (LOL!!) ludicrous!! This man is a total crook, just read his history.
    If I was a member of the ALP (which I would never be) I would be praying for him to become PM…then all I would have to do is drag up his past.
    This man is at best moderately gifted in taking other peoples money and sometimes quite funny in QT…at worst another KRudd…yep we could vote for Labor on the left and Labor on the right.
    Do I dislike Turnbull? Yes I do…I think he would be a terrible leader…so do others that worked with him before he became involved in politics.
    Anyone who thinks he would be a good replacement fro Abbott is dreaming, Abbott (for all his faults) is a far better leader than Turnbull could ever be, if Turnbull took over…watch the LNP do a Titanic, remember this is a man who could not even compete with KRudd!!

    • Turnbull had his chance, but let the Godwin Greche debacle get past the common sense police. From that day forward, he had no credibility. He might think he’s smart, but he is the type of guy in the boy scout joke involving four politicians and three parachutes aboard a stricken plane. If you know the joke, he’s the one that dives out the door with the kids backback instead of a parachute.

      • Beautiful example!! He does think he’s smart and wise, trouble is many others know he’s not either of those.
        He’s also getting a bit desperate now that he is getting older…time is running out, that article and photo (in my books) has re cast him from having no credibility to being a total tosser, a kind of vintage male version of Victorias Secret posing as a leader…laughable.
        I think Yales article and response to BobD was right on the money…spot on!

  5. Why do the left find it so hard to understand that Turnbull will never get the support of the conservative base? Who cares what leader the left twitterati, ABC or Fairfax want, they will still vote for BS. Their opinion is about as relevant as asking me who I prefer as leader of the ALP or Greens.
    In saying that I am deeply disappointed in the current political environment. At least when Rudd/Gillard/Swan were busy destroying our economy and dividing the nation I always had hope that once they lost office that Abbott and co would fix the mess. Gradually I have lost faith in the current administration’s ability to do the reform we so desperately need. I know the senate is obstructive but at least start a debate and don’t back down when the ABC types start hyperventilating over every single thing you propose. Every now and again you have to extend the middle finger figuratively speaking, grow a back bone, make your point and stick to it. The only thing worse than making a bad decision is to make no decision at all.

    • The further you move away from the inner city the more they turn away from Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull worldview is look through the eyes of the inner city. Though there maybe many faults with Mark Latham at least looked issues from a suburbian perspective.

      God help Australia if we get a person like Tanya Plibersek whose policies would reflect that of the inner city ideologues. Malcolm Turnbull will be the same for the Liberals.

  6. I believe Liberal National coalition is a broad church. Having an heir apparent in the same way John Howard had Peter Costello is a good thing. Look what happened when Peter threw in the towel. Coalition did not completely annihilate a really bad ALP first time round and we copped the 2nd term ALP which was far worse than the first. I disagree with most of this article in that it will destabilise. We need to promote the values of our diversity and gain more followers. A Narrow approach is almost certainly a likely election looser. Instead of getting cranky with Turnbull who could easily draw in the middle of road and wets, get stuck into insipid bill, it’ll do far more good and more chance of winning next time.

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