Australia’s first Jewish Prime Minister

Malcolm Turnbull (right) is the new Prime Minister of Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull (right) is the new Prime Minister of Australia.

This morning lawyer and tycoon Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister of Australia after a successful internal party coup against incumbent PM Tony Abbott.

Turnbull is a well known republican and supporter of gay rights, so the two most obvious policy changes are likely to include moves towards Australia ditching the monarchy and embracing gay marriage.

Less well known is the new Prime Minister’s Jewish heritage, as reported two years ago by the Australian Jewish News.

In this connection it is interesting that Turnbull first hit the headlines as lawyer for expatriate MI5 officer Peter Wright, who in the 1980s published his autobiography Spycatcher from his new home in Australia, defying the efforts of Margaret Thatcher’s government to maintain MI5’s traditional secrecy.

The original reason for Wright’s book (which began as a cooperation with recently deceased journalist Chapman Pincher) stemmed from his former MI5 colleague Lord Rothschild, who encouraged Wright’s allegations against ex-MI5 boss Sir Roger Hollis, so as to deflect earlier charges that Rothschild himself had been a traitor.

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