Love him or hate him, you’ve got to admit that Malcolm Turnbull is one of the most qualified people in the parliament – journalist, lawyer, banker, business person…

And some of the people lining up to give him stick over the Tasmanian pulp mill?

Well, we should all consider ourselves lucky that we don’t live in the US of A.

Remember how Ben Affleck turned out to back John Kerry? Somehow, making Gigli didn’t convince voters electors that he had the right credentials to tell them how to vote.

Sure, many of the people who have funded the advertisement against Turnbull in the local Wentworth Courier are accomplished.

But while Kylie Kwong can cook, does she understand all the ingredients that have to be weighed in political decision making?

At least the signatories to the Wentworth Courier ad are doing it for a cause.

When celebrities lend their name to support contenders for high office in the US, there’s always the suspicion that they’re doing it for the invitations that might come their way if their candidate is elected. Call it mutual starf-cking.

Anyone’s entitled to make a comment on public affairs. Some comments, however, are going to be more worthwhile than others. This isn’t just determined by who makes the comments. It’s also determined by the resonance they have with ordinary voters.

In the US, the cult of political celebrity has also become the cult of political failure.

Hollywood might have overwhelmingly endorsed Kerry, but as the 2004 presidential election proved, the rest of the country overwhelmed Hollywood.

The great and the good should remember that having a big ego doesn’t necessarily mean you can make a big contribution to public life.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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