In several pieces on The Political Sword it has been argued that Malcolm Turnbull is at his best when he’s advocating ideas and actions in which he believes, but when he’s required to promote that in which he does not have his heart, he flounders and is unconvincing. Over the last few days we have seen both sides again. When offering bipartisan support for the Government’s $10 billion emergency boost for the economy, he sounded statesmanlike, but as soon as he started to qualify it to make a political point, insisting the public be informed of the details of why the Government decided on urgent action, he began to sound less persuasive, became circumlocutory, and arguably lost his audience.
This was starkly apparent on ABC Melbourne 774 radio this morning 15 October, when being interviewed by Ali Moore. When he was asked about the desirability of the Government providing a guarantee for deposits in financial institutions not overseen by APRA, he waffled. Even listeners with a working knowledge of the subject would have found him difficult to follow; those without would have turned off. It really was awful - halting, long-winded and confusing.
Kim Beasley was criticized for his prolixity, and unable to overcome it, eventually people stopped listening. Indeed this was a major factor behind the move to replace him as leader. Leaders who lose their audience – Beasley and Howard are examples - lose elections.
Turnbull’s minders would be wise to point out this defect to him, and try to rectify it, always providing Malcolm’s ego will tolerate such a move.