Feb 7, 2018

Rundle: Turnbull is the most contemptible modern prime minister we’ve had

Everything Turnbull does now produces the sort of contempt one feels for someone living out an imaginary life on our time.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


There is a measure of the current relationship between politics, government and everyday life, and that is the rich varieties of contempt one now feels for our elected representatives. We’ve gone well beyond the stage of blanket "hate" for pollies we happen to dislike or disagree with. Virtually the entire crop of leading mainstream party politicians -- after the cresting of John Howard and the demise of the Beazley-Crean Laurel and Hardy act -- arouse in us rich and complex blends of pity, loathing, and disgust; each as distinct as the different notes and flavours in a variety of single malts.

Of our leaders of the last 15 years, only Julia Gillard escapes such judgement, due to her basic competence, rationality and having some consistent beliefs; ironic, in that she had to suffer the worst barrage of simple hatred while in office. What a goddamn golden age.

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78 thoughts on “Rundle: Turnbull is the most contemptible modern prime minister we’ve had

  1. Itsarort

    You watched that whole interview on Insiders? Well good on you, Rundle. I couldn’t stomach the lies and the arrogance and had to walk away. I almost felt sorry for Turnbull; his true nature revealed.

  2. Saugoof

    “whatever job he’s employed in, he’s not up to it”. Best description of Joe Hockey ever.

  3. Janet Gardiner

    Congratulations, sir. You have beautifully articulated the nausea so many of us feel at the spectacle of this man tossing overboard, one by one, the values we (naively?) thought he held – and all for the tawdry prize of a few more months as PM. And as for that condescending smirk . . .
    Loved your bit about the open-necked white shirt – delicious.

  4. Awkward

    It’s been said elsewhere, his best moment, best, was the sycophant spotting. What else do you do when you come from comfort, can return to it; when you aggressively bought and sold some real estate then hit the jackpot with a dud dot-com company? And not produce as much as a single paper clip in the journey. Yet we hold him popular, an exemplar.

    It is nauseating.

  5. El Tel

    Yep, nailed it. Every one so totally true.

  6. Steve777

    I’m not so sure we’re at the end of a bum cycle. If the Coalition wins next time around, and they’ll have 90% of the money, 90% of the mainstream media and most of the ‘natural’ sources of power on their side doing their best to ensure that it does, it will get a lot bummier. Either Malcolm’s style of leadership will be seen to have been endorsed or he’ll be replaced by someone in his party far worse (I’m looking at you, Dutton).

    1. Steven Pecl

      Imagine if we end up with Dutton and those anti satire laws are passed. Dear God, talk about The Dystopia Down Under!?

  7. Reverend Owen

    Casual open neck shirt for the mid-shot, jackboots under the desk resting on the faces of the poor, unemployed and disenfranchised.

  8. Longfulan

    ‘a series of obsessive preoccupations serving as a substitute for a political philosophy’
    Nailed it! Narcissists.

  9. Jay Lawson

    I cannot think of any coalition politician that I will listen to on TV. I turn them off. There is something about contrived lies that puts me right off.

  10. Hunt Ian

    Here, here, Guy. Spot on. The man is unfailingly unprincipled. I was never disappointed, just appalled. He looks like a PM, with all that self-confidence, but acts like petty, rather nasty partisan, tapping into the worst parts of Australian life for a few votes. Despite the efforts of MSM , I think you are right: he will get to his 30 losing Newspolls and, I hope, go down at the next election. I always thought Billy McMahon would be hard to beat in the contemptible PM stakes, then thought Abbott might take it and, now, I have to accept your judgement.

    1. The Curmudgeon

      Hear, hear (almost). I never thought I would defend Billy McMahon, but while he was treacherous, a leaker, a gossip, inept and uninspiring, I never saw him as contemptible. He was not guilty of abandoning virtually everything he ever stood for. No, Turnbull has this wrapped up, daylight between him and the next candidate.

      1. MJM

        Yes I agree. Billy M was always the worst in my memory but he has been eclipsed by two in a row from his own side of politics.

        Turnbull is appalling – contemptibly so.

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