Malcolm Turnbull

I’ve expressed my distaste for Malcolm Turnbull in the past, despite the fact that many here seem to like him – even considering him a fellow libertarian.  I’ve yet to see anything that would qualify him as such.  Maybe I was harsh – after all, the Environment portfolio is not exactly the best place to display your libertarian credentials.

Alas, as far as I can tell, he isn’t much better as Opposition Leader.  His latest call is for the government to guarantee individual bank deposits up to $100,000.  (Kevin07 wants to guarantee $20,000).  I’m no economist, but it seems to me, that when people are already dumping shares and other investments to convert to cash, that such a scheme would only hasten the exodus.  Am I missing something?

Why is it that so many of you like this guy?

64 thoughts on “Malcolm Turnbull

  1. A good question. I’m not sure why so many libertarians like Turnbull. Perhaps it relates to his views on gay rights and the fact that he isn’t John Howard because his economic positions thus far seem pretty ordinary to me.

    John Quiggin has been calling for government guarantees on deposits for some time. Ironically he thinks that Rudds guarantee is too low and creates a risk that people with more that $20k in the one bank will run the banks so they can diversify. I have yet to extract an admission that this might constitute some form of government failure.

    Personally I think the right guarantee is no guarantee. If a bank becomes insolvent let the administrators sort it out.

  2. I think Turnbull had some quite sensible views on tax and even expressed interest in John Humphrey’s 30-30 at one stage.

    From what I’ve seen on Turnbull he is highly in favour of cutting taxes. But he’s also in favour of increasing spending… Which makes me wonder if he is using imaginary numbers in his budget calculations…

    The optimist in me would say “all the opposition can do is promise to outspend government”. But I’ve never been optimistic about the intentions of politicians.

  3. The answer to why so many people like him is easy. He’s good looking and articulate. He’s got the populist thing down. He’s also rich.

    Personally I think the right guarantee is no guarantee. If a bank becomes insolvent let the administrators sort it out.

    Ideologically I like that idea. The problem with it is that there isn’t anywhere near enough reliable,accessible information (accessible to the average Jo(e), that is) which consumers can use to access the credit worthiness of deposit taking institutions.

    Personally, I’m a little disappointed that Turnbull got a run so soon. Despite my complete distain for Nelson while he was part of Government, in opposition he seemed to be behaving much more sensibly and actually doing a good job of calling the new Government on some of the stupid things they were (are) trying to do. He was never going to last for long – too much of an interest in actual policy, and almost zero charisma – but it would have been nice to continue waht I saw as (relatively) effective and sensible opposition for a little longer.

  4. I think he represents one of the things that is wrong with Australian politics — people are far too stuck within party lines, so even if he had good ideas, he wouldn’t be able to use them anyway. I also don’t see the how the Liberals intend to win trying to use a populist line, which seems to be their current tactic — surely Rudd will always beat them at that.

  5. I don’t know if you should be surprised that the Libs turn to populism. How many people get elected doing anything else. Rudd beat them with populism, the time for a change factor and work choices antipathy. Perhaps it at least gets people listening to you.
    Not sure I like Turnbull, but I will like seeing Rudd under pressure and that seems to be happening.

    Terge, I think you can only avoid gov guarantees for banks if the gov stops other financial manipulation.

  6. “I will like seeing Rudd under pressure and that seems to be happening”.

    The polls haven’t changed, some pressure.

    I like Turnbull because he has liberal social views. He however will not survive to the next election.

  7. I must admit, I like him on the Republican issue. He’s a Liberal and was a supporter (as opposed from been an MP) of the Party when he dished out that famous attack on Howard, showing that he’s got a bit of intestinal fortitude and principles.

    It seems to me that to spread Libertarianism in Australia, we need as many principled pollies and voters as possible to start with, no matter what their principles.

  8. Rowan, the thing is, Turnbull doesn’t seem to be overly principled. His views change in accordance to whatever is expedient based on which way the breeze is blowing. I like him, I’m just not sure if I trust him much..

  9. I don’t know if you should be surprised

    I didn’t say that, and I’m not. I said I’m disappointed.

