It’s hard to tell if Malcolm Turnbull was feeling trapped and unhappy for the entire duration of his prime ministership or whether his face just naturally looks like that. Regardless of whether or not he expressed it facially, his time in the Top Job was characterised by a push-and-pull between his former reputation as something of a ‘moderate’ Lib and a desire to appease the far-right wing of the party so that he wasn’t forced to walk the plank for saying rude things about coal (which, obviously, he did not do enough).

A general rule of thumb is that the first thing politicians want to do after stepping out of the spotlight is to try take control of the narrative of their legacy. Usually, they do this by writing a memoir, in which they carefully detail how they were right about everything and everyone else was wrong. Often they try and rehabilitate their image by becoming more outspoken on issues that they toed the line on while in a position of power. For example, you could look at Julia Gillard coming out in support of marriage equality after opposing it while PM or, in sort of the inverse of that, you could look at former Labor leader Mark Latham leaning in to being an ultra-conservative toilet.

Turnbull, who spent the last few years eating shit on TV, is now making the transition into a messy bitch who loves drama, likely in the hopes of making people forget that he was just kind of a limp turd. Now that he doesn’t have a) the power to do anything or b) the likes of George Christensen or Eric Abetz breathing down his neck, he’s more than happy to wild out about the “ideology and innumerate idiocy” of the “fossil fuel lobby and their apologists“:

I wonder how much this was weighing on Turnbull’s mind when the Liberal Party accepted over $500,000 in donations from the fossil fuel industry while he was prime minister in 2017 – 2018.

Again, now that he’s absolutely powerless to do anything about it, Turnbull is also happy to weigh in on the Liberal Party’s gender imbalance. Speaking at Oxford University on International Women’s Day, Turnbull said that the party “absolutely” has a women problem, and suggested that a 50/50 quota on preselection panels was the way to address it. Compare and contrast this with what he said about this while he was prime minister, denying that the party had a problem with gender balance and claiming that a quota system would not work.

He has also been publicly critical of the party’s decision to oust him, quite confidently claiming that they made a huge mistake in doing so. Turnbull told the BBC that he was overthrown because his opponents believed he would win the election. “As I said at the time it was essentially a form of madness that occurred, whipped up internally and also amplified by voices in the media,” he said last week. “Basically, you could argue that their concern was not that I’d lose the election but rather that I’d win it.

He reckons this has backfired spectacularly for them: “Normally when you replace a leader, you replace the unpopular person whose fate is sealed with somebody who is much more popular and gives you a chance at winning. That was not what happened.

The party on any of the objective indications is polling in a worse position than it was in August, I mean you can’t deny that’s a fact.

And, of course, who can forget when Turnbull unconvincingly brushed off questions about why he was following the Vote Tony Out Instagram account:

It’s yet to be seen whether this will work out for him or whether he will just be remembered as a PM that didn’t do much of anything and was pissed off about it the whole time.

Image: Getty Images / Stefan Postles