I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy

Submitted by Rick Eyre on September 20 2008, 9:52 am

"I know what it's like to be very short of money. I know what it's like to live in rented flats. I know what it's like to grow up with a single parent, with no support other than a devoted and loyal father."

- Malcolm Turnbull, from his first press conference as Leader of the Opposition, 16.9.08 (source: PM, ABC Radio)

And with that, the Honourable Member for Wentworth, 20th century internet millionaire, barista barrister, BRW rich lister and merchant banker Malcolm Bligh Turnbull announced to the plebeians that he is just One Of Us. Shame that he sounded such a pompous twit.

While I am sceptical that Turnbull will ever become Prime Minister, his elevation to leader of the Liberal Party is good for politics. He will lift the Labor Government's game, which has been looking a little soft and complacent since winning government. The real challenge for Turnbull is whether he can bring the Libs back from the neo-conservativism of John Winston Howard towards the more centrist small-"l" liberalism of Robert Gordon Menzies. Will he take a more progressive stance on combatting climate change?

Turnbull is more likely to back a bipartisan push for a republic, even though he has gone on record this week as saying the issue should rest while Queen Elizabeth II is still living. Well, rather than risk a King Chucky or Willy even in the short term, how about pushing now for a transition to a republic, starting with the notion that QE2 will be the final British ruler of Australia?

I'm digressing, though. The republic issue needs to continue to move forward, but most people will agree that it is not a major priority for now. The historical checkpoint of 1 January 2001 has long passed us by.