    …surely Rudd will always beat them at that.

    Why?

  10. What liberal social values have we seen, aside from the pro-gay-rights thing?

    I get the impression that many libertarians respect him because he’s a self-made multi-millionaire. I guess I can see that… but that doesn’t make him a libertarian either.

  11. Fleeced- the Republic debate is another “liberal social value”. And he used to be the chairman of Ausflag (to reform the Australian flag so it’s not a defaced union jack).

  12. The Environment portfolio is an excellent place to display liberal values, it is merely Turnbull who didnt display them. The future of human environment is directly linked to increased vegetarianism and decreased meat consumption which is the foundation of the Australian libertarian standpoint.

    The Australian Liberal party was created by Alfred Deakin who was front and centre a vegetarian.

  13. “The future of human environment is directly linked to increased vegetarianism and decreased meat consumption which is the foundation of the Australian libertarian standpoint.

    And here I was thinking that the foundation was individual freedom.

    Seriously parkos, was that meant to be a joke? What have you got against plants? I can just imagine Earth getting visited by a plant-based alien life-form… they’d be horrified by the prejudice of vegetarians! No, true libertarians would seek to genetically engineer cows that want to be eaten (apologies to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

    PS: I was tempted to point out that Hitler was a vegetarian, but didn’t want to prematurely end the thread… so I won’t 🙂

  14. I know plenty of self made millionairs and they don’t seem to come in the libertarian flavour any more often than the rest of the population.

  15. No. Hitler was not a vegetarian, he used to shoot up pigs testicles mixed with speed and belladonna (atrophine).
    Hitler was a warm doucher ie someone who needs a warm shower.

    The basis of the Liberal Party philosophy is animal liberation and subsequently human liberation, anything else is a totalitarian twist. The first piece of legislation Deakin tried to pass in parliament was that of animal liberation.

    Fleeced, you have a very simplistic view of human plant consumption. Most plants ahve a symbiotic relationship with humans and animals which involves being eaten and the seeds passing through the digestive system to further destinations. This is reason fruit has fibre.

    So sort you facts and your vegan diet out and then you can all front up as true Australian libertarians. The BBQ is cancelled.

  16. Here I will start you all off:

    Fresh Organic Sun Dried Tomato Salsa
    (Tools: Knife & Cutting Board)

    Here’s a familiar fresh dip done that’s healthy and easy to make! Fresh Salsa is great on flax crackers, as a salad topping, in Bur-raw-itos, or on raw corn chips.

    * 3 or 4 Tomatoes
    * 1/3 Cup Sun dried Tomatoe s, finely chopped and soaked in water for 10 mins
    * 1/2 a medium Onion, Finely Chopped
    * 1/2 bunch Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
    * 1/2 Jalapeno Pepper, Chopped (or to taste)
    * Lime Juice
    * Sea Salt or Tamari, to Taste

    Blend in the food processor, Vitamix or Blender briefly. Leave Chunky. You also can just chop it all up and mix it in a bowl by hand too quite easily. The amounts are variable so if you like your salsa to have more cilantro, or if you like some garlic, or chipotle in your salsa, go right a head!

  17. That’s great Parkos but the Liberal party is conservative, not libertarian. Deakin was a protectionist, not a free trader.

    The Liberal Party of Australia did not exist until 1949.

    Your ability to note peculiarities of history is unfortunately matched by your inability to perceive reality.

    Maybe you could do a fundraiser for the Liberals with a new cookbook?

  18. Take note and then start chopping those cucumbers for your mum Hill and send in your recipes, or give your preferences to the ALP or the Greens:

    (Deakin) Confronted by the rising Australian Labor Party in 1909, he merged his Protectionist Party with George Reid’s Free Trade Party to create the Fusion, the main ancestor of the modern Liberal Party of Australia.

  19. Deakin was also President of the Spiritualist Union and is buried about 100 metres from where I am typing.

  20. You really should stop squatting in that cemetery, it’s getting a bit weird. It doesn’t matter how much of a libertarian you are, they’re not going to grant you usucaption.

