PM Promotes Philanthropy
Tuesday, 22nd September 2015 at 12:51 pm
New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed that he both encourages and practices philanthropy because he has had a lucky life, and the PM’s official residence, Kirribilli House will be used to support good charitable causes.
In an interview on ABC 7.30 Report he told journalist Leigh Sales that while life had dealt him some good cards, “the truth is I have been extraordinarily lucky”.
Turnbull was asked what he would say to Australians who might think that he has had everything that he's ever wanted.
“I have had to struggle in my life. I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, by any means. But, you know, the reality is that even if you're born with brains, with a higher-than-average intelligence, that is as – in a sense, as undeserved as somebody who inherits a billion dollars. The fact is we've all got to recognise that much of our good fortune is actually good fortune,” Turnbull said.
“Of course you work hard… I remember when I was a partner of Goldman Sachs in New York, very successful investment bank, everyone was earning very big money, the chairman, the Chief Executive of the firm gave a sort of pep talk to the partners and he said, you know, ‘We're doing well. We're making lots of money 'cause we work hard and we deserve it’.
“And I said to him afterwards, just quietly, ‘You know, there are taxi drivers in this city that work much longer hours than anyone does here and they don't earn very much at all.’ So, the truth is, we don't really deserve our good fortune.
“And that's why…if you do well, you've got to give something back. That's why I encourage people to be generous. That's why I encourage and practise philanthropy.”
Turnbull said every Australian has had a different experience, and an effort should be made to understand the situation of others.
“The important thing is to have the emotional intelligence and the empathy and the imagination that enables you to walk in somebody else's shoes, to be able to sit down with them on a train or on a – in the street, hear their story and have the imagination to understand how they feel,” he said.
“Emotional intelligence is probably the most important asset for – certainly for anyone in my line of work.”
Turnbull said he and his wife Lucy would not be moving into Prime Minister’s official Sydney residence at Kirribilli House but they would continue to live in their own Sydney home.
“Kirribilli House, as you know, has been used by Prime Ministers and we'll obviously use that for official entertaining and it's very valuable,” he said.
“It's a great location to use for charities and opportunities to support good causes.”
From left: Greg Hutchinson, ACF, The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP and Richard Murray, JB Hi-Fi at the campaign launch.
Philanthropy Australia’s Acting CEO Chris Wootton said it was pleasing to hear that the new Prime Minister is a passionate advocate for philanthropy.
“We warmly acknowledge that he and Mrs Turnbull are both committed philanthropists themselves. We encourage all Australians to be philanthropists, and especially those in our community that have the ability to give back,” Wootton said.
“Through initiatives such as the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership, which the new Prime Minister will chair, we have the opportunity to implement policies and grow philanthropy in Australia to the next level.
“There are some smaller changes which will make a difference, as proposed in Philanthropy Australia’s ‘Early Wins’ submission to the Partnership. But there are also some potential big wins which can be delivered – these include introducing new giving structures, implementing a better framework for international philanthropy, and providing certainty for the sector by announcing the retention of the ACNC.”
The Australian Charities Fund (ACF) described Malcolm Turnbull as a workplace giving supporter.
“ACF was delighted to have Mr. Turnbull launch its One Million Donors campaign last year. We wish him well in his new role, and look forward to working with his government to accelerate the uptake of workplace giving,” CEO of ACF, Jenny Geddes, said.
The One Million Donors campaign was created by ACF to raise awareness amongst Australians that giving through their places of work is the most cost effective way to support charity.
“With a goal of having one million Australians donating through their pre-tax pay by 2020, reaching the target would see workers and their employers contributing over $200 million each year to charity,” Geddes said.
At the 2014 launch at Canberra’s Parliament House, Turnbull urged business leaders to support the movement, and to build their company brand and reputation through workplace giving.