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Going big picture with Malcolm Turnbull

  • 22 May 2020
What really happened, who did who in, and why — these are the juicy, gossipy aspects of leadership struggles that make politicians’ recollections so tantalising. Like driving past a fender bender, you are tempted to slow down and survey the damage.

As the small-l Liberal who attempted unsuccessfully to stare down the right-wing of the Liberal Party, known to his enemies as ‘Mr Harbourside Mansion’ or as the best Labour Prime Minister to ever lead the Liberal Party (2015-2018), Malcolm Bligh Turnbull was a man who dreamed, spoke and spent big.

He will be remembered, as with most of us humans, for failing to achieve his goals, specifically in the realm of governing this country. That statement, however, is made in the context of recognising the huge personal and financial successes Turnbull achieved.

For the uninitiated, we are led through the sad human realities of the author’s childhood, Turnbull’s student days, his salad days as a highly successful lawyer and merchant banker, his flirtations with politics that led him to the top of the tree, and his love-hate relationships.This hefty autobiography, A Bigger Picture, is essential reading for anyone looking back at the ‘Nineties,’ the ‘Noughties’ and the ‘2000 teens’ to try to work out exactly why we still have a lack of national leadership on climate change.

'Turnbull’s humour and venom make for interesting reading, as do his insider versions of events from recent history.'

Coming in at 698 pages, A Bigger Picture alternates between eviscerating, chronicling and acknowledging most of Turnbull’s former political allies and foes in a saga of wit, betrayal, lust, treachery, a thirst for power and a desire for change. It informs and entertains on an epic, if not biblical, scale.

The book comes with a cover photo of the plutocrat and former PM staring out of the darkness down the barrel of a camera. It’s a beautifully apt image considering the author’s brave admissions of depression and suicidal thoughts following his knifing as Leader of the Opposition.

There are large concepts that embody this book. Among them are the notion of healing from childhood and lifetime hurts and wrongs; the maturation of a nation that may have come to pass with a republic; the freedom that comes to live your life when you have cash to back your independence and actions; the pursuit of justice and the bunfights over what to include in human rights; the failure of Australian legislators to