'Held At Gunpoint': Alex Turnbull Dishes On 'Weird' Liberal Party Politics
Malcolm Turnbull's son Alex has called out the Liberal Party's 'frustrating' policy priorities, further backing in the Labor candidate in the by-election for his dad's former seat of Wentworth.
Alex, a Singapore-based banker, has become the unlikely breakout star of the Wentworth race thanks to startling social media interventions in support of Labor's Tim Murray.
The 36-year-old ramped up activity on Twitter in August in the dying days of his father's Prime Ministership, and set tongues wagging when he tweeted the day after Malcolm was ousted from the top job:
"It’s a bit quirky," he told ten daily, adding "it’s a bit weird" how well it’s taken off.
"It’s somewhat surprising people are this interested. I think a lot of people are middle of the road have these kind of views on some of these issues."
"I just wanted to come back on and debunk some of the blatant misinformation about energy and climate, more than anything else."
He criticised the "weird" policy stance of the Liberal right-wing, saying more moderate elements had been "held at gunpoint", and that he had little faith the current makeup of the party could or would ever properly act on climate or renewable energy.
This past weekend, he called out conservative Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
"There are so many areas which are essentially off limits for the Liberal Party because it’s all too hard for culture war related reasons," he said.
"Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard to make progress with the Liberal Party as it currently sits."
The younger Turnbull has been an energetic tweeter since his father's ousting, sharing posts about energy reform and the need for action on climate.
But most of the interest has centred on his criticisms of the Liberal Party and tacit support for more progressive policies.
Just a week after his dad left The Lodge, Alex said donating in Wentworth was the "best bang for the buck", linking to the Labor candidate's donation page.
Last week he went further by specifically calling out the Liberals as having been "taken over by extremists on the hard right".
In a tweet now pinned to the top of his timeline, Alex Turnbull told one told one social media user that " blind unthinking faith" to a political party made people "a useful idiot footsoldier for the vested interests that run the place".
Conservative columnists and newspapers have criticised his actions, with at least one in the Australian Financial Review going so far as far as to claim he was "vandalising dad’s legacy".
Alex said he was amused by the reactions to his recent social media return.
Action on climate has been raised as a major factor in the demise of Malcolm Turnbull, who made several sudden changes to signature energy and emissions policy in the days before he was ousted in a party room vote.
Climate policy has been a constant nagging factor in the Liberal ranks. The schism has widened between moderate MPs who want to see moves toward renewable energy and more certainty for the energy sector, and a conservative element who oppose change and want more support for coal and fossil fuels.
"There's a good chunk of the party that feels they're not doing enough, that this is crazy, that they've been held at gunpoint effectively by another section of the party and are not happy with it," he claimed.
READ MORE: Alas Poor Malcolm, We Didn't Know Him Well
Alex said he was proud of the action his father had taken but that it was "frustrating" to see this issue still not resolved, hinting other factors were at play for those opposing climate action.
"It’s turned into this extended culture war, for reasons I cannot possibly determine, aside from possibly rent-seeking from industry groups or vested interests, or some people in the media who think it’s a form of entertainment, but these are quite serious issues."
"It’s not a joke."
"It’s a weird hill for the Liberal Party to die on, when they don't seem to have a lot of supporters outside certain media organisations and the Minerals Council of Australia, and it’s a pretty short list thereafter."
And as for voicing support for Labor's Tim Murray, Alex said it wasn't a wider sign of his political allegiance -- but simply a matter of choice in the particular Wentworth race.
"I hold a very high opinion of Tim and he’s a very unconventional labor choice. I’m not about to join the Labor Party, that’s the long and short of it," he said.