I was on the Malcolm Turnbull bandwagon.

I was one of those people saying for years that he would make a good prime minister.

He represented a more progressive section of the Liberal party - supporting marriage equality, a republic and even splitting from his colleagues on the climate change issue.

The silver fox's eloquence was part of it too - he knew how to work a crowd and seemed to take his audience along for the ride. True leadership qualities.

So it's fair to say I was cautiously optimistic for our country's future when Turnbull replaced the onion-eating, DT-wearing Tony Abbott.

We might finally emerge from the dark ages of gender-based gaffes, Queen worshiping and have a shot at #loveislove that marred Abbott's reign, I thought.

Despite being a swinging voter with no allegiance to either side, I had no doubt Turnbull would win this election - he seemed to bridge the gap between the two parties.

Even members of my family, who are generally staunch Labor supporters, didn't mind Turnbull.

He was a Liberal leader that Labor voters could tolerate - a self-made man with the smarts drawn from a career in business and law.

Well-connected and well-informed, he knew how to build something from nothing.

This bloke might know a thing or two about running this country.

That was until I returned from four months abroad to hear his strong, optimistic brand had been crushed.

"Malcolm's changed", everyone moaned.

"He's just a party puppet now."

Turnbull had gone from being a shoo-in to 50-50% polls predicting exactly what is now likely - a hung parliament.
What did I miss? Where did he go wrong?

He was forced to stick tightly to deals made with the party conservatives when he chucked Tony Abbott from the top job in September.

In keeping those policies intact, he had to ditch some of his own.

He broke the faith the Australian public had in him.

Hammering home the "jobs and economy" mantra did not resonate with disillusioned and cynical voters.

They couldn't see through the bluster to understand how exactly he might achieve these lofty promises.

Any talk of resuscitating Tony Abbott in the wake of this election is simply ridiculous - especially when he had a 9% swing against him on first preference votes.

If Turnbull cannot form a government, majority or otherwise, we will have missed out on a potentially outstanding prime minister.

And we'll have no one to blame except Turnbull himself.


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