13 Examples of Malcolm Turnbull outflanking Labor to the left

30th November, 2015

1. Deeper cuts to CO2 emissions than Labor

In February 2009, as Opposition Leader, Turnbull said he would be even “greener” than Labor by making deeper cuts to emissions (Rudd Labor had committed to cuts of between 5 and 15%). Speaking on ABC radio, Turnbull says:

“…certainly we should cut our emissions by more than what Mr Rudd has proposed and I have set out how we can do that.”

2. Fawning attitude to Communist China

In 2011, Turnbull gave two speeches on the rise of Communist China, a subject well outside his portfolio responsibilities. One in October, at the London School of Economics (which was founded by the far-left, Labor-aligned Fabian Society), and one in November, in Melbourne. Foreign Editor of The Australian, Greg Sheridan, says:

“MALCOLM Turnbull has delivered two important speeches on China that help explain why he was such a disastrous Liberal leader and why he should never be considered for the leadership again… They contradict Liberal Party policy, they contradict Liberal leader Tony Abbott and Liberal foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop, and they show Turnbull as well to the left, not only of his party but of the Gillard government, and indeed of Kevin Rudd.”

Further, Turnbull had previously, as Opposition Leader, equated Australia’s relationship with the United States to our relationship with Communist China, saying both are “allies”. He was denounced by Kevin Rudd, who explained that China is not an ally, a term with specific treaty implications:

“It’s extraordinary that Mr Turnbull equates US and China as allies of Australia…China is a long-term friend of Australia; the US, by contrast, has been, for more than half a century, an ally of Australia. That’s a term which has a specific definition as a military alliance containing reciprocal defence obligations. Australia simply doesn’t have that relationship with China. There are only two possible explanations for Mr Turnbull’s statement – it’s either an extraordinary national security policy blunder by a person without any national security experience, or he is fundamentally redefining Liberal Party alliance policy.”

Turnbull would later, as Prime Minister, cite the late Chinese Communist dictator, revolutionary and mass murderer Mao Zedong as an inspiration.


3. More Restrictive Water Policy

In January 2007 Turnbull was appointed Environment Minister. Using global warming as his justification, he immediately began attacking farmers’ water allocations, announcing his plans for compulsory water “buy-backs” from “inefficient” farms. He was subsequently denounced by both the Victorian National Partyand Victorian Labor Premier Steve Bracks, who wanted compulsory water buy-backs completely ruled out.  [3] [4]

Turnbull had earlier attacked the Queensland Labor government for allowing farmers to siphon much-needed water from the Murray-Darling to grow food for Australians and for export. He cited “sustainability questions” as the reason, meaning he would prefer the water flow uselessly down the river as “environmental flows”. [5]

4. Thinks Labor is planning to cut too much

In the lead up to the May budget in 2008, Turnbull, as Shadow Treasurer, opposes Labor‘s pro-cuts rhetoric, and says the budget shouldn’t be “scrooge-like”. He justifies his position by spouting a discredited Keynesian economic analysis. He says:

“I don’t think there’s any economic need to cut. If Wayne Swan wanted to make a real impact on inflation he would have to tighten fiscal policy and have the surplus well over two per cent. Now, I don’t think it would be a prudent thing to do at the moment. That’s my judgment.” [6]

5. Thinks Labor not doing enough to restrict Executive Salaries

In 2009, as Opposition Leader, Turnbull pushed for government-imposed restrictions on the salaries of private company executives. He attacked the Rudd Labor government in Question Time, saying they weren’t doing enough restrain these salaries. He also attacked a company, Pacific Brands, for giving executives pay rises whilst sacking workers, saying it was a “poor” decision that “horrified” him. [7]

6. Shorten goes in harder than Turnbull on Terrorism

On the 2nd of October 2015 a 15-year-old Muslim shot and killed Curtis Cheng, an unarmed police civilian finance worker, outside NSW Police headquarters in Sydney.

Malcolm Turnbull, now Prime Minister, went soft on the anti-terror rhetoric. So soft, in fact, that he was outflanked by Labor Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who compared those who brainwashed the boy to paedophiles.

