Liberals on a winner: Cusack

THE appointment of Malcolm Turnbull to lead the Federal Liberal Party will revitalise the Opposition and give it a good chance of winning back government in 2010, Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack said.

Mr Turnbull, the former leader of the Australian Republican Movement, yesterday replaced fellow former Howard government minister Brendan Nelson as party leader after weeks of speculation over the party's leadership.

Mr Nelson announced on Monday night he would call for a vote on the leadership, only two hours after Liberal backbencher Wilson Tuckey lashed out at speculation, saying anyone who tried to roll the party's leader was a 'political juvenile'.

The speculation ended late yesterday morning with Mr Turnbull winning a narrow victory over Mr Nelson in the party room.

Ms Cusack, who worked with Mr Turnbull during last year's Federal election campaign and describes him as a friend, yesterday said she understood the reluctance of some Liberal MPs to put the former banker in charge of the party.

However she said Mr Turnbull's commitment to being a leader who consulted closely with his party should settle those jitters.

Ms Cusack said anyone who thought Mr Turnbull arrogant was wrong.

“He's very unassuming,” Ms Cusack said.

“He's not arrogant, but sometimes, with a mind that moves that quickly, maybe he can give that impression.

“I think there is no doubt that Malcolm Turnbull is one of the smartest and experienced people in Australian politics and it's exciting to have an opportunity to see how good he is.”

Ms Cusack described the new Federal Liberal leader as a thinker who was not afraid of exploring new ideas or of abandoning them if they were not going to work.

Page Labor MP Janelle Saffin said voters would face the same Liberal Party, regardless of who was leading it.

“They are the party of WorkChoices, who walked away from funding dental health, who left Australia unprepared to meet the challenges we face with climate change,” Ms Saffin said.

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