Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has given a searingly honest account of his declining mental health in his new book. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has given a searingly honest account of his declining mental health in his new book. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP

Turnbull considered suicide after loss

Malcolm Turnbull has revealed searingly honest details of his declining mental health that culminated in "suicidal thoughts" following his first leadership loss in 2009.

In his new memoir, due to be released on Monday, the former Prime Minister opens up about the "deep depression" few outside his inner circle knew of.

Mr Turnbull's mental health struggles began after he lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott in December 2009, a position he had held since September 2008.

He went on to reclaim the party leadership and serve as Australia's 29th Prime Minister from 2015 to 2018.

 

'DEEP DEPRESSION'

In his tell-all book, the former leader described how he had "slipped into a deep depression" in the months after that first defeat and as he defended his climate change stance, which included crossing the floor to vote in favour of then-PM Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme.

"I remained in a torment of indecision as to whether to stay in parliament … and without realising it, I slipped into a deeper ­depression," Mr Turnbull writes, according to The Australian.

"I'd never given thought to my mental health before - mental health was something others had to worry about," he writes.

Malcolm Turnbull, pictured with wife Lucy, said few realised the extent of his mental health struggles. Picture: John Feder/The Australian
Malcolm Turnbull, pictured with wife Lucy, said few realised the extent of his mental health struggles. Picture: John Feder/The Australian

"And while I'd had periods of real gloom, especially after the defeat of the republic referendum, what I felt enveloping me now was much more serious.

"For the first time in my life, suicidal thoughts started to enter my mind, unbidden and unwanted."

Mr Turnbull reveals he was eventually prescribed antidepressants and he ended up announcing he would not recontest the 2010 election.

Then, during a trip to Turkey, he reached his "darkest" point when "thoughts of self-destruction (were) the most intense".

He described feeling like and "utter failure" and experiencing "excruciating pain and ­humiliation".

 

SCOMO SLAMMED

Mr Turnbull also delivered a brutal assessment of his Liberal Party colleagues, writing that Scott Morrison did not deserve to win last year's federal election.

"He's a professional politician who understands marketing and messaging better than most," the memoir reads, according to The Australian.

"His cringe-worthy 'daggy dad' persona is more exaggerated than it is conflated, but in net terms it probably helped.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims Scott Morrison didn’t deserve to win the 2019 election.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims Scott Morrison didn’t deserve to win the 2019 election.

"All that aside, however, the truth is that Labor lost the election that the Coalition, after the August coup, did not deserve to win."

He also claims Mr Morrison's colleagues, including Mathias Cormann and Peter Dutton, once described the PM as an untrustworthy "Machiavellian plotter",

The publication claims Mr Turnbull also labelled Mr Dutton "self-delusional" and a "narcissist".

Originally published as Turnbull considered suicide after loss

 


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