• Hannah Phillips

Malcolm Turnbull Defends his Record


Malcolm Turnbull appeared in a special edition of QandA on Thursday night, ostensibly to defend his record. There was never any illusion that this would be the end of the story.

Anyone who is familiar with Tony Jones, the moderator of QandA, would know that he would press the former Prime Minister to throw a bucket of mud on the current government.

The first important feature of the Turnbull appearance was that he eschewed the leather jacket and stuck with the traditional blue suit albeit without a tie.


In answer to the question of why he wasn’t still Prime Minister he leapt straight into blaming Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton, Mathias Cormann and the 35 conservatives who he claimed undermined him.

He said he was ahead in 40 marginal seats when he was forced out and added that the government was doing well and had every prospect of winning the election.

He said that the people who threw him out need to explain why they acted as they did.

Turnbull said that he ran a consultative government and cannot explain why cabinet ministers turned against him.

It never occurred to him that these ministers would act in a way that was so damaging to the nation.

He said that he wished Scott Morrison all the best in the next election.

Malcolm Turnbull said that he had done nothing to undermine the Morrison government.

He noted that Scott Morrison had said that he wasn’t involved in a coup and he had to take him at his word.

He alleged that the Abbott right had bullied people into voting for a spill and had blown up the government.

He said that he had no evidence that the Morrison group had bullied people.

He argued that some parts of the media had worked to destabilise him. Alan Jones and Ray Hadley along with the SkyNews presenters had persuaded voters that he was not Liberal enough.

The problem with this is that people were rejecting the hard right agenda in favour of independents all of whom were women.

He acknowledged that he’d spoken to Rupert Murdoch and told him that, if he was sacked, Labor would win government. Mr Murdoch was apparently unmoved.

Mr Turnbull said that Parliament was disrespectful towards women however he didn’t address the issue of whether Liberal women were bullied during the leadership spill.

He said people were entitled to know what went on but he couldn’t tell them.

On the Wentworth by-election he said that he had given support for Dave Sharma on twitter but, for his own peace of mind, he had stayed out of the campaign.

He said that the election was lost in the last week of the campaign when the government stuffed up over the embassy in Israel, the vote for the ‘It’s OK to be white’ senate resolution, and Barnaby Joyce’s proposal to cancel Snowy 2.0.Confronted by Mike Cannon Brookes who demanded he support a 100% renewable energy solution to Australian energy demands, he agreed that the price of renewables was coming down but there was still a problem with storage and that presented real economic and engineering issues.

On balance Mr Turnbull was careful not to attack the Morrison government but at the same time he distinguished his period as leader as Prime Minister as one of achievement in contrast with other Liberal approaches.

From that perspective his appearance could be seen as an endorsement of the Morrison government but an attack on the Abbott faction as being unwilling to accept the party consensus.

Kate Critchley


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