  21. Shem, any lack of autonomy is only in the most technical sense in that the Queen is (in her dreams) head of state. In reality she holds no power here, I mean just let her try something and see what happens.

    From a libertarian perspective I have no problems with a head of state on the other side of the world with no power. In fact I think a government like that also, would improve things immeasurably.

  22. “Most plants have a symbiotic relationship with humans and animals which involves being eaten and the seeds passing through the digestive system to further destinations.”

    Since the introduction of farming, parkos, animals depend on us as well… Cows are unlikely go extinct, precisely because we farm them for food. Nature’s a bitch, aint it?

    Looking to nature for moral guidance can lead you down some strange paths. Nature is nonmoral (I deliberately don’t use the term amoral, as to me that indicates a level of cognizance).

  23. Dear Parkos, Libertarians will not discriminate against lunatics, so welcome!
    I am surprised you have not taken it to its’ logical conclusion- people should eat raw soil! Why eat plants at all? Cut out the middle-marigolds completely!
    Fleeced, Australia has a lizard with a detachable tail! If we could only breed these in sufficient numbers, we would have ethical meat! Any interested farmers out there?

  24. I blame myself for the presence of Parkos, I was thinking about attacking an idiot, thinking even Parkos makes more sense than this bastard. I then wondered where he was and he turned up.

  25. I’ve expressed my distaste for Malcolm Turnbull in the past, despite the fact that many here seem to like him – even considering him a fellow libertarian. I’ve yet to see anything that would qualify him as such.
    .
    They like Turnbull because he’s market-orientated and socially progressive?
    .
    But he’s a politician:
    .
    I’m no economist, but it seems to me, that when people are already dumping shares and other investments to convert to cash, that such a scheme would only hasten the exodus. Am I missing something?
    .
    Yeah and he ain’t an economist either, or even a banker anymore. He’s in an entirely other type of competition now. And he’s dealing with an electorate who’re ignorant of economic fundamentals.
    .
    One think that might stave off future bullshit such as this is a solid grounding from primary school in practical philosophy: ethics, politics, economics. The basic home truth stuff no need for excursions into epistemology, nothing like that. Just ensure that the citizens of this country know how political parties function, what a business cycle is – etc.
    .
    Maybe then you wouldn’t get people falling for this populist shite. Or taking out loans they can’t afford to repay. Maybe.
    .
    And to those who’re for some reason still loyal to the idea that the Libs are inherently better ‘managers’ than the ALP please note that Kevvie’s being slightly less irresponsible.

  26. Thesedays, as soon as you refer to Liberal Party leadership you are headed in beyond blue territory, but in Deakin’s case it was different becuase he was a healthy veggie and so am I.

    Anyone not on the bandwagon can check in for prostate surgery, and skip the mood adjustment therapy.

  27. The Turnbull family are avowed monarchists.. It is implicit in their surname, they turned the English bull that was charging at Robert the Bruce.

    So whatever republican path you are headed down without European culture Herr Fryar, it is unlikely to be with old Malcy.

  28. You don’t have to worry about Turnbull’s views. The Government has just created the biggest moral hazard of all time. It has effectively guaranteed all bank deposits in Australia, hereby wiping out any competitive advantage of being big or small.

  29. I was inclined to give Turnbull the benefit of the doubt prior to the election. The LDP preferenced him in Wentworth based on what we knew about him.

    I wouldn’t support doing it again. He might harbour a few libertarian leanings on gays and taxes and his comment about the Bill Henson photographs were good (the first time), but he’s now shown he’s primarily just a populist. As for being a republican and favouring an alternative flag, that’s about as relevant as whether he owns an English Springer or an Australian Kelpie.

  30. “As for being a republican and favouring an alternative flag, that’s about as relevant as whether he owns an English Springer or an Australian Kelpie.”

    Spoken like a true monarchist!

  31. David

    he’s in Opposition – he doesn’t have much to lose by being populist. it’s no guarantee he will operate that way once in office.

