When Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister it was known by the electorate that he was a father, but his children were largely unknown and unseen. But post his Prime Ministership Turnbull’s son Alex has burst onto the Australian politician scene.
Even though Alex Turnbull is an investor based in Singapore he has began to pursue a vendetta, many suspect on behalf of his father against conservative forces with in the Liberal Party and the media that he blames for his father’s political downfall.
Alex Turnbull urged voters in Wentworth at the November 2017 by-election to vote against the Liberal Party and solicited donations to the Labor campaign. That along with Malcolm’s refusal to campaign for Liberal candidate Dave Sharma were a major factor in Independent Kerry Phelps winning the seat causing the Morrison Government to lose their majority.
After the Liberals by-election defeat Alex Turnbull vowed to step up his campaign against the party by funding moderate independents in the next federal election. Alex Turnbull also became particularly active on Twitter posting plenty of bile against conservative politicians and media personalities, some of which he has been forced to apologize for.
Four high profile Liberal or moderate aligned independents have emerged to take on Liberal Party candidates in traditional blue ribbon seats. The primary issue these independents are campaigning on is action on climate change, which is becoming a key vote decider in all inner city seats.
Kerryn Phelps is aiming to defend Wentworth and seeking a full three year term as its member. Former Liberal MP Julia Banks is challenging Health Minister Greg Hunt in Flinders, Zali Steggall is challenging Tony Abbott in Warringah and Oliver Yates is challenging Josh Frydenberg in Kooyong.
Progressive activist group GetUp is seen as the primary backer of these group of Independents. They are door knocking every house in Warringah in their bid to oust Tony Abbott from the seat and they are suspected by backing Julia Banks campaign in Flinders.
But it has been revealed in the Nine Newspapers Alex Turnbull is a part of a loose alliance of people who are assisting Liberal aligned centrist independents in providing corporate structures and software for these campaigns. Alex Turnbull has confirmed he has been in contact with Julia Banks, Oliver Yates and Kerryn Phelps about providing assistance.
The Liberal Party in NSW and Victoria has complained to the Australian Electoral Commission about the structure of the corporate entities being used by these independents arguing they may be used to circumvent electoral donation laws. Turnbull responded that “Staying compliant with the Electoral Act isn’t hard but you need to know what you are doing”.
But Alex Turnbull’s new political activity isn’t just about backing more moderate Liberal independents but is part of a long term plan about reducing the impact of the Murdoch family’s media on Australian politics.
Back in December Alex Turnbull donated and promoted Sleeping Giants Oz which is a Twitter account dedicated to pressuring companies to stop advertising on News Corp owned Sky News.
— Alex Turnbull (@alexbhturnbull) December 3, 2018
Alex Turnbull’s recent retweets feature attacks on conservatives commentators such as Peta Credlin, suggesting she is a puppet of the Murdoch family.
He even retweeted former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s attack on the “Murdoch Party” for publishing comments from Zali Steggall’s ex-husband and new wife criticizing her.
What a joke! Operation Rescue Tony! The Murdoch Party’s Sydney organ continues its campaign to rescue Abbott from his own voters. Yet another balanced piece of Murdoch reporting for the campaign. pic.twitter.com/nUUNri1fDF— Kevin Rudd (@MrKRudd) April 16, 2019
All of his activity indicates that Alex Turnbull is just getting started in Australian politics, and it is not simply rage against his father’s removal. The fact he is assisting in designing corporate structures for candidates is a sophisticated political operation.
There is no evidence directly that Malcolm Turnbull is involved, he is supporting Dave Sharma in Wentworth and during the New South Wales state election campaigned for then Coogee MP Bruce Noltey-Smith and Gladys Berejiklian’s re-election.
Whether Alex Turnbull can actually use his money, expertise and connections to destroy conservative politicians and the media, and turn his rage into votes for his candidates is the key question.