“Malcolm Turnbull’s getting cracky,” declared Laurie Oakes on Channel Nine last night. At the media, at least.

Two-sentence-long questions were dismissed as an “address” by Turnbull on the trail yesterday. One ABC reporter, who asked him about a republic, was sneeringly referenced in the response, regarding people who “don’t have secure jobs with a government agency”. An entirely fair Q from Tony Jones last week was met with accusations of doing Labor’s bidding in his arrogant A.

Perhaps Turnbull believed the honeymoon he enjoyed on ascending to the leadership could last forever. Perhaps he thought journalists, many no doubt enjoying the fact this election campaign is being fought largely in the ideological middle, wouldn’t apply any scrutiny to the gymnastics he’s been forced into on past positions to keep his party in line.

Perhaps, like a certain political candidate across the Pacific, Turnbull has decided he can simply beat up the press when things aren’t going well. Dismissing questions he doesn’t like. Punishing journalists who challenge him.

For a man who will almost certainly lead the nation for another three years, the temperament is worrying.

Peter Fray

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