As defectors, disloyalty and confusion swirled around him last night, Malcolm Turnbull fronted the media in Parliament House. The widespread expectation among the hacks was that he would announce his resignation as Liberal leader.

Instead, he did the opposite. Instead of quitting, Turnbull passionately and articulately argued the case for why a Liberal Party without a prescriptive climate change policy was a Liberal Party without a chance of being elected. What we saw last night was the same person who unsuccessfully campaigned to make Australia a republic in the late nineties. What we saw last night was a conviction politician.

While a swathe of middle-aged men (and Bronwyn Bishop) disrespectfully disagree with him, the fact is that when it comes to the seminal issues, Malcolm Turnbull is prepared to place conviction ahead of political pragmatism.

If — or probably when — he is unseated as leader, Malcolm Turnbull will fail in his ambitions but still retain his convictions. Which is more than can be said for almost any other contemporary political leader.

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