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Day to Day Politics: How to win friends and influence people

Thursday 14 December 2017

I said to my wife, “I think he’s had a few drinks.”

“What, before going on live telly. Don’t be silly.”

I let it go in the cause of concentration. Well, the way he is acting you would think he had, I thought to myself. There was something odd about the Prime Minister’s behaviour. Something unreal about it.

His mood was over the top, trying to give the impression he was a raging success at his job. In control of everything. This certainly was not the calm, well groomed Lord of the Manor in leather, with the voice of velvet frog that used to frequent Q&A.

This Malcolm Turnbull was the brash politician who cannot see past his own arrogance. Treating the audience with contempt when a moment of criticism entered the room. Trying to be the conveyer of all wisdom, looking down on his audience with ill-disguised anger at those he felt were his intellectual inferiors.

It is somewhat of a rarity to see the Prime Minister for an hour on national television so my expectation was that he would give us some insight into his plans for the future of our country.

All we got was a bitter defence of things that had gone wrong. Often his words came with a condescending gush of rudeness toward towards the questioner.

The online response to his answers and the manner in which he delivered them was often scathing. Social media viewers described him as “arrogant”, “condescending”, “aggressive” and “rude”.

As you might have anticipated, Twitterers had a field day.

Van Christmas Ham tweeted:

Turnbull, alas, has three modes, and they’re all visible on #qanda tonight:
– petulant- pompous and boring.

Milly Majich

#qanda Turnbull might want to reconsider his chosen strategy of arrogantly belittling & dismissing anyone who questions him.

Shane Bazzi

Complete and utter train wreck performance by Turnbull tonight. Arrogant, sneering, patronising, aggressive, dismissive, cruel. Listen to the people with lived experiences. They know better than you.

Benjamin Law

Turnbull’s treatment of this audience member is really off. Why should anyone expect Linda Burney and Ken Wyatt alone to represent every First Nations Indigenous person across the entire country. #qanda

Bill Shorten also got a word in, tweeting:

“I was honestly shocked by this – the total disrespect and dismissal of the legitimate aspirations of our First Australians. Turnbull would do well to lecture a lot less, and listen a lot more.”

The program was moderated by Virginia Trioli so at least we didn’t have to put up with the constant interruptions of Mr Jones. However, overall it did not go over well. What an opportunity he had to speak openly and honestly about his experiences thus far. He could have insisted on a 5 minute opening statement before going on with the questions.

And I must say that the questions were rather bland at times and lacked bite. Certainly they covered a wide ranging variety of subjects from Indigenous recognition to the National Broadband Network, to the government’s relationship with Beijing. But often they suffered from a lack of penetration:

“Arguably the most tense exchange of the evening came after Turnbull was asked a question by audience member Teela Reid about why the government had rejected the recommendations of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which called for the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous voice in parliament.
The Prime Minister quickly dismissed the idea by claiming — as he has in the past — that such a voice would be the equivalent of a third chamber of parliament, and that the proposition would have “no prospect of success whatsoever” if put to a referendum”

“Professor Megan Davis, a constitutional law expert and member of the disbanded Referendum Council, accused Turnbull of “bluster” and being “elaborately dishonest” in suggesting the voice would have veto power and would examine every piece of legislation.
Under the council’s recommendations, the voice would consider only those laws under the two constitutional powers regarding race and territories.

The functions of the voice to parliament would be determined by parliament, Davis said. “It’s a major feature of the reform; the decision to defer detail to the parliamentarians. The contours of the voice rests with them.”

Noel Pearson accused Turnbull of outright lying over Indigenous voice to parliament.

Thomas Mayor, co-chair of the Uluru working group and secretary of the NT Maritime Union of Australia, accused Turnbull of being arrogant and a “whitesplainer”.

Nigel Browne, the chief executive of the Larrakia development corporation and recently appointed member of the federal government’s Indigenous reference group on northern development, said the proposal “never was a third chamber”.
Former senator Nova Peris said Turnbull was “painfully condescending”.

A question from an asylum seeker, a boat surviver really seemed to get Turnbull agitated.

“As someone who fled Iran, being one of 47 survivors from a boat that sunk with 250 people, I would like to know why you think it is acceptable to ignore the UN Convention for Refugees which Australia signed, which states that people escaping persecution have the right to come to Australia any way they can, including by boat,” said the man. “Why do you think it is acceptable that men like myself, who fled terror, be locked away in Manus Island, tortured, abused and neglected?”

Turnbull answered:

“You signed up with a criminal, a people smuggler to get yourself to Australia, and you nearly lost your life,” Turnbull replied. “The reality is this: if we allowed the people on Manus to come to Australia, the boats would start up again.”

“I want to keep Australians safe,” Turnbull continued. “I want to keep Australia’s borders secure. I don’t want people to drown again at sea on people smugglers’ boats. What we have is one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world. We take nearly 20,000 refugees a year. But you know what? We choose them.”

John Bartlett tweeted:

I can’t believe it but the PM of Australia is verballing an asylum seeker #qanda

Con Karapanagiotidlis

After telling an #Aboriginal woman to be grateful there are a few Indigenous people in Parliament he’s now telling a refugee to be grateful for being locked up on #Manus. #qanda

And so it went on.

