Let’s talk: Is Malcolm Turnbull the new Tony Abbott?

It has been revealed that Kevin Rudd’s UN dreams were dashed solely by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, since Cabinet was

It has been revealed that Kevin Rudd’s UN dreams were dashed solely by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, since Cabinet was 11-10 in favour of his bid for the UN top job.

The sources said Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said he would support whatever decision Mr Turnbull supported. This is when the PM aborted the cabinet discussion and said he would make a “captain’s call” instead, and made a decision in line with the right wing of the Liberal Party.

He eventually rebuffed Mr Rudd’s quest to compete for the prestigious international position, telling him he lacked the “interpersonal skills” to run for the job.

“Does the Government believe, do we believe, do I as Prime Minister believe that Mr Rudd is well suited for that role? My considered judgement is that he is not,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Now not everyone is well suited for every role. This is no disparagement of Mr Rudd. He is a former Prime Minister of Australia. But my judgement is that he is not well suited for this particular role.”

This controversial decision is reminiscent of Tony Abbott’s “captain’s calls” during his tenure as prime minister, particularly the ones on Prince Philip’s knighthood and super. Funnily enough, back when he first became Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull declared he was no longer going to allow such “Captain’s Picks” to happen.

Mr Turnbull has let personal feelings come in the way of acting as an impartial leader, as Fairfax Media reports that the night before the cabinet discussion, Mr Turnbull told his ministers he did not want to have to stare down the barrel of a camera and say Mr Rudd was a fit and proper person for the job.

Mr Rudd has leaked three letters he sent to Mr Turnbull in which he claims the Liberal leader expressly supported his bid.  Mr Turnbull denies this and says the act of leaking private correspondence speaks to the former Labor leader’s character.

So let’s talk: Do you think this “captain’s call” will have as negative an effect on Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership as it had on Tony Abbott’s? Should he have listened to the majority instead of letting his personal feelings come in the way?

  1. Malcom Turnbull is not winning over any people He is arrogant and obnoxious and has no clue about the people he is supposed to work for. His little band of wealthy people is all he has, he cannot give any straight forward answers no matter what the question unless he has a script in front of him.

  2. Michael  

    Well I think that Turnbull’s starting to show what every Liberal supporter was hoping would not happen. With a majority now of one, I suspect we will waist another gazillion dollars on another election……………

    Here is the 3rd letter which is freely available in the public domain. You make up your own mind.

    Dear Prime Minister,

    As you know we have had many discussions in person, by text and by phone on the matter of my candidature
    for the position of UN SG over the last six months or more since you became PM.
    You will also recall that we discussed this matter on many occasions prior to you becoming PM as well
    You will recall that last September I contacted you asking for guidance on how I should address the matter of
    your previously stated support to me for my candidature when I met Foreign Minister Bishop at the UN General
    Assembly in September. You in fact sent me a message on your preferred Wickr system where you stated that
    you and the FM were “as one” in your support for my candidature.
    You will also recall I came to see you in your Parliament House office on 11 November last year where we
    discussed the matter at length. Once again you restated your position of support for my candidature. You went
    further to ask for a list of governments whom you would need to lobby at a prime ministerial level in the future.
    We continued this discussion further on Wednesday 23 December in your Sydney office. Once again you
    stated your support for my candidature. You added that when the time came to lodge my nomination, you now
    wanted to take it to Cabinet to avoid the perception of a “captain’s pick”. You also said to me that the Cabinet
    process would not change the outcome.
    Based on those assurances, in good faith, I have been informally sounding out governments around the world
    in terms of their support for my candidature. In fact the Foreign Minister confirmed that I was doing that in one
    of her more recent press conferences. You will appreciate that I would not have been in the business of
    approaching governments, even informally, had you expressed any doubt about my candidature in any of our
    previous conversations.
    These communications leave to one side the multiple conversations we had on the subject of my possible
    candidature prior to you assuming the Prime Ministership. You had always said to me that the Australian
    government would be “mad” not to support my candidature. You will recall saying the same in person to me
    when we met at my place in New York last year.
    You will be aware that my formal written request for support from the government was lodged with your office
    one month ago. In that written request, I indicated the timing of Cabinet consideration was of course a matter
    for you; but that I needed to be fully compliant with UN protocols which would require nominations to be lodged
    with the UN by early May.
    You will understand therefore how shocked I was to receive your telephone call within the last couple of hours,
    just prior to your taking the matter to Cabinet in Canberra. In your telephone call you said that neither you nor
    the Cabinet would be supporting my nomination. When I asked the reasons for this, you said that neither you
    nor the Cabinet has the view that “I had the qualifications for the position”. You will appreciate that you have
    never expressed that view to me in the multiple conversations we have had on this matter on the past.
    As you are now taking the matter to Cabinet, could I respectfully request that you reconsider the government’s
    position. I believe it is important for an Australian to be considered for such a position by the international
    community. Furthermore, I have been encouraged by multiple governments around the world, from all
    continents, to be a candidate.
    Finally, you will appreciate that I have consistently demonstrated a practice in office of appointing leading
    individuals from both sides of politics to significant diplomatic appointments abroad. My request for support of
    my nomination is not even a request for an appointment. It is simply a request for a nomination. I note that the
    government of New Zealand has adopted this practice in relation to former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark.
    Based on your many statements to me over a long period of time, I had expected from you at least the same
    It would then simply be a matter for the international community to decide who was the best candidate for the
    Your sincerely
    Kevin Rudd
    26th Prime Minister of Australia.

