16 Aug 2017

Comparison Malcolm Turnbull and Alfred Deakin: Deakin always put the national interest before considerations of party politics or personal advantage. And he fiercely protected his independence. Turnbull is the exact opposite and will pay the price.

Based on exerpts from Judith Brett’s new book.

Alfred Deakin, he fiercely protected his independence. The party was always placed last behind what was good for the nation and his beliefs.

Alfred Deakin is often overlooked, he was a politician who put Nation before party. A rare or extinct bird these days.


His rejection of those he called “the obstructionists”, the conservatives and nay-sayers, who put their energies into blocking progressive policies rather than pursuing positive initiatives for the nation.


In June this year, Turnbull quoted these words of Menzies, in his struggle with the conservatives of the party. Clearly Turnbull wants to be a strong leader of a progressive party, rather than the front man for a shambolic do-nothing government.

However there was never any doubt about what Deakin would fight for his beliefs, whereas Malcolm just doesn't cut the mustard.


He does have some superficial resemblances to Deakin: he is super-smart, urbane, charming and a smooth talker who looks like a leader. But as we all now know, he lacks substance.
First, he could learn the courage of his convictions.

The second lesson Turnbull could have learnt is to have put the interests of the nation ahead of the interests of the party and the management of its internal differences.

Deakin always put his conception of the national interest before considerations of party politics or personal advantage. And he fiercely protected his independence.

A note from Judith Brett
When I first began thinking about this piece I was going to call it “What Malcolm Turnbull could learn from Alfred Deakin”. But I fear it may now too late for him to save his government, and might be more accurately called “What Malcolm Turnbull might have learned from Alfred Deakin”.

THE CQNVERSATION

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