Wentworth – along with Sydney and Grayndler – has one of the highest gay populations in Australia. It’s even gayer on the new boundaries. Indeed, there’s been some interesting conspiracy theorising amongst electoral wonks on just why the boundary between Wentworth and Sydney has ended up running where it does along Oxford Street in the very heart of the gay golden mile.

Wentworth also has one of Australia’s more ambitious pols as its MP and is very, very marginal – so there should be no surprise that Malcolm Turnbull came out (so to speak) last week and joined the battle to end legal discrimination against same s-x couples and force a review of their entitlements to Medicare, superannuation and welfare.

Turnbull and much of the gay community is actually a pretty good fit. There’s a certain fabulousness factor about Turnbull. He’s not a bad looking bloke – and (a big concession for a Bulgari guy like me) comes over very dapper in those Hermes ties.

Turnbull is also an achiever. He’s independent. As are many in the gay community. That’s an appealing mix to skilled and educated gays with professional and business careers in inner-Sydney areas that are now part of Wentworth.

Many of these people would like to vote Liberal – but have been held back by its social conservatism. But Turnbull’s announcement may also be a good sign for his party.

Petro Georgiou talked about reclaiming liberalism in the Liberal Party last week. It was all too much for Greg Barns. He’s given up on the idea of the broad church. The dissenters in the pews should seek a new home, he said.

That’s not the Greg Barns I used to know. Five years ago we were chatting at a do at Macquarie Street for Liberal and National supporters of an Australian head of state. “I don’t know how you stay in the party,” I said. “Because it p*sses the b*stards off,” Barns replied. And he was right. I – long lapsed – was the wimp.

Now, though, he’s taking an odd approach. If squatters occupy your property, you kick them out – not hand over the title deeds and move elsewhere.

Everybody’s guilty of self interest when it comes to politics – voters and pollies alike. Turnbull, along with that most unlikely Coalition warrior for gay rights, Warren Entsch, are inviting new and different people into the Liberal congregation.

Peter Fray

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