  32. Malcom Turnbull is a real let down. I cannot stand his grab for small political gain over the banks not handing on all the cash rate cut. Perhaps people will forget by the next election.

    @TerjeP Why is the right guarantee no guarantee? How independent is your view? What are your possible conflicts of interest?

    I am finding the Libertarian/Austrian viewpoint a very attractive way to explain this crisis and potential solutions. I am not an economist and so have many more questions for experts however. This crisis gives a big chance for change in the economic and political system. Is ALS up for that challenge? Are you guys like the American libertarians? Are your economics from an Austrian perspective? I’d love to learn more by attending public seminars etc.

  33. Our perspective is more eclectic, with a variety of views running from neoclassical/monetarist, New Classical , real business cycle, Austrian through to New Institutionalist.

    We even have some supply-sider gold bugs thrown in for good measure.

  34. The Turnbull family are avowed monarchists.. It is implicit in their surname, they turned the English bull that was charging at Robert the Bruce.
    .
    So all that head of the ARM stuff was just subterfuge ‘ey? And of course let’s just forget the fact that he’s married into a rather prominent Irish-Australian family and we all know that that lot love ol’ Betty Battenberg. 🙂

  35. Rudd has now come out and guaranteed all bank deposits… I guess that’s one way to make sure Turnbull can’t go any higher.
    .
    I forgot yesterday that people have a tendency to make a run at the banks when this sort of thing’s happening. Kevvie’s probably right to do this. Of course if it wasn’t for the fact, referred to as ‘little known’ today in The Age that banks actually don’t keep your money in the safe this wouldn’t be necessary.
    .
    Cue the sound of Graeme Bird doing his best Tommy Reagan from Miller’s Crossing
    .
    Caspar: First you gotta promise not to say ‘I told you so’.
    Tommy: I never say that and I don;t like people who do.
    Caspar: You were right kid. Mink was robbin’ me right along with the schmada.
    Tommy: I told you so.
    .
    So what’s the classic Fractional Reserve is Bad economics text. No-one will tell me. Is it a trade secret?

  36. Steven,

    I have money in the bank which could be considered a conflict of interest except that I’m against government guarantees rather than in favour. Perhaps the fact that I’m a taxpayer makes me conflicted. Happy to declare it if it helps.

    No guarantee is the correct guarantee because taxpayers should not be forced to pay for other peoples mistakes and because banks should not get an automatic AAA credit rating at the taxpayers risk.

    However I am very pleased that this guarantee by the Rudd government comes packaged with a sunset clause. Something that should be included with all legislation passed during a “crisis”. I also don’t expect any banks in Australia to fail so I’m not overly concerned. And given that other governments around the world were putting in place (or had in place) guarantees I can at least understand the defensive logic of this initiative.

  37. Terje,

    I guess I am much more concerned about similar banks runs that happened in the UK happening here. Perhaps in part it was because I am close to that trouble having recently returned from the UK and being in a situation where I still have money in a UK-based bank – more than the deposit guarantee.

    I wonder how safe our banks are because I know 4 people with mortgages and only one of them should have been given that loan. One needs to sell in the next couple of months otherwise they will go bankcrupt. One got an interest only loan for a $400k unit off the plan. One was loaned $450k on the back of “normal” overtime.

    Why does a deposits guarantee mean that the banks are AAA rated? Surely it does not. Perhaps that’s to do with the other guarantee that Rudd made. I’m not sure that I agree it was necessary. Neither was 100% guarantee necessary. The EU are recommending 50,000eur and the UK currently has 50,000gbp. That’s about $100-120k AUD.

  38. I wonder how safe our banks are because I know 4 people with mortgages and only one of them should have been given that loan.

    All banks have non-performing loans. They rarely lose a lot of money because of them because they end up owning the asset while the borrower continues to owe the difference as well.

    The big losses occur when businesses go broke with lots of creditors and not enough assets to cover the borrowings.

    A deposits guarantee covers deposits, not loans.

  39. Philip J Fleeced has a good point.
    Turnball has been less than inspiring with his recent economy-related press comments.

