In Australia it is entirely appropriate for a politician to display religiosity in his public, and or private, life. That being said, it is also appropriate, if said religiosity is on public display, for the politician to fully divulge the length and breadth of those beliefs. In that way the electorate has the opportunity to judge whether the individual’s beliefs are acceptable to them, and whether full knowledge would, or could, change voting behaviour.
It also allows the voters to decide whether the politician is ‘fair dinkum’, or merely using his religion for political purposes. No secrets, no surprises, no dissembling.
With that in mind we can now begin to evaluate the Prime Minister’s religious beliefs, because he has taken us into his confidence. He has allowed cameras to film him preaching, and he has described his faith as being an integral part of his persona. He has gradually, since the election win, come out to us, in a curiously suggestive, but coy, way, as if to say “I was always this way, but you chose to ignore it, and now no-one can say he or she wasn’t warned.” He has begun to use biblical imagery, as in the use of “miracle” to describe his election win, and even he “will burn for us”, to describe whatever that meant.
He is strangely ignorant about the Constitution, and has mis-read it in the past. He does not understand s.116, because he reads it as meaning that government in Australia is “not free of religion”, but free. Someone should explain the difference between atheistic and secular, but I cannot imagine anyone in the coalition, or Labor for that matter, who actually understands the difference.
He was described by Laurie Oakes in 2013 as “breathtakingly arrogant” http://Arrogance and obfuscation a bad mix for Scott Morrison in his dealings with the press, and by extension, the Australian people. Recent times have seen a hardening in his apparent resolve to wield power in an unapologetic manner, and without consultation with the people. Perhaps he, and we, can learn from his ‘captain’s call’ to move our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Widespread outrage apparently changed his mind for him, but will public outrage work into the future?
His complete, and seemingly autocratic dismissal of New Zealand’s renewed offer of asylum to 150 of the shattered souls on Manus Island and Nauru, appears to be impulsive (characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation) as defined in vocabulary.com. His explanation for the rejection of the offer appears to be minimalist, at best: “It will weaken border security”.
The offer was first made by former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in February 2013, and accepted by Julia Gillard, before Tony Abbott rescinded the agreement. The offer continues to be made, and has been repeated under his successors, Bill English and Ms Ardern. Many voters consider the treatment of asylum seekers on Pacific islands to be shamefully inhumane and even illegal, but Mr Morrison chose again not to accept the decent solution on offer.
The fact that he ‘hid’ most of his front bench during the last election campaign suggested a degree of introspection, maybe a softening of his belligerence, and an understanding that the coalition, since its move into power under Abbott, had become too right-wing, too prepared to ‘play the man’ in Bill Shorten, too uncaring of those left behind in Australian society. He even called for a new era of cooperation. Could this be the ‘christianisation’ of politics in Australia?
Not likely. His imperial rejection of an increase in the Newstart Allowance is proof that The Prosperity Gospel is the preferred policy document of this government. Remember his “A Fair Go for Those Who Have a Go“.
However, I predict that his resolve will crumble on this point, because an unintended consequence of the rules governing Centrelink allowances in this country is that many older women, too young to qualify for the Aged Pension, are forced onto Newstart, because if they live in a regional town, or they are widowed, or they are unemployed, then they are often homeless, or poor, or forced into slums, because of the fact that the allowance is so low that even that famous egalitarian Barnaby Joyce has twigged that it is not possible to live on $40 a day, and also either obtain a non-existent job, or pay rent, or eat adequately.
This morning on ABC radio, Sabra Lane asked Mathias Cormann if he could live on $40 a day, and after about three excruciating minutes Ms Lane let him off the hook. We have no answer to that question.
The Prime Minister appears to be an autocratic, arrogant person, of immense ambition, and very little discernible compassion for his fellow citizens. He ran a masterful campaign, but he remained what he always was, smug and self-satisfied, a believer in a god who rewards faith with prosperity, and who punishes the weak.
Time will tell whether this government has a heart. I fear not, but you never know. His choice of ministers sends a bleak message however. And prepare for lots of security talk, Peter Dutton protecting us from paedophiles, and photo opportunities for Scomo, with the likes of Donald Trump, and Boris Johnson.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit. Matthew 7:15–20