Where has the old Malcolm Turnbull gone?

He was never a quiet MP, so why now has Malcolm Turnbull decided to keep tight lipped on the issues

He was never a quiet MP, so why now has Malcolm Turnbull decided to keep tight lipped on the issues he used to care so much about?

This was the question on ABC’s Q&A last night, after parallels were drawn by the PM’s fence-sitting and the latest poll results which show he’s losing popularity.

Audience member Robert Gubbins opened the discussion by asking whether the Prime Minister was taking a big risk by calling the July 2 election.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson, said he believed that Turnbull’s sliding ratings were a reflection of his indecisiveness on a number of issues including tax reform, same-sex marriage and climate change.

“Look, obviously Malcolm did a deal to get there and the deal he did actually compromised some of the basic positions that he’d previously held and held publicly,” said Mr Hewson.

“There’s a fellow running in the seat of Wentworth, my old seat, against Malcolm, who just wants the old Malcolm to come back. The guy that stood for gay marriage… and climate change and tax reform and so on. And I think that’s been a major reason why his popularity has collapsed.”

“It is amazing how badly Malcolm Turnbull’s done,” said Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan. “I think none of us expected that he would have backed himself into such a corner after starting off with such a huge popularity.”

“Everyone understands the compromises that Malcolm Turnbull made about climate change and marriage equality in order to keep the right wing in the cart. I understand that. Not that I approve, but I understand it,” she said.

“But what has absolutely surprised us all is that Malcolm Turnbull didn’t actually have an economic plan, that he’d been sitting there all that time waiting to be leader and he gets the nod and there’s no economic plan. I mean, I would have expected there to be a mini-budget in December or January or February at the latest.”

The Australian’s associate editor Ms Overington said Mr Turnbull had been “disappointing to a number of people” and was “struggling to find his feet”.

“People expected him to be doing a lot of the things he is not doing but there are political realities associated with being the Prime Minister… unfortunately he is caught in the realities of politics and that may well prove to be his downfall”.

Time will tell if the polls are accurate or if Malcolm Turnbull will still be the PM when the dust settles.

Tell us, are you disappointed or happy with Turnbull’s government so far? How could he improve? Do you think the ‘old Malcolm’ was better?



  1. Harry  

    Malcolm Turnbull
    Liberal Party Representative for Wentworth since October 2004

    Malcolm Turnbull is Prime Minister.

    How do they vote?

    Voted very strongly for

    An emissions reduction fund
    Compensating victims of overseas terrorism since the September 11 attack
    Decreasing ABC and SBS funding
    Encouraging Australian-based industry
    Giving apprentices access to a $20,000 loan
    Government administered paid parental leave
    Increasing funding for road infrastructure
    Increasing the price of subsidised medicine
    Live animal export
    More scrutiny of intelligence services & police
    Recognising local government in the Constitution
    Stem cell research
    Temporary protection visas
    The Intervention in the Northern Territory
    Tighter means testing of family payments

    Voted strongly for

    Decreasing availability of welfare payments
    Deregulating undergraduate university fees
    Unconventional gas mining

    Voted moderately for

    Charging postgraduate research students fees
    Increasing availability of abortion drugs
    Increasing indexation of HECS-HELP debts
    Increasing or removing the debt limit
    Privatising government assets
    Regional processing of asylum seekers
    Voluntary student union fees

    Voted a mixture of for and against

    Increasing competition in bulk wheat export
    Increasing the age pension

    Voted moderately against

    Implementing refugee and protection conventions
    Increasing Aboriginal land rights
    Increasing consumer protections
    Increasing the diversity of media ownership
    The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme

    Voted strongly against

    Increasing funding for university education
    Increasing investment in renewable energy
    Increasing marine conservation
    Restricting donations to political parties

    Voted very strongly against

    A carbon price
    A minerals resource rent tax
    An NBN (using fibre to the premises)
    Building Australia’s new submarine fleet in South Australia
    Carbon farming
    Decreasing the private health insurance rebate
    Ending illegal logging
    Extending government benefits to same-sex couples
    Increasing access under Freedom of Information law
    Increasing accessibility of government data and documents
    Increasing fishing restrictions
    Increasing protection of Australia’s fresh water
    Increasing restrictions on gambling
    Increasing scrutiny of asylum seeker management
    Increasing trade unions’ powers in the workplace
    Increasing transparency of big business by making information public
    Letting environmental groups challenge the legality of certain government decisions
    Re-approving/ re-registering agvet chemicals
    Restricting foreign ownership
    Same-sex marriage equality
    Stopping tax avoidance or aggressive tax minimisation
    Tobacco plain packaging

    Please note that our voting records start in 2006.

    Rebel votes
    Malcolm Turnbull has voted against the majority of their party 1 time since February 2006.

    edited 7th Oct 2014

    11th Feb 2010, 11:11 AM Representatives
    Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2010 – Second Reading – Read a second time

    Malcolm Turnbull voted Yes, rebelling against the Liberal PartyPassed by a small majority 1 REBELLION 91% ATTENDANCE

    Free votes
    Malcolm Turnbull has taken part in 6 free votes since February 2006.

    How does your MP vote on the issues that matter to you?


    Discover how your representatives in parliament vote on issues you care about. You might be surprised by what you find. Share this with others and spread the word.

    A free and open source public resource. Everything here can be reused in your own project. Use their API to remix, play and tell your stories about how they vote to change our laws.

  2. Robert Green  

    Malcolm Turncoat has an agenda. He is purging the party of conservatives so that when (more if now) he wins the election he can use examples of the past to force us to a republic with him as its first president. And there will be nobody to say not to him – in parliament. BUT BE WARNED LITTLE MAL, we voters will still have the last words and the will be “get lost”!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *