Theory that former PM begging for the boot


MALCOLM Turnbull is purposely trying to get kicked out of the Liberal Party and wear it as a badge of honour, think many of his former colleagues.

But while they would be happy to see the back of the former PM, they don't want to give him the satisfaction.

MP's online sledge against 'pathetic' Turnbull

They believe he should resign his membership if he wants to leave, and kicking him out would just feed into his "martyr" complex.

Obviously, it would be an issue for NSW party officials but MPs from across the board say party members regularly raise booting him out.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy. Picture: John Feder
Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy. Picture: John Feder

Turnbull's niggling, demands and "rewriting of history" has exasperated many in the Coalition, however, it is the tone of his book and upcoming speech to the National Press Club on April 23 that could test those with cooler heads.

Speculation is swirling about what type of information will be contained in the book, including the private lives of politicians.

Most of the speculation centres around rumours that Turnbull is planning to write about the personal indiscretions of some of his former ministers/backbench, and that the publisher asked Turnbull to underwrite the insurance costs in the case of legal action.

When The Courier-Mail asked publisher Hardie Grant if that was the case, a spokeswoman said, "both these statements are incorrect".

Regardless, a number of politicians believe legal action is inevitable, with some asking how Turnbull could put pen to paper on some of these issues without risking defamation suits.

Turnbull could claim to legitimately write about some of these circumstances. His office at the time did call in some staff of ministers to tell them their boss's behaviour had been noticed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a selfie with site foreman Matthew Nader.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a selfie with site foreman Matthew Nader.

These meetings would have been diarised and notes would have been taken - and no doubt Turnbull would still have access to some of these records.

If and how Turnbull decides to use this information, many believe that he will ignore the "notorious behaviour" of those who supported him during his time as prime minister and during the leadership spill. And some of those issues are quite explosive.

However, the truth is Turnbull's office was not only aware of some issues but actively tried to keep them out of the media to protect the then government from any embarrassment. Any moralising would be a bit rich.

But apart from the looming publication, others with no skeletons in their closet are getting irritated by Turnbull's policy interventions, drawing family members of politicians into his publicity seeking and what they view as his sense of entitlement.

It is true Turnbull requested an invitation to hear Indonesian President Joko Widido's recent historic address to parliament.

Scott Morrison obliged, given the former PM and Widido had a good working relationship. But while he was in Parliament House, many in the Government believe Turnbull threw the goodwill back in Morrison's face by attacking the party's stance on coal and climate change.

Said one MP on the condition of anonymity: "Many in this place believe that he is constantly doing things and saying things to get expelled.

"Certainly a lot of rank believe he should be expelled and that's from all over the place - NSW, Queensland, Victoria, everywhere.

"However my take is that if that happens he will try to act like a martyr and develop a faux Malcolm Fraser, 'the voice of the conscience' persona where he waxes lyrical in the media about every measure current and future conservative governments take.

"Fraser was genuine about his concerns on a range of social issues.

"Turnbull is … wringing his hands against us but it looks like bitterness and sour grapes."

The MP claimed, "There are many local branches all over the nation that have moved motions calling for his expulsion".

Another about his impending memoir said, "I think his book will do the trick of Malcolm totally isolating himself.

"It will not be Menzies' The Forgotten People.

"Most are expecting a rancorous polemic from an angry old man rubbishing the dignity he was once held in."

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