The road to chaos
ultimately pulled down by the combination of his support for tough action on climate change and his monumental misjudgment in the case of Godwin Grech. The opposition nightmare is a brief episode in this shortish book but it offers an understanding of how much Turnbull has changed and how much he has stayed the same.
The Turnbull Gamble goes through those first heady months when Turnbull was the most popular prime minister since the honeymooning Rudd but, even then, we see how things started to go wrong. His decision to act on the advice of Finance Minister Mathias Cormann to go to a double-dissolution election in July was probably the crucial error of judgment. But van Onselen and Errington suggest the company Turnbull keeps continues to let him down. He has been more consultative and less condescending to his colleagues. His political judgment, though, remains flawed, and what advice he is getting doesn’t seem to be improving matters. A double dissolution election with an interminable campaign was a poor decision. Going early would have been fine; going late would have been fine; the long campaign made the middle option the worst option. This is one moment where Turnbull’s instincts for a late election would have served him better than consulting with his team.
It’s one of the paradoxes of the Turnbull government that this leader, notorious for his vertiginous self-confidence and nasty temper, has been weakened by his apparent attempts to change, to include people more in his decisionmaking. The reader finishes this book with a clearer idea of why that lioness of a chief of staff Peta Credlin tried to keep these characters out