At Media140, Aussie Opposition Leader disses Prime Minister’s love of Powerpoint: “It’s about engaging audiences, not reading slides”.

There’s a live Media140 conference occurring in Sydney, Australia following the international model of other such conferences looking at the changing world of social media, including the impact of Twitter, facebook, MySpace and lesser known brands.

Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, is providing a live media coverage, here: and the conference is scheduled to continue through Thursday into Friday (AEDT – remember, we’re 11 hours ahead of GMT).

There’s a live twitter feed occurring, and some very savvy and witty twitterers are expressing themselves.

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Australian Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull dissing Powerpoint

I just tuned in to hear a Q and A between the Media140 audience and the Australian Federal Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull. Turnbull, a lawyer, made his millions providing legal advice for some of Australia’s media owners, before investing in an ISP, and eventually a leading merchant bank, before being elected to the Australian Parliament, and eventually the leadership of the Liberal Party, now in opposition after eleven years in power.

Turnbull is a very switched and engaging free enterprise marketer, and very hip when it comes to social media compared to most other politicians.

In response to a question this morning about engaging with his audience on twitter, it didn’t take long before Turnbull drifted from twitter to discussing the pros and cons of giving speeches, of which he does scores each year. What was thrilling to hear was Turnbull debating whether to read a speech, give a Powerpoint, or to have eye contact with his audience.

Turnbull made it very clear how important it was to maintain eye contact and thus engagement with his audience, and thus while he might write out his speeches, his usual preference is to put it aside and speak directly to the audience. To drive his point home, he dissed those who he implied over-use Powerpoint to get their message across: the current Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, a former career diplomat, and the former federal treasurer, Peter Costello, just retired and seen to be undermining recently Turnbull’s leadership.

While many doubt whether Turnbull will remain as Opposition Leader when the next election occurs next year, it’s certainly rewarding to know there is one federal politician who understands how to better engage with audiences, whether live in front of a gathering, or via social media.

(UPDATE, December 2, 2009 : Malcolm Turnbull was disposed of as Oppositional Leader yesterday, primarily on his principled stance on man-made global warming which his party in the majority couldn’t abide. The new Opposition Leader will bring a very different range of views to the moderate ones espoused by Turnbull. Think of America or Australia going back into the 1950s)

Others on the twitter coverage were quick to pick up on Turnbull’s Powerpoint commentary:

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Ah, at least Keynote got a mention!

Once more, the lively conference continues into Friday, local Aussie time.

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