Flat White

What does the future hold for Malcolm Turnbull?

24 May 2021

3:30 PM

24 May 2021

3:30 PM

The Spectator Australia has been spelling out a simple truth for many years now: Malcolm Turnbull simply isn’t very good at politics. From his first tilt at the Liberal preselection in Wentworth back in 1981 to the republic referendum, the 2016 poll, two terms as Liberal leader and now, the Upper Hunter by-election, he has a long list of failures.  

The bloke, however, has got to do something. Writing opinion pieces with Kevin Rudd must get to you after a while. 

Let’s be charitable. For what it’s worth, my view is that Turnbull should go back to the Bar. 

It’s where he had his last major success — the Spycatcher case — so he’s good at it. Indeed, Spycatcher was arguably Turnbull’s moment of greatest global fame, taking on and defeating the British government’s attempt to ban the publication of former spy Peter Wright’s exposé of MI5.  


Since he is obviously very wealthy, he could make a useful contribution to society by acting pro-bono for any proceedings involving his pet lefty projects. He could then put his money where his mouth is, as the saying goes.  

That way he could avoid getting involved in sniping at his erstwhile colleagues and get away from this pathetic ‘Miserable Ghost’ show which only serves to entrench further his public life of failure. 

What is more, this has been done before several times by former politicians and judges. Two former federal attorneys-general from Western Australia, Peter Durack and Daryl Williams, went back to the Bar after their career in politics ended, and did so successfully.  

Indeed, going back into legal practice was both Richard Nixon’s path into the White House after the 1960 election, and his road to redemption after Watergate. 

It’s a pity, then, that Turnbull probably considers himself an antipodean John F Kennedy and his former Coalition colleagues a gang of Lee Harvey Oswalds. 

Rocco Loiacono is Senior Lecturer at Curtin University Law School. 

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