Labor’s Tim Murray could replace Malcolm Turnbull

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IF NOT for a collection of occasions in Canberra a number of weeks in the past, the overwhelming majority of Australians would by no means have identified Tim Murray’s identify.

Because the Labor candidate within the Liberal-held seat of Wentworth in Sydney’s inside east, he confronted an inconceivable battle in opposition to the favored incumbent, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“It was utterly unwinnable — I’d’ve wanted a 17.eight per cent swing to win,” Mr Murray mentioned.

However then the Authorities imploded in a bitter civil warfare, main to 2 management challenges and the eventual ousting of Mr Turnbull.

He promptly give up politics, forcing an upcoming by-election that on present polling for the reason that messy coup has Labor and the Liberals in a useless warmth.

Out of the blue, Mr Murray, an economist and father-of-three, is an effective shot at snatching the voters and plunging Scott Morrison’s one-seat majority authorities into chaos.

“It’s actually modified issues,” Mr Murray mentioned, in maybe the most important understatement of the yr.


Earlier than the management chaos, from the second Mr Murray was endorsed in Could, he had a really clear plan for his marketing campaign. And it concerned operating twice.

He had a hunch that the Tremendous Saturday by-elections in July may not go Labor’s method and that an early election could be referred to as shortly after.

“If Labor had stumbled, I believe the Libs would’ve smelled blood within the water and it will’ve been on,” he mentioned.

“I didn’t suppose the Liberals would win that election however I believed Malcolm definitely would maintain his seat. However my sense was he wouldn’t need to stick round as soon as he wasn’t PM anymore, so he’d go and there’d be a subsequent by-election.”

And it was that ballot Mr Murray thought he may have an excellent shot of profitable.

What truly eventuated — Labor’s stellar run in Longman, crippling instability within the authorities and the knifing of a PM — couldn’t have been anticipated.

Nor may the willingness of rusted on Liberals to listen to out a Labor man on points like local weather change and schooling.

“On the finish of the day, we knew we’d all the time be combating a tricky marketing campaign. Our social gathering has the perfect insurance policies to enchantment to the voters and that hasn’t modified. Our possibilities of convincing individuals of which have modified although. They’re extra more likely to pay attention.”


The recognition of Mr Turnbull amongst his voters was monumental.

Whereas his authorities may need been struggling within the polls nationally, his private standing in Wentworth was extremely excessive.

This may be a long-held Liberal seat, however as election analyst Antony Inexperienced identified, Mr Turnbull made it one of many most secure within the land.

Now, that’s at important danger.

“Persons are offended on the method Malcolm has been handled,” Mr Murray mentioned.

“Many have come as much as me they usually’ll say they’ve voted Liberal all of their life, however this time round they’ll vote for me.

“Somebody mentioned to me the opposite day that Wentworth hasn’t left the Liberal Social gathering, the Liberal Social gathering left Wentworth.”

These disaffected Liberal voters may leap and see a big protest vote come Labor’s method.

It additionally is dependent upon who’s preselected to run, with quite a few names being floated as potential candidates.

And a robust record of unbiased candidates, together with the well-known and regionally fashionable Dr Kerryn Phelps, may make it a really tight contest.


Mr Murray was born in Waverley Hospital, a brief drive from the place he and his household stay now in Tamarama.

He spent 20 years residing in China, working as a commodities specialist for an Australian mining firm and dabbling in enterprise.

“I began a media firm, which was difficult in a rustic like that,” he mentioned.

5 years in the past, he returned to Sydney, moved right into a terrace home in Bondi Junction, and began a monetary companies agency.

“Once I joined the Tamarama Surf Membership, I’d drive there from my workplace within the metropolis and realised how a lot better the visitors was over there,” he mentioned.

“So, we moved to Tamarama. It’s one of many few locations within the east with an excellent run into the CBD.”

Mr Murray is aware of the realm nicely. Over the course of his interview with, he rattles off native landmarks, main roads and totally different quirks of the neighborhood.

Wentworth is among the most densely populated electorates within the nation. It’s additionally extremely various, bordered by the colorful city pocket of Kings Cross throughout to the glamour of Bondi, proper as much as the millionaire’s enclave of Vaucluse and Level Piper.

“There’s an unbelievable combine,” Mr Murray mentioned. “There’s metropolis, seaside and harbourside. There’s wealth and there’s not. There’s a really, very sturdy Jewish neighborhood. There are college students and households.”

The notion Australians may need of this a part of the world, because of Mr Turnbull’s monumental private wealth, is that the privilege is widespread.

“There are individuals doing it robust,” Mr Murray mentioned.

Outdoors of the mansions and beachfront houses are numerous middle-class households who face the identical challenges as many different Australians.

“Housing affordability is a matter I need to give attention to. For lots of people, particularly younger individuals, I do know housing is essential for them. Dwelling possession nationally within the under-35 age group has gone from 60 per cent all the way down to 48 per cent.”

And there may be loads of inequality.

“Within the Elizabeth Bay a part of the voters there are fairly a number of people who find themselves homeless and Bondi Junction has individuals who sleep tough.”


Of the rich a part of Wentworth, residence to the who’s who of huge enterprise and cash, the overwhelming majority vote Liberal and doubtless all the time will.

Mr Murray is aware of swaying these residents can be extremely onerous, if not inconceivable.

However he obtained an unlikely endorsement from Alex Turnbull, the previous PM’s son, who’s a Singapore-based funding banker with profitable connections.

He even spruiked for donations, leading to a flurry of money from the highest finish of city.

“Simply because persons are rich doesn’t imply they’re mechanically uncaring about different individuals in the neighborhood,” Mr Murray mentioned.

“They do their bit. They contribute by means of volunteering and giving to causes. These individuals need to do issues to assist. That’s who I need to be talking to (from that demographic) on this marketing campaign.”

The voters break up is about 40 per cent uber-wealthy, or “harbourside” as Mr Murray calls it, and with out a chunk of these votes he’ll wrestle to recover from the road.

“Look, I believe it’s unlikely I’ll win. Mathematically, it’s onerous. However who is aware of?”


He doesn’t have a significant social gathering opponent but, however Mr Murray mentioned there are indicators of extra sinister campaigning already.

It’s why he’s eager to shelter his spouse Pauline, an early childhood trainer at a Catholic college, and their two sons, eight and 9, and daughter, 6, from the limelight.

“They gained’t be campaigning with me,” he mentioned.

“I’ve put a photograph of my household (on my web site) however I don’t need to expose them to the negativeness. It’s me operating for workplace, not them.”

His motive for operating, particularly in what started as an unwinnable seat, is neighborhood — he’s obsessed with native points and needs to provide a voice to them.

However the “darkish arts” of elections is one thing he’s not keen on.

“The extra it’s a notion that I would win, the more durable the mud can be thrown. It’s unlucky. I’d wish to deliver civility again to politics, meet individuals within the center and discover a frequent floor reasonably than assault variations.

“We are able to’t proceed as a rustic with this degree of darkish competitiveness in our politics. Democracy solely works once we meet within the center. Once we polarise like we’ve got, you get dysfunction.”

However assaults present that he has sure individuals rattled, he mentioned.

“I believe the extra of the soiled nature of it from opponents, the extra disaffected Liberal voters may be inclined to vote for me.”

A date for the by-election hasn’t but been set, nevertheless it’s more likely to fall in late October.

Whatever the end result, Mr Murray thinks his participation can be a win for Wentworth in the long term.

“If I don’t win, I’ll return to the surf membership and my neighborhood actions. If I get a much bigger profile from the marketing campaign, it’ll make it simpler to attain issues in my space.”

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