Originally published on 12th January, 2017
*UPDATE [5th May, 2018]: Added 3 new items.
1. Saying the Liberal Party is not run by factions
At an October 2015 meeting of the NSW Liberal Party State Council, Turnbull said the Liberal Party is “not run by factions”. This triggered a mocking laughter among the crowd because the NSW Liberal Party is notoriously factionalised.
In the introduction to former Liberal Senator Peter Baume’s 2015 book “A Dissident Liberal“, it says the following:
“The Liberal Party has always sought to deny the existence of factions within the party because it is a key point of differentiation from the ALP…However, by the mid-1980s, groupings within the Liberal Party, both nationally and within some state branches, started to form that went beyond personality cliques…
At the NSW level, Baume was a member of the inner circle of the powerful faction known prosaically at the time as the Liberal Forum Group (‘the Group’), which coalesced into a political force in New South Wales in 1984. Baume was also a founding member of the Liberal Forum at the federal level…The Federal Liberal Forum, originally a clandestine group within the broad church of the larger Liberal Party, was officially formed in February 1985 and was irreverently named by its members the ‘Black Hand’.”
2. Saying he supported John Howard’s border protection policies
In a March 2016 interview on 3AW, Turnbull said:
“When I was Opposition Leader, before Tony became leader, I strongly opposed Rudd’s dismantling of the Howard policy. So whether it is Howard as leader of the Liberal Party, Abbott, or Turnbull, we’ve had the same policy on border protection. So this is not something that was invented by Tony Abbott, this has been a continuum.”
This is not true. Turnbull, as Opposition Leader in 2008-09, weakened the Coalition’s border protection rhetoric and refused to clarify whether the Howard policies would be re-introduced under a Turnbull government. Turnbull was explicitly and publicly criticised as having “gone soft” on the issue by the then Liberal backbencher, Bronwyn Bishop.
Furthermore, in October 2009 Turnbull rebuked Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey, who warned that terrorists could be entering the country disguised as refugees. Tuckey was later proven correct, with Muslim “refugees” involved in several terrorist attacks and planned attacks.
3. Saying he is a Catholic
After years of openly barracking for Labor, and financially supporting them, Turnbull changed tactics in late 2000, and started seeking Liberal pre-selection. This was his only means of becoming Prime Minister. It was inconceivable that he could win Labor pre-selection in a House of Representatives seat as a millionaire carpetbagger from blue-ribbon Liberal territory.
Turnbull feigned remorse over his previous anti-Liberal and anti-Howard comments1, but this wasn’t enough to secure pre-selection in the seat of Wentworth for the 2001 federal election. After failing to sabotage the campaign of the chosen Wentworth Liberal candidate,2,3,4 he took the deception up a notch.
He quit his position at Goldman Sachs, became deputy party treasurer, sucked up to John Howard, made donations to the party, and began acting like a social conservative, giving speeches on family values and declining birth rates. He then took it up another notch in claiming to have converted to Catholicism.5
Having safely secured the leadership in 2008, Turnbull openly pushed abortion and homosexuality, both of which are dogmatically condemned by the Catholic Church.
On abortion, Canon Law 1398 states that those who procure (i.e. obtain, persuade or cause) completed abortions are automatically excommunicated. On homosexuality, the Catechism clearly states that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law“. It adds that “Under no circumstances can they be approved”.
Public words or actions that knowingly tolerate sin (or merely give that appearance), and hence tempt others to sin, are themselves a sin. This sin is called ‘scandal‘, and the Catechism states that it is a grave offence.
Jesus Christ himself was recorded in chapter 18 of the Book of Matthew commenting on the grave nature of causing scandal, especially to children, saying:
“…he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”
4. Saying Senate voting reform was not on the agenda under Tony Abbott
In an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program in March of 2016, Turnbull was asked how his government was different from that of Tony Abbott. He responded:
“Firstly, we dealt with Senate voting reform. That was not on the agenda and it’s done. It’s been voted in and done.”
Tony Abbott responded saying:
“False. My plan was to do it as the last measure the current parliament considered.”
Abbott’s claim was confirmed by senior frontbenchers on both sides of the House, and the matter was publicly reported in 2015.
5. Saying he’s a legal traditionalist
On the 4th of February 2016, during Question Time in the House of Representatives, Labor MP Terri Butler asked Turnbull whether he would scrap the non-binding homosexual “marriage” plebiscite and allow a free vote in parliament, as he had argued for (in defiance of cabinet solidarity) before the coup d’état against Tony Abbott.
