The man who toppled Tony Abbott is a huge fan of the New Zealand Prime Minister.
Late on Monday night, in the press conference following the spill that defenestrated Tony Abbott, Australia’s new Liberal Party leader and prime minister designate, Malcolm Turnbull, said this:
“My firm belief is that to be a successful leader in 2015, perhaps at any time, you have to be able to bring people with you by respecting their intelligence in the manner you explain things. We’ve got some great leaders in Australia at the state level, but let me just point to one international leader, John Key.
“John Key has been able to achieve very significant economic reforms in New Zealand … by explaining complex issues and then making the case for them, and that is something certainly that I think we should do.”
Commentators noted the similarities. Hamish Douglass of Magellan Financial told the Financial Times:
“Malcolm, unlike many politicians in Parliament, has had successful careers in the real world. He was a lawyer, an investment banker and entrepreneur before he entered politics. He is the John Key of Australian politics, socially progressive but economically conservative.”
In 2008, the Brisbane Courier-Mail called Key “Malcolm Turnbull’s clone”.
And here’s Turnbull again, quoted in the Age last year:
“Again and again, people say, ‘What a pity he’s not the leader of a bigger country. He’s just so good’.”
He also told the paper, “He’s the best leader of any English-speaking country, except for our own leader, of course.”
That would be the leader he’s just toppled.
— John Key (@johnkeypm) September 14, 2015