A Bigger Picture #

A Bigger Picture is a memoir by former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Notes #

  • The early chapters of the book have some reminiscing about Sydney in the 60s and 70s. I would like to learn more about this because this was the world my parents grew up in.
  • Is Turnbull arrogant? Throughout the book he puts a lot of effort into seeming like a decent guy. But the public perception of him is of an aloof, arrogant rich banker.
  • The book has reinforced my understanding that Tony Abbott is completely insane, the least effective and most dangerous Prime Minister in Australian history.
  • Must have been crazy becoming PM. Appreciate the moments of self-reflection and honesty around this, and also a very open discussion of his struggles with mental health.
  • Interesting section about submarines and the differences between nuclear and conventional. Maybe interesting to read a bit more about history and specifically military history.
  • Turnbull presents politics as a fearful maze of competing ideologies and personalities, the most difficult of which is the mess on the same side as you.
  • His chapter on China made me realise how little I know about that country, its history and its politics and philosophy. Maybe I should read a book about that.
  • I read this book mostly while I was bouncing my son to sleep in spring and summer 2020.
  • Turnbull’s economic level-headedness is impressive. There is a sense of cool and a very internalised understanding of the “law of averages”. This is what a financially successful person needs.
  • Same-sex marriage postal survey back story was interesting. I’d missed all the focus on the format (plebescite, direct democracy, it should just be the job of the parliament).

Our tax system had evolved to the point where we discriminated in favour of older people with savings, who often paid little tax, and against younger people trying to get ahead, who paid high rates of personal income tax. Increasingly, by world standards, our company tax was uncompetitively high and we raised too little of our revenue through indirect taxes, like the GST, that are hard to avoid."

  • I hadn’t realised how crazy the Section 44 citizenship thing was.

The charm offensive worked and the Commonwealth leaders agreed that Charles would be the next head of the Commonwealth. Pointedly, this was a personal appointment and was expressed as being based on an assessment of his qualities and commitment to the Commonwealth. In other words, the leaders didn’t accept the British royal family possessed an hereditary right to the office.

  • Turnbull has so many interests and seems like a pretty impressive dude that knows a lot about a lot but remains humble and aware of what he doesn’t know.