Malcolm Turnbull led the referendum republican campaign, and was elected to Parliament in 2004. He is nowin the Federal ministry. He has indicated that far from being buried for the foreseeable future, the republic is still on his agenda. In an interview on the ABC’s Insiders on 3 September, 2006, with an apparently firmly republican Michael Bowers, pictorial editor with the Sydney Morning Herald, he was also asked about his aspirations to become Treasurer.
MICHAEL BOWERS: I guess – we’ve got some pictures here. I guess you came to prominence in ’round ’97 with the push to shake free the shackles of the monarchy, where you led the republican movement during the constitutional convention. It must have been great for your contacts at this time because there’s a fairly diverse group that you’re working with, you’ve got – Eddie and Hazel Hawke. What are your memories of that time?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, it was a great campaign – it was very bipartisan, you know. There were Libs and Labs and people that were non-aligned. It was a great adventure – too bad we didn’t win.
MICHAEL BOWERS: And is the republic buried for the foreseeable future do you think?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: I don’t think so. I think it will return to the agenda when the Queen’s reign ends – whether she abdicates or dies. You know, that’s why I said in ’95: if you vote ‘No’, it means no for a long time. So, my conscience is clear.
MICHAEL BOWERS: Well, you decided to move to politics and you ran for preselection of the seat of Wentworth, which was against Peter King. That must have been a bit of a baptism of fire for you?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, it was a struggle, yeah……………
MICHAEL BOWERS: In a different world – or a parallel universe – would the Treasury be a job that you’d aspire to, at some stage?
MALCOLM TURNBULL: I’m not big on aspirations like that; I just focus on doing the job I’ve got, so I’ll do whatever jobs I get, if any, as well as I can.