Turnbull said the plebiscite was Coalition policy, but he personally supported a free vote in parliament. Of the plebiscite, he said:
“It is a new approach. It has not been a practice in the Australian political system other than in constitutional referendums…It is certainly not the approach that I favoured at the outset. I am a traditionalist. This was a case of democratic innovation. The innovator was out innovated! There you go!”
Firstly, non-binding plebiscites are not a novelty in Australia, as Turnbull asserts. In 1916 and 1917, during World War I, there were two non-binding plebiscites on conscription. There was also a non-binding plebiscite in 1977, to determine a national song to be played on non-regal occasions.
Furthermore, plebiscites are covered under section 7A of the Commonwealth Electoral Act as a service the Australian Electoral Commission can provide.
Secondly, according to his record, Turnbull is most certainly not a legislative traditionalist. For instance, he was a vigorous supporter of the infamous leftist-‘progressive’ High Court judge Lionel Murphy (former Whitlam-Labor Attorney-General), who notoriously tried to legislate from the bench, bypassing parliament.
In his biography of Turnbull titled ‘Born to Rule’, journalist Paddy Manning writes:
“Turnbull commended Murphy for ‘dragging our law into the 20th century’, being willing to throw precedent out the window in reinterpreting the Australian Constitution…” 6
In October 2002 the then soon-to-be High Court Justice and future Royal Commissioner, Dyson Heydon, commented on Lionel Murphy’s approach to law, saying:
“…he treated judicial work as an act of uncontrolled personal will, and sneered at the doctrine of precedent…”
Furthermore, Turnbull has repeatedly attacked the Australian Constitution, calling it, or parts of it, variously a “total failure”7, “woefully undemocratic”7, “ill-conceived”7, “anachronistic”7, “drab and misleading“, “frustrating“, and an “error” on the part of the founding fathers.
6. Saying he was a battler growing up
This has been thoroughly covered in my previous article titled ‘‘Battler’ Turnbull’s family income in the 1950s was 7 times the average.’
7. Saying he and his clique didn’t undermine Brendan Nelson
In an interview on Channel 9’s ‘A Current Affair‘ program immediately after his overthrow of Brendan Nelson on the 16th of September 2008, Turnbull was asked the following question by host Tracy Grimshaw:
“…you and your supporters have been the key destabilisers of Brendan Nelson these past 10 months haven’t you?”
“That is completely untrue. That is absolutely untrue.”
On the other hand, former Treasurer Peter Costello said:
“Turnbull’s supporters were ruthless in tearing down Nelson. Weakened by this campaign and suffering poor polls, Nelson called another ballot. Turnbull won by four votes. In total, only three votes moved. It was an ominous sign. He got there, but not by building support among his colleagues.”
8. Saying the indigenous procurement policy was his
On the 17th November 2016 Turnbull gave a speech to a meeting of the Business Council of Australia. In that speech he lies, saying that the Coalition’s indigenous procurement policy was a “great initiative of my government”. That policy was actually initiated under Tony Abbott, and had been launched on the 1st of July 2015, over two months before Turnbull’s coup against Abbott.
9. Saying that his immigration policy is based on economic need
On the 11th of December 2017 Turnbull appeared on the ABC’s Q&A program and was asked why he was allowing approximately 200,000 people per year to permanently immigrate to Australia. His answer was as follows:
“Our immigration program is overwhelmingly skills-based, so it is driven by the demands in our economy. So, as you have more demand for people with the skills that we need in our economy then you’ll get more immigration…”
“What’s happened with the skilled program is that over the past 6 years it’s been radically changed. Six years ago one of the criterion was that you had to have an occupation that was in short supply in Australia. That rule has now been abolished. There is no requirement anymore that you have to have scarce skills to be selected in the skilled migration program.”
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1. Gordon, M. (2000, Dec 22). Turnbull Returns to the Liberal Fold. The Age.
2. Price, M. (2001, Jul 18). Libs dismiss jaunt MP’s seat loss. The Australian.
3. Nason, D. (2001, Sep 05). Liberals hose down Turnbull ambition. The Australian.
4. Humphries, D & Robinson, M. (2001, Sep 05). Liberals try to quash rumours of Wentworth climb for top republican. Sydney Morning Herald.
5. Lawson, V. (2002, Aug 17). Power pair turn heads to prayer. Sydney Morning Herald.
6. Manning, P. (2015). Born to Rule: The unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull. (ch. 2). Melbourne University Press.
7. Turnbull, M. (1975, Oct 24). The Constitution: A democratic failure.Nation Review, p. 38.