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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Finally - Some Charismatic Leadership In Australian Politics

So far as folklore goes, nobody in Australia seems to have more than Kerry Packer and Ned Kelly. With regards to Packer, one of the things he once said which has become part of his folklore is "I'd never want to get between Malcolm Turnbull and a bag of money". Probably this comment was not that Malcolm Turnbull was money hungry as much as it was that Turnbull seemed a worthy adversary for Packer with a carefully sharp legal grounded mind and the ability to go hard and cruel if needs be to protect his interests.

Fast forward to 2017 and mostly all we've ever seen is Malcolm In The Middle, Malcolm back peddling, Malcom compromising, Malcolm constantly trying to justify himself, Malcolm trying to be very careful with his words, Malcolm always trying to carry his QiGong with him to present himself as calm and relaxed, even under intense fire. Even when Malcolm was right (mobile phone technology and data services would eventually outstrip the need for NBN so we were better off with fibre to the node to save money), everybody still threw rocks at him.

Then on Sunday night I watched Laurie Oakes, that masterful political commentator who has been with us for so long and through so much, prodded Turnbull in a manner which resembled someone getting right under Turnbull's nostrils with a knitting needle and jabbing it very hard up his nose. Turnbull tried so hard to be careful with his words but you could see he might have, if he'd indulged himself, said something like "listen here Laurie you fat fuck, what have you ever done with your life" - but he didn't. There was Malcolm smiling, holding back his grimace, his forehead showing deep furrows of a man who was getting hammered day in day out. Today it was that Sean Spicer didn't even know how to pronounce his name (#Trunbull), the following day Cory Bernardi was trying to run off with a portion of his party.

Then on Wednesday something changed. Malcolm Turnbull finally - most probably because he was with his back so hard up against the wall - snapped. And he stopped trying to be the composed and unruffled Malcolm and instead he got up and pulled out his acerbic tongue and lashed it at the Opposition leader Bill Shorten. What he said was rough and mean spirited but it was, possibly for the first time in his political life, that we finally got to meet Malcolm Turnbull. The fighter. The man who won't lie down taking it forever. The guy who had been pushed around and maligned as Mr. Harbourside Mansion for too long and without any real retribution. And what came back was frighteningly real and possibly the first glimpse of what Kerry Packer was afraid of. A sharp mind chomping through Bill Shorten like a Great White Shark taking out a seal. Because the truth was that Shorten wasn't 'one of the people' and he wasn't 'for the people' either, his insincere speech after he knifed Julia Gillard was the thing that gave it away from my perspective. And these politicians think the people are stupid, but the average Joe like me isn't that dumb and can sniff out when someone is not honest with themselves or with others.

Most importantly, it was a genuine shellacing that came from Turnbull and what Bill Shorten lacked, was that he was disingenuous, even when he was delivering his smarmy and dull repeated insult of Mr. Harbourside Mansion. So Malcolm spoke the truth, even though it was a nasty one - and boy will that go down in history as one of the most animal like attacks in parliament, Keating-esque in its delivery, but very Turnbull in its ferocity.

Maybe that is what Australia needs more than anything - someone who speaks his mind and isn't always trying to kowtow to their party, someone that isn't going to be insulted every day because he made money in business - and no, I don't support Donald Trump!

I am not entirely for Malcolm Turnbull - but for the first time I was happy to see him be himself and hopefully he will harness more of that feeling - that he has nothing to fear or lose. If his party knocks him off his perch, so be it. At least he won't die on his knees.

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