Turnbull would win if leader, says Windsor


blog From the department of wishful thinking comes these comments from Independent MP Tony Windsor this week with respect to the leadership of the Liberal Party. According to Windsor, if Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull were to contest the upcoming September Federal Election as Leader of the Opposition, the Coalition would be a shoe-in for victory. The Courier Mail reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

Mr Windsor says Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott are both unpopular and that “I think each of them have kept the other one in the game”. “If Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the opposition, for instance, I think it would be all over, red rover,” he told the ABC.

Polling over the past year has consistently suggested that Windsor’s right: The Australian population supports the Earl of Wentworth (and Kevin Rudd, for that matter) as preferred Prime Minister above Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard, and anecdotally, this writer has been present on many occasions where random members of the public have gone out of their way to inform Turnbull they would vote for the Coalition if he was leading it again.

Many in Australia’s technology sector have long suspected that the Coalition would have a radically different broadband policy if Turnbull were to regain the Liberal leadership, shifting much closer to Labor’s current NBN vision. Coupled with Turnbull’s opposition to the Gillard Government’s highly unpopular data retention and surveillance policy, this could make a Turnbull-led Coalition very attractive to the technology industry indeed, having the potential to reverse the Coalition’s political fortunes in the communications portfolio. Certainly many of us live in horror of Tony “I’m no Bill Gates” Abbott having control over the nation’s technology-related policy for the next three years.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. I think Mr Windsor is spot on however after MT’s long running bouts of hypocrisy I’d still have trouble voting LNP unless he made some massive changes to the LNP front bench, the LNP’s NBN Policy, the LNP’s obsession with lying about everything and so on…..

    • Ditto. The last couple of years of politics have opened my eyes to what a complete pack of wankers Australia’s MPs are. I’d have to say I’d have to vote Labor unless the Libs get a new front bench. I know it’s a choice betwee a Douche and a Turd Sandwich, but at least a Douche is only full of water.

      • The thing I keep thinking about when I ponder an Abbott led government is “I don’t claim to be any kind of tech head Kerry”.

        I don’t expect him to get a degree in electrical engineering or anything, but as a Prime Minister I do expect at least a Wikipedia article level of knowledge about the various portfolios under him…

        Malcolm has proven to be pretty knowledgeable across several fields, and I feel if he wasn’t being “nerfed” by Tony’s wacky mandates, he’d actually make a pretty good Prime Minister…

        The key would be would they pick up more centrist/left votes than the wacky right ones they’d loose from the shift?

        it seems to me that if the LNP continue to go the Republican route, they’ll dig themselves into the same hole they have.

  2. Earl of Wentworth as leader? That ship has long since sailed. I don’t think Malcolm really wants the poisoned chalice back. And the LNP won’t want any signs of a coup leading up to election.

    • @Brendan: You mean the MSM doesn’t *want* to show that there’s any signs of a mutiny. A day after election anouncement and you have various pundits and experts once again theorising the “rise of Rudd” for a challenge.

      As much as I like Rudd that ship has unfortunately sailed as well but don’t let that stop a good juicy leadership challenge conspiracy!

      • “As much as I like Rudd that ship has unfortunately sailed as well”


        What has happened that makes them becoming leader again a “ship that has sailed” just because there were two other people that were more ambitious at the time?

        People that arguably aren’t as good/popular as the people they replaced?

        Shouldn’t we try and get the best people in the top job??

  3. According to the ‘party faithful’ MT is too “left” to lead the party

    What a joke. If they lose the 2013 election, it will be because of two things, and two things only

    1. Tony Abbott
    2. Broadband policy

    • Perhaps it is their fundamentalist conservatism that is the problem. The reason they choose Abbott is because he champions the right, but it is the ideology of the right that is losing ground in Australia and other places around the world, as ordinary people have become more connected and able to discuss politics and policies, and what is realistic and works versus what is idealistic and nothing more.

      If only Australians could vote for policies rather than politicians, in a pick and choose manner.
      Delegative democracy. Conroy can represent me on what the NBN should look like. Turnbull can represent me on whether there should be an internet filter.
      *sigh* It’ll never happen.

  4. I agree with TW.
    He’d pull plenty of Labour votes their way.. enough to smash the marginal and disfranchised Julia Haters.

  5. Despite his idiocy regarding the NBN Turnbull would make a better leader than Abbott, the big problem however is the coalition want you to take Abbott and like him. Think about it, if they stubbornly keep Abbott as leader and win then it simply paves the way for even more conservative coaltion governments in the future. Turnbull as leader and a win would totally screw that up. They know they have a tough sell with Abbott as has he has no redeeming features. This explains why they are trying to manufacture as much negativity and drama about everything to make Abbott look better. The hypocrisy that results from all of this is simply irrelevant. Once they get in it’ll be too late. Voters are lobsters.

  6. I would consider Turnbull.
    I would never consider Abbott.
    Even better, Turnbull leading the labor party with the NBN. That would be a win/win.

  7. I would never vote for Abbott.
    I might vote for Turnbull.
    I would never vote for Gillard.
    I might vote for Rudd.

