Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
By Andrew Bolt ~
Here in Australia, the Labor Party had more sense than the Liberal Party did. It rejected Malcolm Turnbull offer to join, saying he was too much of a Liberal.
He then became Prime Minister of a Liberal Government despite being too Labor.
Malcolm Turnbull wanted to become Kim Beazley’s shadow finance minister during the second term of the Howard Government.
The Sunday Telegraph has confirmed Mr Turnbull approached at least six senior ALP figures, including former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, actively seeking their endorsement to join the ALP at the time of the republic referendum.
Speaking for the first time on the issue, Mr Hawke said Mr Turnbull approached him on November 6, 1999, at Sydney’s Marriott Hotel following the referendum’s defeat.
Mr Hawke said yesterday he remembered the conversation clearly. Mr Turnbull told him: “Bob, the only thing I can do now is join the Labor Party.”
Mr Hawke said he replied by telling Mr Turnbull “he could be accommodated” and that “the Labor Party was a broad church”.
The former senior ALP staffer David Britton, who founded the Labor lobbying firm HawkerBritton, said Mr Turnbull told him at the time of the referendum he was “deeply p….. off with Howard” – and that he had a “very different social agenda” to the then prime minister.
Mr Turnbull told Mr Britton: “Don’t you think Kim Beazley would like somebody like me as his finance spokesman?”…
Mr Beazley, the Opposition leader in 1999, confirmed yesterday he had a conversation with Mr Turnbull a year earlier at the Constitutional Convention.
Mr Beazley, who has previously made some details of the conversation public, said that Mr Turnbull used the conversation to explore his options of getting into politics through the Labor party. Mr Beazley said he rebuffed him, telling him he “was basically a Lib” and he should join the Liberal Party if he wanted to enter Federal Parliament.
The current Labor Party will be delighted by how it all worked out.