Less than two weeks since his father was unceremoniously usurped as the leader of the Liberal Party, son of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is waving the Labor flag. Alex Turnbull has encouraged voters to put their money on Labor in the lead-up to the Wentworth by-election, re-tweeting a post by candidate Tim Murray instructing people to donate.
Alex further suggested that this would be the best way to trigger an early federal election.
“Best bang for the buck you'll get in political donations in your life,” he wrote. “Tight race, tight margin for government, big incremental effect whatever happens. If you want a federal election now this is the means by which to achieve it.”
Young Turnbull previously expressed bitterness at his father’s downfall and the fact that it seemed to have been brought about by coal industry supporters and financial interests that “have their hooks into the Liberal Party”.
“It’s impossible to vote for the Liberal National Party in good conscience," he told Fairfax last week. "My father fought the stupid and the stupid won."
He also conceded that while it was “hard to back a Labor guy” he had no trouble placing his support behind Murray, whom he regards as a friend. “He’s a great guy and I know him well,” he said.
Responding to both supporters and challengers on social media, Alex later clarified that his decision to abandon his Liberal Party allegiance stemmed from a greater concern for Australia as a whole.
“Times like this you have to decide what your first loyalty is: party or county?” he wrote. “I'm going with country. We need donations reform, federal ICAC and sane energy policy NOW.”
In response to another Twitter user who criticised his disloyalty, Alex declared that "If you want blind unthinking faith you can go to a place of worship. If all you are is barracking for a football team in politics you're just a useful idiot footsoldier for the vested interests that run the place. Wake up."
Questions around the future of the hotly-contested Wentworth seat were spurred on after Malcolm Turnbull confirmed his resignation in writing to Speaker Tony Smith on Friday. Andrew Bragg, Former Business Council of Australia executive director and same-sex marriage campaigner, is currently the leading Liberal candidate for the east Sydney seat, SBS reported, while former prime minister Tony Abbott's sister Christine Forster has also thrown her hat in the ring.