    I suspect I will be voting for one of the minor parties.

    • Unfortunately as much as I would normally agree I’m willing to bite the bullet so to speak and vote for Julia because they still have one of the best infrastructure policies to come in a long time – the NBN

      I *want* the NBN to become a reality if I have to vote for the lesser of two evils than so be it. And just to clarify I have nothing to loose even if LNP gets in. My area is in the 3 year plan and they’ve just started construction midway last month. Its coming in my area…. which is the main sticking point I want to be able to go or move *anywhere* and still get the same service at home. Not having to cherry pick areas because their Net capacity would be inferior!

    • Like it or not, unless you live in one of the independent seats…you will ultimamely have to preference LNP or Labor (or vote informal).

      So in way you still have to choose Gillard or Abbott.

        • Ultiamtely a LNP or Labor candidate will win your seat.

          You have to number ALL the boxes.

          One will have to come before the other…

          • That’s what I thought, as a resident of Denison, which was a safe Labor seat for 25 years (until 2010). Andrew Wilkie surprised us all, including Antony Green!

          • I always do my own numbering for preferences, they never ever have them the way I want and I’m horrified by the thought my vote counted towards some extremist right/left nutbag.

      • Every independent/minor party had to win their seat of an incumbent at some point.

        Also parties that win seats only on preferences tend not to wave around their “mandate from the voters” to do whatever they want. “Voters thought we were the second worth option” does not have the same ring to it.

        Finally in the senate votes for independents/minor parties do often lead to election of senators outside the main parties.

    • Thats pretty much my way of thinking.

      I will probably go Green, cause
      1 – They support the NBN
      2 – There preferences go to Labor before LNP

      Altho in reality, I will pick my own preferences :-)

      Oh and to those who make the comment that it would be a wasted vote you need to look at how our system works. If enough of a minor party gets in, they are no longer a minor party ;-)

  8. Turnbull had his chance as opposition leader, and probably would have one the last election. Instead he got impatient and tried to oust Rudd with the fake email in the “utegate” affair.

  9. Typical Windsor pot stirring. Abbott looks set to win in any case. Turnbull has stated time and again he has no interest in the leadership. Put it all down to Windsor’s continued hatred of Abbott and the Coalition.

    • “Put it all down to Windsor’s continued hatred of Abbott and the Coalition.”

      You say that like it’s a bad thing. Abbott has yet to show a reason for anyone to actually like him. Windsor is just one of many who are capable of recognising a turd for what it is and it certainly doesn’t take a genius to recognise those glaring flaws with the coalition and Abbott.

    • Abbott looks set to win, but let’s hope that’s in the same way that he looked set to win 2 weeks out from the 2010 election… and in the same way that Hewson, Beazley and Latham looked set to win their respective elections in the last 20 years.

    • I’m pretty sure Turnbull has only said that because he’s seen what Rudd’s challenge of the leadership has done to Labor’s image, but secretly does think he could do a much better job.

    • It’s pretty clear that Windsor’s hatred is pretty much focused on Abbott himself. He has said a number of times that if Turnbull was leading during the negotiations in 2010 he would have likely supported the Coalition. Personally I think regarding Abbott, he’s a pretty good judge of character.

      • Not sure whether that’s the case.

        From media reports, Windsor seems to be increasingly sounding like a small and bitter person who hates the Coalition, not just Abbott, because the Coalition did not endorse Windsor when he sought preselection from them years ago.

        It may not only be the Labor Party who are innocently (?) stirring away by talking up a leadership challenge from the notably vain Earl!

    • Turnbull saying that he isn’t interested in leadership doesn’t mean that Windsor is making a bad point.

      Firstly, you would have to accept that Turnbull means what he says. That would be naive. Not only is Turnbull a serial liar, but it is also extremely typical for politicians to deny leadership ambitions whilst actually harbouring those ambitions.

      Secondly, even if he really wasn’t interested, it doesn’t change the fact that he is a much more popular choice of leader. Just because it is unlikely that he will become leader doesn’t make Windsor’s comments any less worthy of discussion. The situation we have is that the Coalition will win despite Abbott, and not because of him; while a more popular and arguably capable alternative is available – it is not pot stirring to talk about this.

      • Anyway, the more likely scenario would be the party approach him and ask him to lead if the numbers look like sliding.

        It’ll all hinge of how/what Labor do about the Obeid thing, and the factions in NSW, though.

        If Labor get desperate and bring Kevin back, Rudd was in favour of cleaning Labor up, so if they do bring him back, I expect it will be at the expense of some factional “faceless men”. It’d be a double win for Labor, a popular leader and the party cleaning house.

        That would almost certainly mean the LNP would then need to turn to Malcolm, Tony is just too on the nose to go up against Kevin. Joe is another possibility, but I think he’d be seen as too green as a leader.

        • IMO Joe is definitely not cut from a suitable cloth for the role.
          He is even more obsessed with Politics and Power than TA, I am struggling to find much in the way of redeeming features of any note. In fact I agree with some of the earlier posters, both parties need a good detox program

    • “Abbott looks set to win in any case.”

