Turnbull, the self-made man. Seriously?

26 Jun

I am an ambitious person, but I am not ambitious in the sense that I want jobs only for the sake of them… I am here to do things I think are worthwhile. I am always careful that the political positions I take are consistent with good policy. I would not want to be prime minister of Australia at any price.
Malcolm Turnbull


A couple of days ago in The Weekend Australian, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton made an appeal for Australians to “guard against compassion” in the matter of refugees and asylum seekers held in offshore detention. I’ve written about this in some depth here at Independent Australia.

Yesterday, we heard from various members of the LNP that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is a shining example of the virtues of coming from tough beginnings, working hard and making a lot of money. This was in response to an advertisement authorised by the ALP, questioning how much the Prime Minister will personally gain from tax cuts his party introduced that benefit the so-called “big end of town.” According to the ABC report:

The ads state the Prime Minister has “millions invested in funds which hold shares in dozens of big businesses which would benefit from the tax cut”.

Labor also released analysis of Mr Turnbull’s financial interests register, showing he indirectly owns shares in 32 companies worth over $50 million.

“Who exactly is he looking after?” the ads asks.

Predictably the LNP, supported by friendly media, have worked as hard as Turnbull to confect outrage at the “personal nature” of the ALP ad. This reaction is enormously funny for several reasons,not least that just last week Turnbull personally attacked Labor’s Tanya Plibersek, and yes, irony is dead, buried and cremated:

Turnbull then appealed for the public compassion Peter Dutton says we must not feel for refugees, claiming that the ALP was opposed to him and Lucy “having a quid.”

“They want to attack me having a quid,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“They want to attack me and Lucy for working hard, investing, having a go, making money, paying plenty of tax, giving back to the community.”

The rags to riches Turnbull fairly tale is just that. Here’s a couple of facts:

By the time Turnbull was in Year 10 and a long-term boarder at Sydney Grammar, his father Bruce was doing well enough to purchase a luxurious three-bedroom apartment in Point Piper, not far from Malcolm’s current dwelling.

Aged 28, with a couple of Sydney property deals already under his belt and his marriage into the wealthy Hughes family, Turnbull was left some $2 million according to reports, by his father.

There were undoubtedly a few tough years when Malcolm was small, but Bruce navigated them past those hardships well before Malcolm finished school. The reality is, Turnbull had the kind of good fortune most of us can only dream of, and he is the beneficiary of inherited wealth.

The ALP ad asks the question, how does a multi-millionaire Prime Minister justify introducing tax cuts that benefit him personally, as well as benefiting his multi-millionaire peers at the expense of ordinary Australians? This is not a “personal” question. It is a question any one of us is perfectly entitled to ask.

Let’s not forget as well, that in the 2016 election campaign Turnbull donated $1.75 million to the struggling LNP, who went on to win government by a margin of one seat in the House of Representatives. That donation could well have made the difference between winning and losing, we will likely never know. However, the question that has never been adequately addressed by the media is, is it good for our democracy that a wealthy Prime Minister can pay for his party to survive, and to retain his job?

A Prime Minister who used his personal wealth to keep his party afloat so that he could keep his job cannot at the same time claim his financial affairs are private. When a man has so much wealth he can buy himself the PM’s job, that is not a personal matter. It is entirely political. When that man, now in government, passes legislation that benefits him personally, that is also not a private matter. It is entirely political.

It is beyond me how any journalist can argue otherwise.

Opponents point out that there are wealthy men and women in the ALP ranks. This entirely misses the point. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having money. As far as I’m aware, the ALP are not promoting tax cuts that benefit themselves and their wealthy peers, while cutting penalty rates for ordinary workers, and defunding vital services to subsides those tax cuts. We don’t know the details yet, but they have to be paid for somehow. The Guardian’s Greg Jericho addresses this fundamental question here.

As far as I am aware, ALP policy is a better deal for all (other than refugees, and that’s another story) not exorbitant privilege for the 1%.

Oh, and it appears that Turnbull did indeed have a price. It was $1.75 million.




14 Responses to “Turnbull, the self-made man. Seriously?”

  1. Ambitious_Drifter June 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

    Reminds me of when Kerry Packer died… several journos pushed the ‘rags to riches’ line. We’ll get it again when Murdoch dies.
    Do they think we’re stupid?

