Sunday 1 May 2016
In December 2014 The Saturday Paper said this of Turnbull:
“He has worked up a lovely public persona: as cultured as Keating but blessed with a kinder sense of humour; as intelligent as Rudd but far from as malevolent. And somehow, with his green-froth-drinking diet success and his endearing leather jackets and business shirts, his Stephen Fry-like adoration of gadgets and mastery of social media, his raffish smile and mellifluous voice, he has formed the perfect personality for most popular, and probably most trusted, politician in the nation”.
Born 24 October 1954 Malcolm Bligh Turnbull was educated at Sydney Grammar School and the University of Sydney where he graduated with a Batchelor of Arts and Batchelor of Laws. Later he obtained, as a Rhodes Scholar, a Batchelor of Civil Law from Oxford.
He has worked as a journalist and has been extraordinarily successful in many businesses including his own law firm and his success in the Spy Catcher trial is well-known. He established a merchant banking company with Whitlam’s son Nick. Later he became a partner with Goldman Sachs.
He became chair of Internet Service Provider OzEmail and later sold the company for an enormous sum at the height of the tech boom. In the 1990s, Turnbull was chairman of Axiom Forest Resources, which conducted logging, with a dubious record, in the Solomon Islands.
In 2008 as the Member for Wentworth he was elected leader of the Liberal Party. In December 2009 he lost the leadership to Tony Abbott by one vote with two of his own supporters absent.
He is also well-known for his work with the Australian Republican Movement and was its delegate at the convention. He later wrote a book on his experiences in which he described the then PM Howard as having broken Australia’s heart. Having worked on the referendum myself, I concurred.
He married Lucy Hughes in 1980. Their two children, Alex and Daisy attended local schools and have now completed University.
Lucy and Malcolm have been partners not only in marriage but also in their many businesses. Lucy was the first female Lord Mayor of Sydney, a position she held until early 2004.
He is related to the famous actress Anglia Lansbury. Contrary to popular thought he is not a descendent of Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame but is a forebear of John Turnbull who was a supporter of Bligh’s during the Rum Rebellion. It became a tradition for sons of Turnbulls to take the middle name Bligh. Malcolm’s son likewise has ”Bligh” for his middle name.
His personal fortune is estimated in excess of $200 million.
Undoubtedly he is a man, like Rudd, of prodigious intellect and charismatic personality who carries his superiority as an example for others to admire. Like Rudd and despite the veneer of public self-assuredness he is hated within his own party.
The National Party are on the record as saying they couldn’t work with him, such is their detestation.
Again like Rudd he has frequent displays of bad temper. Nick Whitlam said he was a “prick”. He doesn’t suffer fools and he lets them know it. He is a silver tongue, smooth urbane and charming. One of his colleagues jokingly said but he carries a knife with him at all times.
He is also known to be generous with his cash and readily splashes it around if he considers a cause worthy.
It was well-known that he would storm into the office of Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson and hurl abuse at him because he felt he wasn’t performing adequately.
So behind the public persona of the, mannerly articulate, polished Q&A debonair performances, there lurks the other person. The political animal who is just as ruthless as Abbott.
Let’s not forget that as an Opposition Leader last time around Turnbull was an abject failure. His polls as preferred prime minister were a disaster and he made a fool of himself over the Godwin Grench affair.
Turnbull is undoubtedly our richest ever politician. He is an avid negative gearer with a portfolio of properties and even mysterious investments in the Cayman Islands. He has so much blue ribbon Point Piper class that he reeks of conservatism. He likes to cultivate an image of a hard upbringing that totality belies the truth. Sure he was raised by his father but it wasn’t the ‘log cabin’ existence he portrays.
He was a border at Sydney Grammar School and was still at university when he purchased his first investment property. When he was 27 he inherited from his Dad a Sydney flat and an 800 hectare property neighbouring Kerry Packer. The log cabin existence doesn’t stack up.
He often repeats this story of his upbringing of destitution, but how many 27 year olds start life at his level? It doesn’t gel with his insufferable defence of Negative Gearing this week. Trying to convince everyone that its ordinary mum’s and dads who would be disadvantaged by Labor’s policy when it’s the tiny 10% of the privileged upper class like himself who have the wealth to purchase property who gain the most.
In reality it’s the votes of ordinary people who decide the outcome of elections. Normally class isn’t of major importance to Australians, but this election might be different. There has been, because of revelations about widespread tax evasion by individuals and corporations, an uprising of discontent. People never realised the extent of it and indeed that our Prime Minister was of the class who are doing it. That’s not to say that he is a tax evader, but he isn’t doing much to prevent it either.
Who is Malcolm Turnbull? Well he isn’t the same one everyone wanted to replace Tony Abbott.
My thought for the day.
‘There are those who make money but are never remembered. There are others who do great deeds and are‘.