Scott Morrison has somehow imposed himself on the Australian consciousness like an annoying jingle, or even like that awful and embarrassing uncle who continues to turn up at family gatherings. We can now include Rome and Glasgow amongst the places where he has purported to represent us, so that most of the thinking universe now sees Australians as of a kind, throwbacks to the types of characters made ‘famous’ in the Adventures of Barry McKenzie era, of our cultural cringe.
His personality is endlessly grating, like the boy with a chip on his shoulder; he is always looking for the verbal trap, and his pugnacity is more suited to a rugby field than to a conference. Talk about being labelled by how you look, and by how you speak. Many of us expected him to grow into the job, as some have in the past, but he is permanently stuck in a battle to the death, with the forces of liberality, of reason, of social and political progress.
We are endlessly naive in Australia, in that we believe in the inherent fitness for purpose of our institutions, and the innate moral character of our representatives. Morrison has upended our moral certainties, because he is without conscience, without memory, and without a policy purpose. He also lacks a stabilising presence in his life.
His friends include Brian Houston, who is under investigation, and sidelined from leadership of his father’s church, for allegedly covering up his father’s sexual abuse of children; Stuart Robert, who has seen time on the sidelines himself, because of his own problems with record-keeping and conflicts of interest; and Alex Hawke, a man who believes that “The two greatest forces for good in human history are capitalism and Christianity, and when they’re blended it’s a very powerful duo.” (Sydney Morning Herald)
We have all heard about Scott Morrison’s Cabinet, mostly because they are almost invisible, they are constantly changing roles, and also because the Cabinet seems to have no coherence, no sense of passion for governing, and only one defining rule – follow Morrison, and repeat his talking points, until your voice hurts. So no Minister is respected, no Minister is seen as being on top of his or her portfolio, no Minister is seen as a rival to Morrison, and the Agenda is virtually non-existent.
Cut the public service to the bone, sling cash at the world’s largest consultancies, privatise every possible service and watch it slide into decay and despair, look after your mates. Never apologise, if in doubt call an enquiry, ignore the vast majority of recommendations from the myriad Royal Commissions afoot, and for God’s sake do not introduce a Federal Integrity Commission.
Never admit that you once knew Christian Porter, but defend to the death his right to accept large amounts of money from anyone, as long as he promised to not divulge. Continue to demonise all refugees, except possibly white farmers from South Africa.
The Glasgow performance
Morrison’s performance in Glasgow and Rome was pathetic. He behaved like a thug, first of all by arriving in both cities, with nothing to show the other leaders, for the six long years since we signed up to Paris. As unashamedly as he had presented us with empty brochures, he did the same to them. Like us, they were underwhelmed, but too polite to really say so. Take it as read that our country has taken another reputational hit.
And never forget Angus Taylor. He delivers misleading statistics and rubbish conclusions with a passionate fervour. His background as a management consultant sees him with only one forward gear – manic, and no reverse gear. He was actually in Glasgow dealing with the other rogue nations, promoting fossil fuels, far into the future. It is totally amazing that Morrison and Taylor were running this scam, even as the world watched.
The French fiasco
Emmanuel Macron is still reeling from Morrison’s clumsy lack of style. First he meets with the French, and deceives them until, at the last moment, he dumps them for the Americans and the British. So, knowing how the French feel personally about him, he takes the first opportunity to speak to Macron, by sneaking up behind the French President, and touching him from behind, unannounced. Very like that annoying uncle I mentioned earlier. And laying on of hands? Not cool, Scott. We generally seek consent before touching one another.
Later Mr Macron asserts that Morrison is a liar, and instead of turning the other cheek, (after all, Macron was speaking the truth) he argues the point, and then selectively leaks some texts, supposedly strengthening his position. So we are in Glasgow, with the world watching, and Morrison is behaving as if he is involved in a factional turf war in Sydney, back-grounding his opponent, who is, did I mention this already, the President of France.
Do not believe for a moment that Morrison has had a change of heart. He wants only one thing, and that is re-election. Nothing else matters, and he will subvert COP26, Parliament, his own Government, even Sky News if he has to. The climate change policies he has pretended to create are meaningless, and his Government knows it.