    • Peta Tempelman  

      Kevin should of been given the position…

  3. Kenneth Hopgood  

    I am afraid That Turnbull is worse than Abbott. We knew what Tony was ! but this bloke is nothing like he was in Opposition backing this and that that was put up now he is a toothless tiger, ruled by the right.
    What he did to Rudd who I think is a better Diplomat than he ever was a Politician.
    Yes I can see that his so called Mandate ha ha ha will lead us back to the Polls and I am Hoping for a Parliament full of Independents. goodbye Labor,Liberal and Greens.

  4. Dee  

    Whichever way, this government is doomed. If he goes back to the polls too soon there will be a backlash from voters. If he stays there too long and makes many more poor decisions he is doomed anyway. I think we’re more likely to see a new Liberal leader. I just hope its not Scott Morrison as I find him unbearable to the max.

  5. Bruce Taylor  

    I had high hopes when Turnbull replaced Abbot however they did not eventuate.
    I thought he would revive the action on climate change he was so avid about a few years back. Nothing.
    I felt sure that he would reverse some of the hopeless decisions that Abbot had made. Nothing.
    Mr Turnbull has however succeeded in doing one thing. He has ensured that I will not vote for the coalition again until all of the present extreme right wing rednecks are gone.

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  7. Murray  

    Good decision. Rudd is a poser who clearly demonstrated that he is not suited to public office. A captain’s call is if you go against the whole group. It was split 50/50 so better to say no than be sorry later.

    • mareela  

      You forget Murray that it wasn’t up to the Australian government to say whether Mr. Rudd was suitable or not. The UN would decide that. All they had to do was nominate him and they showed how very small minded and partisan they were. Typical of the right wing nut jobs though.

  8. Gazz  

    Rudd was a controversial PM who had almost everyone who worked with him, hating him – they couldn’t stand the man. Yes, probably most of the Opposition front bench – you know the ones who are protesting this decision. What effect would this “charm” have on those in the UN? How would it affect their view of Australia? Maybe they would have encouraged him to work from home in Aust. so when he demanded something from his colleagues at 3am, at least they would still be at work on the other side of the world.

    Great decision Malcolm!

  9. Lidia  

    I don’t know how you all voted for that arrogant man,on election knight Turbull was so angry at the people ,that he thought he had lost,you all talk about labor back stabbing yet that was what Turbull did to Abbott and Turbull put his personal dislike of Rudd and not that he was good to represent for th UN

  10. Roy  

    Very simply Malcolm Turnbull looks after the 1% and does exactly what they want. Until he relises that his government must look after the majority of Australians and stop being an arrogant self centred person. (Several other words are appropiate of which I cannot write in a public forum.)
    He has stuffed the NBN and is trying to stuff up superannuation and does not give a care about pensioners.
    They took a vote it was in favour of Rudd and that should have been the decision not a Captains vote.

  11. Kevin Murphy  

    At such a split Cabinet vote, and given the character of this candidate as shown already on many occasions to encompass neither a strong collegial style of management himself, nor to display a sense of anything less than arrogance when faced with an opposing view, why would any of you feel that supporting this request, just because he is Australian, was sufficient reason to inflict him on the rest of the world at this time? A number of the other candidates have already put in the much longer hours in serious UN divisional positions to show their commitment is both longer and stronger to seek World peace and progress. A world whose problems at the UN remain in a stalemate on so many levels requires rather a man (or woman) of both substance and clear empathy to effect both a more serious and a much wider consensus on nations , at loggerheads so far, joining together more to create serious improvements, and a more sensible balance to this world body. Don’t blame Turnbull for what was the decision too many of the rest of you didn’t want to call fro fear of being seen ‘Un Australian’. It might be the first best thing in that space he has achieved since the election!

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