Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Kym Smith
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Kym Smith

Worst or not, only Turnbull was dumped twice

Reasonable people can debate whether Malcolm Turnbull was Australia's worst-ever prime minister, second worst - just - to Kevin Rudd, or indeed whether it is impossible to separate them in their sheer shared awfulness and so they will forever share the accolade.

But on one thing there can be absolutely no argument; on this Turnbull stands alone and on this, I confidently predict, he will never ever even be equalled far less, so to speak, toppled by some future inept Australian political leader. As there certainly will be, I might add.

Turnbull is the only leader of a major Australian political party who has been dumped by a vote of his own colleagues twice. The first time was as Opposition leader in 2009, the second as PM in 2018.

Even Rudd was only dumped by his own party room once, as PM in 2010; in 2013 it was the voters who showed him the door.

Normally, either "the colleagues" or the failure, or indeed both together get the "hint" after the first dumping so there is usually no opportunity for a second dumping. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Kym Smith
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Kym Smith

Interestingly, the two great exceptions to this are Australia's two best and also two longest-serving PMs: John Howard, and his political and ideological mentor, Robert Menzies.

Both came back from their first dumping to their great successes, although Menzies had to invent a new party to lead and to do so.

It's probably impossible and pointless anyway to try to resolve the Rudd-Turnbull question - especially as they seem to want to unify their awfulness in miserable ghostdom.

On that Turnbull does have the edge. He is unquestionably the superior miserable ghost as he takes every opportunity to undermine and impede both his successor and the party that was blind and stupid enough to embrace him.

 

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terry.mccrann@news.com.au

Originally published as Worst or not, only Turnbull was dumped twice


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