    Liked by 1 person

    • rakum8 June 27, 2018 at 2:36 am #

      Yes they do and that reflects on their alienation from reality


  2. Barry Waters June 26, 2018 at 4:39 pm #

    What this unsightly squabble is about is the elephant in the political nest that is Australian government. The Labor Party, founded by the union movement, champions the issues of what are called these days “hard working Australian families”, while the Liberal Party sprooks the needs and wishes of what is called these days “the big end of town”. The Nationals represent what my grandad used to call “the rural rump”. These are broad statements but always worth remembering when listening to Question Time when these truths about our parties are nakedly exposed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous June 26, 2018 at 5:58 pm #

    This is just the type of critique that we need. Brilliant Jennifer. Can we get this into the mainstream media?

    Liked by 1 person

    • allthumbs June 26, 2018 at 10:55 pm #

      Email a copy or a link or both to Tony Abbott’s Parliamentary office as well as his electoral office.


      • Peter Reeves July 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm #

        You mean the bloke who’s spent his entire life blushing off the public tit at $200,000 a year and still can’t pay off his mortgage? That guy?


        • allthumbs July 2, 2018 at 4:06 pm #

          Yeah that guy. Think of the rancorous circumstances of Tony’s demise, still owing money on his house, the acceptance of the curious scholarship given to his daughter, his short tenure that exempts him from a PM’s pension and leaves him on the backbench forced to sit day in and day out watching his usurper who lost the clear majority and bought himself the PM’ship from loose change he found down the back of the sofa.

          Yeah that guy. Who better? I read it in The Prince.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Peter Reeves July 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm #



  4. doug quixote June 26, 2018 at 11:11 pm #

    One may also wonder what he did at merchant bank Goldman Sachs at a time when greed was good.

    His bio might not stand too much scrutiny.


    • rakum8 June 27, 2018 at 2:39 am #

      Wasn’t he Lloyd Blankfein’s antipodean bitch?


  5. rakum8 June 27, 2018 at 2:54 am #

    Then there is the hushed up Caman Islands treasure trove mexported from Australia that he seems to disappear for days perhaps to visit every time he is close enough (in the USA) – not to mention Mossack Fonseca and Panama Papers papered over lest we remember his protection of the banksters whose dirty deals the Royal Commission has already uncovered. This is by far the most corrupt government Australia has ever had. Howard was only a war criminal and small time self-helper.


  6. samjandwich June 27, 2018 at 12:19 pm #

    Thank you Jennifer. Turnbull is seemingly a wily operator and has made the most of his considerable advantage. I think I have picked up though that in the main Australians aren’t overly concerned about his wealth – since we seem to have an admirable resistance to the idea that wealth is indicative of virtue one way or another.

    But this apathy is dangerous as it prevents us from reacting with due seriousness when his actions veer towards corruption and conflict of interest – and I’m as guilty of this as the next person so good on you for making it obvious!

    i’m not sure whether like me most Aussies are more interested in ethical and moral questions than economic ones… but crikey I’d not heard about Dutton and his “compassion trap”! I still think we knew all there is to know about Dutton following his comment of “time means nothing when you’re about to have water lapping at your door” but it’s pretty demoralising to have him still there and still causing damage – though perhaps it’s temporary?

    I went along to see Hugh Mackay give a talk last night about his new book, in which he argues that a sensible countervalent to the creeping anxiety and social isolation that is resulting from the present climate of #MeFirst that Turnbull et al subscribed to is precisely to increase our collective compassion – and this sounded to me almost to be a logical sequiteur and I’m actually feeling more optimistic today than I have in ages!


  7. allthumbs June 29, 2018 at 12:59 pm #

    How many times has the slimy hypocritical Turnbull tucked his knees under the café table of a couple of working class people and sucked up to them or sat on a train cosying up to the proles and praising their aspirations and their hard work while cutting their wages?

    What a two faced piece of shite he is. Jennifer is right he bought himself the leadership for just over a mill, pin-money for the Bankster.


  8. havanaliedown July 1, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

    I’ve missed this blog.


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