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Malcolm Turnbull's foreign policy views

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COMMENTS

16 September 2008 14:30

For our international readers who may not follow Australian politics closely: the news is that Australia has a new leader of the opposition. Liberal Party MPs elected Malcolm Turnbull to the position today, with Turnbull winning narrowly over the previous leader, Brendan Nelson.

So what do we know about Mr Turnbull's foreign policy views? Here are the results of my initial search (I'll add more as I find them):

  • He's an Iraq war sceptic: 'In a statement written last night, Malcolm Turnbull says he told his Bondi audience that history judges wars by their outcomes, and it may well be that history will judge George Bush's decision to invade Iraq as an error.'
  • In his maiden speech to parliament he backed a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.
  • In the same speech he said fertility rates were at a 'tipping point in our civilization’s story...the demographic storm is coming.'
  • This is a recent and substantive Turnbull speech on emissions trading.
  • Turnbull has served in Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. But my search of Hansard reveals that, although he asked a few penetrating questions, he did not reveal any opinions on foreign policy during his time on the committee.
  • He wants less secrecy from our intelligence agencies. At least, that's what you might surmise from his performance as a lawyer for former MI5 agent Peter Wright in the Spycatcher case, in which he forced from Margaret Thatcher's cabinet secretary Sir Robert Armstrong the admission that Britain would lie to protect national security.

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