      Isn’t that what they were saying about Mitt? Their plenty of time for him to put his foot in his mouth yet ;)

      • The Pauline Hansen frame up and his and the gang of four’s role is simmering quietly in the background. The implications of their actions is not commensurate with leadership of a decent Nation

  10. I suspect that Abbott may have a few loose cogs floating about, a few years ago I saw him interviewed outside Parliament House and becoming very agitated and stand overish whilst remaining silent and not answering questions the interview was quite bizarre and suggested to me all wasn’t well inside the Abbott skull.
    Also the sudden relapses into doing unannounced Iron man events and bicycle rides and disappearing from public view for periods suggests to me something’s wrong, but the real issues about his marbles are never nailed down he’s adept at sudden disappearances.
    Why does a guy put all that effort into scholarship over 10 years at universities with law and economic degrees have no career or even an aspiration for one and then become Howards gofor, then enter parliament, he’s really no different to any of Labor’s union hacks in that regard at least Turnbull’s had a few real jobs.

  11. Abbott also hangs with a few really creepy people like Pyne and Mirabella, has his old school buddy Hockey to look after him when things are slipping.
    Tells us a few weeks before Slippers exit stage left, what great friends they are, went to the wedding and how much he trusts him (when journo’s are suggesting something’s fishy).

  12. I wish Windsor was the Polly for my Electorate. He’s balanced and representative of his Electorate. Better still, he has in his role widened his representation to as many people as he can in his actions and decisions. Compared to the woeful standard of Party Politics, he and to a lesser degree, but learning fast, Rob Oakshott, are a wonderful standard for modern politics to aim for. I know not everyone will agree, but that is what makes this Country wonderful. Because though we all have a different point of view, we are still tolerant of each other and haven’t yet resorted to the nasty character assassinations via the abuse of the legal systems to destroy each other en masse. Let’s leave that to the less desirable amongst us and make sure they don’t rise up to do it to us all. Happy Democracy everyone, no matter who you vote for. Just don’t proxy your vote for someone else to choose for you. Vote below the line.

  13. Don’t fall for the personality content, people.

    Vote for the NBN, pure and simple. The rest is reality-TV static. So long as we get the infrastructure, who cares what face is on the posters?

  14. If Turnbull was leading he would definitely get my vote. I refuse to vote for religious nutters like Abbott however distasteful I find Juliar.

    The ideal situation is for both leaders to be thrown out and replaced with Rudd and Turnbull.

    • I would call that the improved situation, but not the ideal situation. I feel that Rudd and Turnbull have both been ultimately ineffective and it’s time for some entirely new blood.

    • That Juliar line is utter BS.

      Politicians *should* be able to change their mind, I don’t GaS if *you* don’t like what they changed their mind to… but mindlessly sticking to one plan/idea and never changing your mind despite the fact that the real world situation changes is dangerous and just damned stupid.

      • Well, she actually didn’t change her mind. It is a matter of selective quoting by Abbott and his media masters. What Julia said was that there would be no carbon tax under her government but she wouldn’t rule out a price on carbon. What we have is a carbon trading scheme, it is Abbott who keeps calling it a tax. Didn’t know that? I am not surprised, the MSM is so biased.

  15. Well the term isn’t used in the linked article – I think you mean “shoo-in”, Renai. And yes, I think Mr Windsor is correct. But Turnbull himself seems to be making every effort to turn that positive opinion around, by reinventing himself as just another lying politician.

  16. People still have a bee-in-their bonnet about Julia, eh? Yes, she’s a lawyer more than an orator (although when she decides to ‘wing it’ can speak rather well) but at least her government has managed to get things done.

    I’m not a fan of the immigration policy, of either side, but when you look at where the two respective parties are, on a policy standpoint? LNP need to pick up the game.

    I believe they’ve swallowed the MSM’s call that they’re rightful leaders and are a shoe-in next election. It’s lead to complacency. The lack of action over 6 years will mean there’s virtually no active policy the can draw on. The same sort of pundets said Obama was screwed in the US, too. They nail it there, right?

    I think most people would prefer Turnbull as the Opposition Leader, going into the next election. It’d re-energise both sides of the house.

    • “I believe they’ve swallowed the MSM’s call that they’re rightful leaders and are a shoo-in next election.”


      In fact I think the biggest problem for Tony will be poppies in the way of his tallness…he acts too much like he was born to rule.

  17. He’s correct, Malcolm even with his recent failures in veracity is infinitely preferable over Abbott to the huge majority (and so say the polls) but then neither party shows any propensity to listen to what the public wants. They’re both driven by internal power struggles and ideologies unrelated to real world evidence.

    Main stream media is part of the problem so until they’re completely side-lined in a few more years it’ll be more of the same. But change is inevitable.

  18. I do look forward to competition in Australia’s media, The Oz Guardian , even just online if the public would read it would ruffle some feathers

  19. Putting aside are polls self fulfilling…… according to Crikey Sept last year Newspoll still only poll on landline.

Comments are closed.