Malcolm Bligh Turnbull (born 24 October 1954) is an Australian politician. He has been a member of the Australian House of Representatives since 2004, and was Leader of the Opposition and parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party from 16 September 2008 to 1 December 2009. Since September 2010, he has been Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband.
Turnbull has represented the Division of Wentworth in Sydney's eastern suburbs since his election in October 2004. He served as the federal Minister for Environment and Water Resources in 2007. Before entering parliamentary politics he practised as a journalist, barrister, company legal counsel, and merchant banker, and was leader of the Australian Republican Movement.
In September 2008, Turnbull was chosen Liberal Party leader and Leader of the Opposition. He served for a little over a year. In November 2009, he ordered the Liberal Party to support the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposed by the Labor government. This prompted substantial opposition in the party, and Turnbull was voted out of his leadership post by only one vote on 1 December and replaced by Tony Abbott, an anti-CPRS campaigner.
From 1993 to 2000, Turnbull was the chairman of the Australian Republican Movement. He was an elected delegate at the Australian Constitutional Convention 1998 in Canberra in February. At the Convention, Turnbull cautioned against mixing the roles of President and Prime Minister and ultimately supported the Bi-partisan appointment republican model adopted by the Convention. Turnbull was active in the unsuccessful 1999 referendum campaign to establish an Australian republic. Fighting for the Republic. In 2000 Turnbull retired as chairman of the Australian Republican Movement. Turnbull left the board of Ausflag in 1994 after being asked for his resignation and in 2004 joined the Australian National Flag Association.
He published a book on the subject, called
Turnbull first showed interest in entering the Australian Parliament in 1981. He ran for Liberal Party preselection for the seat of Wentworth in the eastern suburbs of Sydney in the Wentworth 1981 by-election, but was beaten by Peter Coleman. In 2003, Turnbull announced that he was again seeking a parliamentary seat.
In early 2004 he won another hotly contested battle for Wentworth, defeating Peter King, the sitting Liberal member. King ran for the seat at the 2004 election as an independent. This turned the traditionally safe Liberal electorate into an electoral wildcard, the contest for the seat becoming a three man race between Turnbull, King and Labor candidate David Patch. During the campaign, Turnbull spent over $600,000 on electoral expenditure. The Liberal primary vote fell 10 per cent, but Turnbull still won on King's preferences.
Turnbull retained his seat at the 2007 election gaining a two-party 1.3 per cent swing in Wentworth, despite a 5.6 per cent swing away from the coalition in the state, and a 5.4 per cent swing nationwide.
On 16 September 2008, Turnbull was elected party leader by 45 votes to 41.
At the 2010 federal election, Turnbull was re-elected with a swing of over 11% and was subsequently brought back to the front bench as shadow communications minister. At the October 2012 Alfred Deakin Lecture on digital liberty he spoke out strongly against the Australian government's proposed two-year data retention law.
On Tuesday 9 April Malcolm Turnbull announced his alternative National Broadband Network (NBN) plan. The new plan is a modified and scaled-down NBN with "fibre to the node" then last-mile by copper cable. The new policy developed by Turnbull reversed the previous Liberal Party position, which had called for the dismantling of the NBN should the Liberal Party win the 2013 Federal election. As such, the policy will allow the NBN to continue irrespective of the result so the election, although it may do so in a different form than what is currently being built.