And chill out about Mal­colm’s speech

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION OURS & YOURS -

made the right de­ci­sion in re­leas­ing the footage.

While that de­bate is hardly go­ing to be heard around the water cool­ers of Aus­tralia, Turn­bull’s au­then­tic­ity and abil­ity to mock not just him­self, but Trump, will be re­mem­bered.

Sadly, it was a side the pub­lic rarely gets to see.

Aus­tralians have be­come used to our lead­ers toe­ing the line and speak­ing cease­lessly while not re­ally say­ing any­thing at all.

In pub­lic our politi­cians of­ten avoid laugh­ing at them- selves and oth­ers, even when the rest of the na­tion is in on the joke.

Self-dep­re­ca­tion is a great lev­eller, a very Aus­tralian trait which min­imises sta­tus and re­veals an in­tel­lec­tual hon­esty. This week the Prime Min­is­ter fi­nally joined in.

Turn­bull not only poked fun at his US coun­ter­part but man­aged to send him­self up at the same time.

He even made a gag about the awk­ward time he en­thu­si­as­ti­cally said he and Lucy like to “Net­flix and chill”, not re­al­is­ing that phrase is a slightly cheeky eu­phemism for what cou­ples get up to on the sofa.

As for­mer Lib­eral leader John Hew­son said: “It was an im­por­tant step for­ward” for the Prime Min­is­ter who is of­ten char­ac­terised as thin­skinned.

While it wouldn’t be wise for Turn­bull to con­tinue his stand-up rou­tine in Ques­tion Time or at press con­fer­ence, hav­ing the courage to show a bit of au­then­tic­ity is im­por­tant.

Know­ing that we laugh at the same things is a great way for elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to con­nect with vot­ers who of­ten feel alien­ated by the Can­berra po­lit­i­cal bub­ble.

Aus­tralians have been forced to en­dure a conga line of prime min­is­ters who ap­pear to have lost their per­son­al­i­ties on the way to The Lodge.

They ruth­lessly stick to talk­ing points and avoid an­swer­ing ques­tions.

It is a case of death by sound­bites as we con­tin­u­ally hear about those lad­ders of op­por­tu­nity, stop­ping the boats and of course, jobs and growth.

While canned po­lit­i­cal mes­sag­ing is im­por­tant, it shouldn’t come at the ex­pense of au­then­tic­ity. To his credit, Turn­bull of­ten de­vi­ates from the script un­like some of his pre­de­ces­sors.

Just as he is on the cusp of a stel­lar line, he leans for­ward, grabs his glasses, and sud­denly changes tack. Frus­trat­ing? Ab­so­lutely. But it’s in those mo­ments when he is of­ten at his best.

In ad­vis­ing mem­bers of par­lia­ment to sim­ply stick to po­lit­i­cal mes­sages, staffers are un­der­es­ti­mat­ing the role hu­mour can play in help­ing a politi­cian com­mu­ni­cate with their con­stituents.

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