Michael Turnbull is the incumbent Prime Minister of Australia. He has been in the office since September 2015 as a successor of former PM Tony Abbott. Tony lost the leadership ballot against Turnbull by just 10 votes.
Early Life and Education
Born on 24 October 1954 to Bruce Bligh and Coral Magnolia, Michael Turnbull was raised in Sydney. As his parents divorced in 1963, Turnbull lived with his father ever since. His radio-actor mother went to New Zealand, and then to the US.
Turnbull unusually moved around from school to school for early education. After spending three years at Vaucluse Public School, he went to Sydney Grammar School and then to Randwick Campus. An extrovert and an outstanding scholar, Turnbull was able to bag Lawrence Campbell Oratory Competition.
Following a graduation from high school, Turnbull joined the University of Sydney to major in political science. He later studied law at the same university. As an active student politician and political journalist, Turnbull won prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. This financial help opened up opportunities for him to do law at Oxford University, UK.
Turnbull is a Roman Catholic by religion. He married his lifetime partner Lucy Hughes Turnbull in 1980 near Oxford. After marriage and end of Turnbull’s bachelor’s degree, the couple went to Sydney. They had two children: Alex and Daisy Turnbull.
Returning back to Sydney, Turnbull kicked off into the profession of a barrister. However, he left the job to become general counsel and then the Secretary for Australian Consolidated Press Holdings Group in 1983. He worked at the firm for two years. Then, he founded a law firm called Turnbull McWilliam.
Having been a successful lawyer and an entrepreneur, Turnbull ventured into finance sector by establishing an investment firm. In 1997, he partnered with Goldman Sachs. While at Goldman Sachs, Turnbull worked as a director of FTR Holdings. He reportedly made $57 million by selling Ozemail stocks in 1994.
Michael Turnbull has been in Australian politics for more than three decades. While he tried for a preselection seat, he lost against Peter Coleman in 1981 and then against Philip Smiles in 1983. So, he remained away from mainstream politics until 2000. Then, he started off again as a Federal Treasurer of the Liberal Party.
He chaired the Australian Republican Movement and delegated his party at the Australian Constitutional Convention in 1998. Likewise, Turnbull was heavily involved during 1999 failed referendum. Following various misunderstandings going on in the party, Turnbull was rumored to be leaving it to join Australian Workers’ Union. However, it just appeared to be nothing more than a rampant hoax.
During Jon Howard’s term as an Australian Prime Minister, Turnbull served as a Parliamentary in 2006 Secretary and then as the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources in 2007. Subsequently, he won Brendan Nelson in 2008 Liberal Leadership Ballot by a narrow margin. Unfortunately, the position couldn’t last long after Turnbull supported opposition’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. He was succeeded by Tony Abbott in 2009 leadership ballot.
Starting on 18 September 2013, Turnbull served as the Minister for Communications for two years. He left the ministry to retake the position of the Leader of Liberal Party on 14 September 2015. The very next day, he was sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Australia. During that historic time, incumbent PM Tony Abbott had lost the 2nd leadership ballot challenge against Turnbull with only 44 out of 100 votes in favor. Likewise, he had also lost the 1st leadership ballot with 61 voters in the opposition.
While at the office, Michael Turnbull reinstated Australian Building and Construction Commission. His term, before opinion polls turned negative, has even been called a honeymoon period.
Trump and Turnbull
Trump and Turnbull do not seem to have been in a good rapport after Trump commented on refugee swap. He called Obama’s agreement a ‘dumb deal’. However, the Australian Government still hopes for strong ties with the US and Trump administration. Also, it seems Australia is struggling to determine which side to take: China or the US?
Prior to this awkward relation, Turnbull was very positive about Trump Presidency. He publicly congratulated Trump for attaining a landslide victory. He also looked forward to having a good rapport with Trump team. Moreover, on an ABC News Interview after Trump’s win, Turnbull reiterated on the national mutual interest between the two countries.