Sunday 20 September 2015

"Aspirational" Turnbull has a ready answer to politics-as-usual

Today's reshuffle received a surprising level of support in my Twitter feed despite the fact that most of the people I follow are either journalists or progressives. Then again, as someone told me on Friday, Twitter is hardly representative of the broader Australian population, being a bit more intellectual than is the norm. But I was rather focused by what I read there and by what I heard on the TV, which is often on in the background at my place.

After running through the appointments (which you can read here in detail if you are inclined) the time for questions arose but when it came to push and shove Turnbull elected to avoid your routine politicking in favour of a bit of motivational speaking. He's waxed lyrical about the prospects for modern Australia before, of course, but the phenomenon has not yet been widely remarked upon. I think it's time to say what a lot of people have only suggested. Just to recap what I've noticed on social media, those on the right tend to label Turnbull as a closet ALPer and those on the left tend to either write him off as a toff or else they follow Bill Shorten's line, which is to paint him as just as compromised as the man he replaced.

What Turnbull said - and I have to admit I didn't record the last bit of his press conference this afternoon, and will look forward to reading a transcript if one appears - is that it's a great time to be an Australian. The country has to stay agile if it is to remain successful, he went on. Australia must look to the future for its guidance. Nothing about factions, or leaks, or the anxiety that some choose to warn will mark the fate of governments that depose sitting prime ministers.

Looking at the ministry just briefly you'd have to say that Turnbull is looking to bring some of that aspirational thinking into his government's conduct on a day-to-day basis. Appointing Christopher Pyne to his new ministry is a move that reflects Turnbull's values, and that also ensures that a politician capable of solid public performances is not wasted. There have been casualties, of course, but they are not numerous. Far more interesting are the positive moves, such as appointing Pyne minister for industry, innovation and science. Then there are the women, which I will leave for others to comment on.

For the moment I'll stay with Turnbull and his positive message for Australia, which is something that many on the left will respond well to despite hating the PM keeping Dutton in immigration and border protection. Some things can reasonably be kept unchanged, especially when we're talking about a conservative government. I think Turnbull has done a lot more good work in the past few days than many would have ever suspected was possible.

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