7. Says Labor’s Boat Policy is Cruel

Following Kevin Rudd’s 2013 pre-election switch to a policy of significant action on border protection, Turnbull, in an interview on SBS, denounced Rudd:

“It is a very cruel policy. What Kevin Rudd is proposing is extremely cruel. But all of the policies to deal with the people smuggling problem, are, to some extent, cruel.”

8. Supports Bill Henson, whilst Rudd calls him “Revolting”

In May 2008, following complaints from the public, NSW Police raided a so-called “art exhibition” in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, and confiscated about 20 photographs of naked children. The so-called “artist” responsible for the photos is Bill Henson, a well-known photographer. It was later discovered that Henson had travelled to primary schools to hunt down potential “models” for his “art”.

If you can stomach it, click here to see two examples of Henson’s “work”.

Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd described the photographs as “revolting”, but the then Shadow Treasurer Malcolm Turnbull vigorously defended Bill Henson and attacked the police. He said the police should stay out of art galleries, and suggested that naked photos of children should be accepted as part of “artistic freedom”.

9. Abolishing the Lone Pine ANZAC Day Ceremony

In February 2016 it was revealed that the Turnbull Government had abolished the ANZAC Day ceremony at Lone Pine, absurdly citing ‘rough terrain’ in the area. After pressure from the Returned Services League (RSL) and, of all people, Bill Shorten, a compromise was agreed upon.

10. Retrospective superannuation changes

Turnbull’s 2016 budget included retrospective changes to superannuation, breaking previous Coalition commitments. These changes were so radical that they were even opposed by the Bill Shorten-led Labor Party, who strangely found themselves on the same side of the debate as the free-market Institute for Public Affairs.

11. Turnbull says Australia was invaded. Shorten dodges.

12. Removing Immigration Minister from NSC

It is standard practice for Australian governments to include the Immigration Minister in the powerful National Security Committee of Cabinet. It is an acknowledgement of the importance of border protection in maintaining national security, and was even the practice of the leftist Labor Rudd and Gillard governments.

Upon coming to power in September 2015, Turnbull abolished the Immigration Minister’s position on the National Security Committee. The change was so radical that it was even opposed by the Bill Shorten-led Labor Party, which made a firm commitment to give the Immigration Minister a permanent place on the National Security Committee in a future Labor government.

13. Supporting Syria power-sharing deal with ISIS

In November 2015, Turnbull said the right approach in Syria is a peacefully negotiated power-sharing deal involving compromise between the various warring factions (which include barbarians like ISIS).

This was considered so ridiculous that even Labor’s left-faction leader, Anthony Albanese, opposed it in an interview on Channel 10’s The Bolt Report:

ANDREW BOLT: “Listen, this week, Malcolm Turnbull suggested a ceasefire and a power-sharing deal in Syria that could involve supporters of the Islamic State. Can you see such a peace plan working?”

ANTHONY ALBANESE: “Well, look, absolutely not and it’s an extraordinary thing for Malcolm Turnbull to leave open, such an option. But, again, it’s typical of Malcolm Turnbull. He doesn’t know when to stop talking and make a clear statement. Clearly these people who want to destroy Western civilisation and return to barbarism have no role to play in any civilised arrangements going forward. These people need to be wiped out because what they seek to do is to wipe us and our way of life out. It’s that simple, and Malcolm Turnbull needs to be very clear in his language about that”




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*UPDATE [29th Dec, 2016]: Added 5 new items, bringing the total to 13.


[1] Alexander, C. (2009, Feb 23). Turnbull aims to out-green Labor. AAP Bulletin Wire.

[2] Turnbull to advocate tougher greenhouse gas target. (2009, Feb 23). AAP Finance News Wire.

[3] Bracks wants irrigators protected under $10b water plan. (2007, Jan 29). ABC Premium News.

[4] Compulsory water buy backs must be ruled out, Joyce says. (2007, Jan 29). ABC Premium News.

[5] Fed: Turnbull questions siphoning the Murray Darling. (2007, Jan 11). AAP General News Wire.

[6] Jenkins, M & Gartrell, A. (2008, May 04). Spending cuts in budget unwise: Turnbull. AAP Bulletin Wire.

[7] Turnbull turns on greedy execs. (2009, Feb 28). Illawarra Mercury.