30th November, 2015
Malcolm Turnbull may be the Prime Minister of Australia, but he is not an Australian Prime Minister. Indeed, he is the quintessential un-Australian — the antithesis of Australiana — and below I make 4 points that clearly demonstrate this.
1. His Antipathy to Sports
Sport is central to Australian culture, but you wouldn’t know it from our current Prime Minister, who has publicly displayed his aversion to sport on numerous occasions.
For instance, in a radio interview in 2008, Turnbull was asked which footy team he barracked for. His stuttering answer went something like this:
“Well, I, I, I, I have to confess I vote for, I, I vote for, I, ummm, I support in ummm, Australian Rules, the Roosters,”
So out-of-touch was this that it made even Wayne Swan look good in comparison, which certainly takes some doing.
More recently, he bumped into David Warner at an Adelaide coffee shop without even recognising him, and, at the AFL Grand Final, he ignored the game so he could chat to movie star Chris Hemsworth (and get a selfie for his social media accounts so we can all see how trendy he is).
And then there was his cringe-worthy performance at the Dally M Awards, proving that even when Turnbull makes an effort to know something about sport, it still turns into a train wreck.
This sporting allergy isn’t a recent phenomenon for Turnbull. As Head Prefect at Sydney Grammar in the early 1970s, Turnbull formally discouraged students from watching and participating in sports, derisively calling it a “jockstrap attitude“.
Even as a 13-year-old, Turnbull seemed hostile to sport. In a letter to his Sydney Grammar School publication, The Sydneian, in 1968, Turnbull said that sportsman were not one of the “bastions of true culture”, among which he numbered chess players and debaters. He was irritated that activities such as these, in which he himself was engaged, did not attract the same level of popular attention as football. 1
Compare this with John Howard’s cricket expertise, or Tony Abbott’s eclectic sporting abilities, and the contrast is striking.
2. His Mocking of Mateship
The 1999 referendum saw two proposals for Constitutional change put to the Australian people. There was the republic itself, but there was also a proposal for a new preamble to the Constitution.
Prime Minister John Howard wanted the hallowed Australian expression “mateship” to be included in the new preamble, but leftists disagreed. The Labor Party and the Democrats combined in the Senate to block the inclusion of “mateship”, with the strong support of the leader of the Australian Republican Movement, Malcolm Turnbull.
In his 1999 book, Fighting for the Republic, Turnbull attacks Howard for trying to include ‘mateship’ in the preamble, and mocks the concept:
“Howard tried to argue that ‘mateship’ was not a masculine term, but women were not convinced. Mates and mateship were as blokey as you could get. This was a preamble wearing thongs, stubbies and a blue singlet.” 2
3. His Egocentricity
Egocentricity — regarding oneself as the centre of all things — is antithetical to Australia’s traditional self-effacing culture, yet our current Prime Minister provides a textbook example. Indeed Dr. Brendan Nelson, a medical doctor and one of Turnbull’s predecessors as leader of the federal parliamentary Liberal Party, has publicly diagnosed Turnbull with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, saying:
“There’s about 5 per cent of the population who are born with narcissistic traits, and about 2 per cent have narcissism. He’s got Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He says the most appalling things and can’t understand why people get upset. He has no empathy.”
In one 1991 feature article alone, Turnbull’s acquaintances are quoted calling him “a prick”, “a turd”, “offensively smug”, “easy to loathe”, “cynical”, “overbearing”, “chilling”, “unnecessarily aggressive”, “vicious”, “nasty”, “savaging”, “abrasive”, “breathtakingly arrogant”, “a good exploiter of publicity”, someone who “will do anything to get what he wants”, and someone who would “devour anyone for breakfast”.
To contrast, if you want a recent but classic example of humble Australian larrikinism, the polar opposite of Turnbull, take a look at the 2015 Brownlow Medal victory speech of Fremantle Dockers player Nat Fyfe.
4. His Devotion to Multiculturalism
Turnbull’s ad nauseam lectures on multiculturalism have become eye-rolling extravaganzas, as he desperately tries to push the outright falsehood that multiculturalism is a fundamental Australian value that strengthens the nation.
During the republic campaign in the 1990s, Turnbull cited multiculturalism as one of the key reasons to oppose the monarchy. In 1997 he said the monarchy:
“…sends confusing signals to the region, it is a relic of the colonial days and it is the very antithesis of multiculturalism,” 3
Not only has Turnbull pushed the idea that foreigners should be allowed to migrate to Australia whilst keeping their foreign culture (which is, effectively, colonisation), he has outrageously said that Australians should change our behaviour to adapt to the them.
His contributions with regard to Islam are infamous. For example, in 2011 he said the following on the ABC’s Q&A program:
“Islam is an ancient religion of great scholarship… much of our learning and culture came to us from the Muslims… It’s a great tradition. It is important for us that we promote and encourage Islam and Islamic traditions that are moderate…”
Compare Turnbull’s devotion to multiculturalism with the views of former Prime Minister John Howard:
- Manning, P. (2015). Born to Rule: The unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull. Melbourne University Press.
- Turnbull, M. (1999). Fighting for the Republic. (p. 89). Australia: Hardie Grant Books.
- Walker, T. (1997, Oct 27). Constitution fomenting royal dissent. Financial Times.
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