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This is a map of the acres of Amazon Forests that have been destroyed by the reams of paper used to write navel-gazing articles on Malcolm Turnbull’s personality. The one thing I never quite understood is why some articles can praise Turnbull’s brash confidence and canny genius on the one hand and on the other call him a risk-seeker on the other.

Try to put yourself into his shoes. You are an Opposition Leader of a splintering and disorganised party. You are leader by virtue of the fact that no other fool is fool enough to fight a first term PM because it never works. What can you really do against a government which does the right things on the right issues? The economic stimulus package is amongst the best designed in the world. The climate change bill, though arguably too quick and unilateral, is not worth quibbling about the details when doing so could make you look like a sceptic. Especially when scientists are still in disagreement about the best way to gag Steve Fielding. Chloroform or HCl? Hmm…

Turnbull had two options in front of him. The first, was a path which has been tried and failed by those with far better political antennae than him. The other, was the road less travelled by. The utegate saga was not a flaw in and of itself, it could have destroyed the Rudd Government. The problem was in its execution. Turnbull, as a lawyer, should have dug through the details of every single comma and punctuation mark of Godwin Grech’s email. As an investment banker, he should have done his due diligence. That was mistake one. Mistake two was his failure to contain his excitement, bragging about it to the PM’s advisor at some charity ball, bragging about it on public TV.

Had all gone to plan, we might all well now be praising Turnbull for his ruthlessness and his genius at installing Australia’s first female PM instead of watching the SMH’s unabashed campaign for a double dissolution.


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