This fascinating insight into the personality of Malcolm Bligh Turnbull. How he once graced the red set of Q&A passing on the enormity of his wisdom. And doing so with guile, reasonableness and moderation. The people loved it and approved of his sagacity.

After watching Q&A on Monday night they must be wondering if it were all but a mirage. How could a man change all that much … unless it was calculated.

The evening went on and each questioner faced the same tirade of the real Turnbull. I can only say that he never fooled me. When they arrived at the NBN he seemed to want to belittle the questioner and he did so with the use of fake facts.

My thought for the day

“Turnbull’s elevation to Prime Minister brought with it some expectation of civility of discourse. I had hoped that it might also bring an element of truth but it seems my hope has been shattered. Nothing has changed”

“We live in a time where horrible things are being perpetrated on us. The shame is that we have normalised them and adjusted accordingly.”


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  1. Wayne Turner

    The GUTLESS turd can’t stand up to the ultra right of his party,so he takes it out on the public. The pointless PM.

  2. wam

    Well done, Lord!
    A lovely thought. perhaps he is into a snifter to get him through the day

    just off to the airport and then ‘to linger longer’ for a couple of weeks to look after the family animals get to albury via the alice and sydney eta 2030 hours

  3. Robert REYNOLDS

    This discussion leaves me a little perplexed.

    “Social media viewers described him as “arrogant”, “condescending”, “aggressive” and “rude”.”

    I would be totally shocked if a Liberal Party Prime Minister did not act in this way. This sort of behavior is absolutely normal for someone from that side of politics.

    Are people forgetting? We are talking about the ‘Born to Rule’ Party here! This is the party whose very raison d’être is to serve the interests of the rich and privileged.

  4. Glenn K

    and let us not forget he makes use of a tax haven to store some of his wealth. But it’s not “illegal” – and of course it never will be with corrupt people in positions of power. He’s making a statement with his defence of the use of tax havens. He is the PM. and he is corrupt.

  5. Barry Thompson.

    I only watched the show because I am a Virginia Trioli fan.
    My wife and I could not believe how arrogant and condescending the PM was.
    I am sick of hearing him claim that we have the most successful multi-cultural society in the World. I doubt that, as I also doubt his assertion that we have the best anti-terrorist network in the World. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    The PM is a huge disappointment.
    Good article John.

  6. Terry2

    Turnbull was very emphatic that the New Zealand offer to take 150 refugees was a one off when a simple internet search indicates quite clearly that John Key and Jacinta Ardern have said that it is 150 per year.

    Most recently Ardern said : “New Zealand’s offer to take 150 refugees from the centres each year was still open”.

    Joyce’s very aggressive comments on NZ radio are very disturbing : “I think it’s best if you stay away from another country’s business. I find that. Otherwise they’ll return the favour at a time they think is most opportune for them”.

    I’ve said before that this government don’t seem to want to solve this problem and seem to want to keep people in detention for political mileage up to the next election when they will go hard on border security. What is happening on Manus is a flagrant breach of the PNG Supreme Court determination that nobody can be detained in PNG without first having been charged and convicted of a crime.

  7. Zathras

    “I think it’s best if you stay away from another country’s business. I find that. Otherwise they’ll return the favour at a time they think is most opportune for them”.

    Maybe Barnaby was referring to our ongoing years of military involvement in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries and the terrorism it has helped generate?

    That’s Howard’s legacy. I wonder what Turnbull’s will be?

  8. Adrianne Haddow

    The PM’s appearance on Q&A was a gross waste of ABC funding.
    The same old songs with the ‘Blame Labor’ chorus.

    I thought my loathing of this government for the rich by the rich couldn’t get any stronger. I was wrong!

    I watched this election campaign, disguised as a panel discussion, without the panel, on iview and noticed a lack of tweets for the second part of the show … a little judicious editing perhaps?

    In the interests of balance, when does Bill Shorten get his turn?

  9. Pilot

    Great article Lordy!!
    Mal Trumble can say what he likes, it is his party, bought and paid for. All fair-minded Australians are disgusted with their antics, lies and “fake news”.
    They should be running scared….. Scared shitless that when Labor are installed in Government the LNP book of dirty tricks will be exposed, from refugees to their flagrant misuse of public monies to their fascist roots will be exposed through duly constituted and legal inquiries.

    Why anyone could honestly believe that Trumble, as head village idiot, could act in any other way astounds me. He’s a disgraceful, self-centred fascist scumbag, always has been, alway will be. He has always lied and misdirected, but his fellow fascists thought he could pull off the ultimate deception, they were so wrong. He is showing the Australian public the true face of fascism in Australia. He and his cohort should be ousted sooner rather than later. The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.

    F*ck him, and everything he stands for!!

  10. Jack Straw

    Terry, Joyce and Turnbull are both disturbing.

  11. Glenn Barry

    The Turnbull performance was the best, or worst, depending on your perspective, crash and burn I have witnessed in a long time.

    I think one question in particular really got under his skin, the one which sought his definition of his legacy – the implication that his time was almost done really stung

  12. Freethinker

    The point that not one mention is that people still prefer this turd as a PM.
    Make you wonder if we are wrong and he is acting in the way that people like it.
    After all we have to remember how well received was Tony Abbott behavior regarding Gillard and that Malcolm was in his team among other present members of the cabinet.
    What happen to people?
    Cannot be only education.

  13. Phil

    I tried watching Q&A but after a few minutes in it was intolerable. Turnbull’s manner was excruciating to watch and even worse to hear. Everything about the man smacks of confliction, toward women especially. He is way out of his depth.

    I had already turned off the TV by the time he said this: “The reality is this: if we allowed the people on Manus to come to Australia, the boats would start up again.”

    I have heard this monotonous trope many hundreds of times from conservatives and not once have I heard a journalist push back and demand evidence, nor has any journo responded to the claim by pointing to the fact that boats carrying asylum seekers have not stopped – people are still embarking in hope, which is all they have left. Australia’s government has both corrupted and demeaned our naval forces and spent billions to hide these boats from public view.

    Turnbull then inserts his favourite trope, loaded to the gunwales with morbid fear of dark skinned Muslims saying: “I want to keep Australians safe”

    The last four years under the LNP has certainly been illuminating. We have been exposed to a grotesque cartoon of hopelessly conflicted characters strutting the national stage without a shred of clothing on them.

    Hilarious but so, so sad.

  14. Oscar

    Malcolm’s hurting deep inside that’s why he is behaving like a petulant child.

  15. MikeW

    My wife suffered this clown of a PM on Q&A for about two minutes then went to bed. I suffered longer, lasted until he said his government was delivering a world class NBN with speeds between 25 – 100 Mbps, I then switched off before I threw my wine glass at the tv.
    I know of no one getting anywhere near these speeds, reluctantly I have to change to the NBN in a week or so, will give it two months, if as bad as I expect it to be it will be bye bye home phone and NBN updating our mobile phones for more data and going wireless.

  16. Terry2

    I’ve had quite a few dealings dealings with NBN as a wholesaler and Telstra as a service provider in recent months.

    NBN have their administrative base in Manilla, Philippines and the staff are efficient, polite and attentive but everything they try to do is undermined by the inefficiency of NBN on the ground in Australia.

    Telstra have their administrative base in Bangalore, India and they too are efficient and attentive but once again are let down by an inefficient operation in Australia where everything has been outsourced to contractors who are not accountable : when they visit you they never give you anything beyond a first name and none have an official ID or business card.

    I have had three NBN contractors come to link us up with fixed-wireless and each has said that we don’t have a viable signal : NBN Philippines cannot understand what goes on in Australia when their records show we are within fixed wireless range.

    Twice in the last two weeks I have received a text from Telstra Bangalore advising that a technician will attend my home between 8 am and noon on a given date and to ensure that somebody is home, but they just don’t turn up : the folk in India are most apologetic but we just don’t progress.

    Our telecommunications in this country are a joke as is our Prime Minister who deludes himself and us!

    Yesterday Turnbull said that if Labor were to win Bennelong, Bill Shorten would be one step closer to being Prime Minister of Australia : was he giving us a glimmer of hope ??

  17. Graham Barnes

    Many thanks to all of you – you’ve saved me a power of typing!

  18. Bolt

    Glenn K
    “and let us not forget he makes use of a tax haven..”

    Politicians should be compelled to hold Australian accounts subject to scrutiny. If they don’t they should be judged “agents of foreign influence” under the new legislation.

  19. Freethinker

    How to win friends and influence people?
    Try to find something more repugnant that Joe Hockey, quote for the news:
    He said Australia had an obligation to explain to the administration “why we believe Paris matters to Pittsburgh, why beef trade protection hurts Montana or why foreign investment delivers jobs in Mobile, Alabama, or Des Moines, Iowa”.

  20. Peregrine McCauley

    How ? Take a once conscientious party , the Greens . A party that has sided with the Nice guys , on many an momentous bill . A bill that gave private companies , carte blanche , to push their snout , unwaveringly , snortingly , into the public purse . Which bill ? Well , were does one start ? How about passing the fifty billion dollar tax exemption , to our betters , the lifters . Well , um , err . It s only 38 % that pay no tax . Um , err , and another 33 % , that share a median tax burden of 5% . Phew that s better ! Ask Moriarty . Hmmm, yum , nearly a billion sovs , from the the purse . And a quiet 30 million , nudge nudge , know what I mean ? Say no more ! That Rebecca s a bit of a goer ! Know what I mean ? Say no more ! Wow , $150.00 . a week as a Nanny for the Greens Leader , another Lifter . I m only a leaner , like Don Chipp. So which bastard do you keep honest ? . Pray ?

  21. Vixstar

    Meet Chaiman Mal from the Huang dynasty!

    Bennelong your vote Saturday could save Australia from this idiot dragging our country down to the depths of despair.

  22. Ingrid Srubjan

    John Lord, a great article, and I agree with all the comments here-they are perceptive and thoughtful. I too think Turnbull was condescending, free with the truth and painful to hear. I thought Virginia did a good job considering.

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