Malcolm Turnbull Lacks Abbott's 'Sex Appeal' And It's Good

It's what Turnbull didn't say.

11/05/2016 12:51 PM AEST | Updated 25/07/2016 12:40 PM AEST

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is known as the Silver Fox, recognised as one of the more handsome members of parliament, but it was his lack of sex appeal that made headlines on Wednesday.

No, not his own personal lack of sex appeal. As he visited Liberal MP Fiona Scott in her western Sydney seat of Lindsay, it was a lack of the words "sex appeal" -- which Turnbull's predecessor Tony Abbott infamously used to describe the Lindsay MP during the 2013 election campaign -- that grabbed the attention of observers.

On day three of the campaign, after opening the mammoth 54-day tour in Queensland, the PM's entourage rolled into Sydney. First stop was a "Business Women and Working Mothers Forum" in Emu Plains, in the Lindsay electorate held by the Coalition by less than three percent.

Turnbull, who arrived in the key election region on the train, seemed at pains not to repeat Abbott's controversial comments in 2013, where the then-PM described Scott and another female Liberal candidate as "young, feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal."

In one brief press conference, the PM highlighted the contrast between Abbott and himself, describing Scott as "a very experienced businesswoman yourself, highly qualified, master of business administration from the top business school."

"Fiona Scott as I just said, is an outstanding representative for Lindsay. An outstanding representative of this community... She was educated at the University of Western Sydney, where she did a business degree and then as I said, she went on to get an MBA at the top business school in Australia."

"She is a formidable member of our team."

But Scott also faced some curly questions of her own, responding to media reports Abbott loyalists had turned on her because of her support for Turnbull in last September's leadership ballot.

"I don't leak from the party room. I don't intend to start leaking from the party room. I have never disclosed how I voted and frankly I never will," she said, in response to questions over her vote in the ballot. As she continued her answer, Turnbull interrupted her to save her from further questions.

"Let me just say to you those party-room ballots are secret ballots and they're secret for a reason. And so that people can confidentially make a choice," he said.

"What you've said is consistent with that and has the highest integrity."

After the press conference, the drama continued, with reports that a planned street walk was cancelled in the wake of the questioning.

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