Can Malcolm Turnbull defy the Curse of Wentworth? It’s a blue ribbon Liberal seat, but the last member who had anything like a successful career was Bob Ellicott, Malcolm Fraser’s first attorney-general, who retired back in 1981.

Peter Coleman had had enough bad luck before he became the member. John Hewson’s career ended nastily. Andrew Thomson was deselected. Ditto Peter King.

Now, Malcolm Turnbull is dealing with a results of redistribution that has slashed his margin down to 2.5%, a campaign against him by former Liberal Party president John Valder – and ads placed by prime ministerial mate Geoff Cousins bagging the Environment Minister for approving the Gunn’s pulp mill in northern Tasmania.

Crikey understands that the ads, set to run in the next edition of the local Wentworth Courier , go something like this:

Will Malcolm Turnbull insist that a proper public hearing be implemented before he decides on the building of one of the world’s largest pulp mills in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley? Before he approves of fast-tracking, without due process, a pulp mill in one of the most beautiful wine growing areas in Australia?

Pulp mills are famous polluters of air and water. But not this one according to the Tasmanian Government. Is that why it closed down the public hearing process — after the pulp mill company, Gunns, complained? Or was a deal done behind closed doors?

The Federal Minister can insist on all voices being heard.

But will he? So many questions, so far no answers.

Please join all the following citizens who urge the Minister for the Environment to allow a full and just public hearing. Email, text or phone.

Crikey also understands that a lot of letters like this are about to land in Malcolm’s mail:

Given the increasing national and international concern about the
proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill and the growing crisis of public
confidence in the Tasmanian government’s handling of this proposal, we ask you to consider submitting Gunns proposal to a new, full and rigorous process of assessment overseen by the Federal Government.

In determining whether the project goes ahead or not, this assessment should properly investigate the mill’s impact on Tasmania’s globally renowned native forests, assess its potential destruction of northern Tasmanian marine life and fisheries, determine its full consequences for Tasmania’s economic development, clarify the impact of its
massive greenhouse gas emission, and calculate the effects of the
mill’s toxic dioxins on the people of north Tasmania.

We wish to see Tasmania prosper, but prosperity is never the issue of a compromised polity, a fractured society, and a devastated natural world. Such can only deliver despair and backwardness. The way forward is through sober and measured judgement that is both independent of, and seen to be independent of, any corporate desire or imperative.

We look to you to rescue Tasmania from the blight that this proposal has become and remind Australians that good governance is ever looking to the future of all and not the self-interest of the most powerful.

Turnbull’s tanty yesterday shows he’s feeling the stress – but is there more to Malcolm’s moue?

Cousins’ mightn’t be the innocent “Hullo sky, hullo flowers” bushwalking nature lover he’s portrayed as. The Gunn’s mill is going into the Tamar Valley, wine and tourism territory. There are some dark mutterings that Cousin’s concerns are commercial.

But Malcolm’s margin isn’t that good, either, as these maps over at our election site show. The potential future Liberal leader is vulnerable.

Peter King ran as an independent back in 2004. That distorted the vote and lowered Turnbull’s tally.

Labor polling cited by Michelle Grattan on Monday had Turnbull on 47%, Labor candidate George Newhouse on 42 and the Greens on 11.

William Bowe, the Poll Bludger, has crunched the numbers.

“On those figures, Newhouse would still win the seat if he received 73 per cent of Greens preferences,” he says. “Labor was shown to have received 74.8 per cent of Greens preferences at the 2001 election in a study by the Parliamentary Library.”

Crikey still believes that Turnbull has the fabulousness factor that will help him in the land of the spray on tan, but his seat looks tight.

The Curse of Wentworth could claim yet another victim – and the federation seat could get its first ever Labor MP.