PM Turnbull battles the flu

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during a press conference in Sydney on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares Malcolm Turnbull takes a break during the press conference. Photo: Andrew Meares

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Meares

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He can’t say he wasn’t warned. Criss-crossing the country for an eight week election campaign in winter was always going to bring risks.

Now Malcolm Turnbull – sometimes unkindly accused of living in a different world to the ordinary man – has succumbed to that most common of ailments: the flu.

The Prime Minister first showed signs of being crook on Saturday, when reporters noted a distinct croakiness in his voice. He probably should have been rugged up in bed with chicken soup and a wheat bag that night.

Instead, he had to soldier on and host the Prime Minister’s Olympic Dinner in Melbourne for Australian athletes headed off to Rio. Taking a sick day simply isn’t an option when you are running the country and an election is hanging in the balance.

On Sunday Turnbull appeared worse and inquired at his press conference whether anyone had any good flu remedies.

A day later he still had a spluttering cough, looked flat and sounded as hoarse as Janis Joplin. But he insisted to those who asked: “I sound worse than I feel.”

The timing could hardly have been worse for the PM: his sickness has coincided with a standalone appearance on the ABC’s Q&A program, a gruelling experience at the best of times.

One can only hope the prime ministerial medico has some appropriately innovative remedies to get him through these last two, crucial weeks of the campaign. 


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