  40. The reason people are interested in Turnbull is because we want Labor out! The Liberals are more likely to win power than any other alternative, so we hope for a Liberal Ascendancy.

  41. You all seen the latest round of handouts? I must say, even I didn’t expect ALP to burn through the surplus quite this quickly. As a single bloke, I of course miss out again.

  42. #

    You all seen the latest round of handouts?
    .
    Yes apparently if you’re on the pension you get $1400 or something. So if you’ve just been wiped out by the crash it’s okay. There’s enough dosh there to buy cat food until the Soylent Green people get to you. 🙂

  43. So if you’ve just been wiped out by the crash it’s okay.

    That’s actually a powerful argument for limited welfare based on strict criteria. As soon as someone gets a freebie there’s a huge queue of others who want it too.

    The whole debate about pensions makes that obvious. You can’t raise single pensions because couples and invalids etc will miss out. After that self-funded retirees will hold out their hands, and then intending retirees who have to work longer, and on it goes.

  44. That’s trues DavidL, but check out news.com.au comments. People aren’t just upset that they’re not getting a cut – they’re upset that they’re the ones who pay for it, whilst not getting a cut. People like me (little to no debt) are already having our assets devalued by inflation… now, if we’re single to boot, we don’t get the “rebate” either (how is it a rebate if you didn’t pay tax in the first place?)

    Personally, I’ve been well and truly shafted. That’s it for me – I’m tired of creating wealth for other people – I’m tired of being fleeced… I’m going to join the others… maybe I should change my nick to Leech.

  45. Incidentally, a lot of single people – workers rather than working families are pissed off. Many libertarians hate the redistribution of wealth – but it isn’t even according to how rich you are anymore. Lower and middle class singles (and there are plenty of us) have been rooted in the last few years… and we aint happy.

  46. When we were getting family tax benefits (ie handouts to families) the combination of benefit withdrawal rates and the income tax system saw my EMTR hit 80% at one point. So I was likewise pissed off even with a handout.

  47. I can’t work out if as a dependent Youth Allowance recipient I (or my mum) will get the $1000 bonus or not… I’m over 18, but it mentions “dependent Youth Allowance recipients” of which I am one. So not sure…?

    If I do- thanks guys. I might use it to go to Thailand over the holidays… Inject some (of your) wealth into a country that needs it…

    Fleeced- the unemployed are missing out at least. The best way to profit is to adopt a kid. You’ll probably still be worse off financially, but at least the government will give you some of your money back instead of redistributing it all to families.

    Why does the government want to encourage people to be families and discourage them from staying single? I don’t understand why population growth is a good thing… It’s hoping for more taxpayers in the future?

  48. Lower and middle class singles (and there are plenty of us) have been rooted in the last few years… and we aint happy.

    I abandoned any thought of getting money back from the government a long time ago. I don’t have kids and my income was always outside the eligible limits.

    I now concentrate on not paying much tax in the first place. That means structuring my affairs to minimise taxable income and claiming every possible deduction and tax rebate. It takes a bit of organising, but it’s possible to reduce tax quite a bit without breaking the law.

  49. Shem, a self-raising work force means more people to fleece to pay for pensions and other goodies. If an economy is contracting, with workers leaving for better countries, then who will be taxed to pay for all the promises that politicians make to get elected? And a self-raising workforce means the government doesn’t need to spend on advertising overseas to get people to come here.
    Happy now?

  50. Nicholas, the same people will be taxed, but after the recession we will be taxed to pay the current welfare and the repayments on the loan taken out during the recession.

    I’m told Krudd last night said that he is not afraid to run a deficit, and not should he be in appropriate circumstances, but I’ll bet Nick Gruen and others will be happy now.

  51. TerjeP, you said “If the government guarantees my deposit at Bank X then that bank is as credit worthy as the government.”.

    Forgive my ignorance but I don’t get it. Can’t the govt let that bank fail without insuring non-retail deposits. Then afterwards step in to “insure” retail deposits. Bank is then only AAA rated for retail depositors, no?

  52. Pingback: Turnbull – the failed libertarian hope – The Stump

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