Even typing those words has an unreal feeling. Will he come back? Will his poisonous personality rear up out of the darkness? Will he make a miraculous comeback? Or will he pull the pin on his parliamentary career, and move to the U.S. where some believe he belongs?
Some might find such trepidation, caused by one very unimpressive individual to be over-wrought, but it is no exaggeration to describe him as a catastrophe dodged.
The single worst prime minister in our history, aided and abetted by the most aimless, and spineless collection of chancers and rent-seekers ever gathered. And yet he went close to setting up a government which was almost impossible to remove.
The power of the Murdoch press pack is still very much in evidence in Australia, but the rise of the independent media, and the very powerful effect of the twittersphere, undermined what looked like a forever government.
Anthony Albanese’s day 1 failure to name the unemployment figure also gave rise to fears that Labor’s run would be sabotaged. The performance of the ABC and its political commentators was woeful, probably fuelled by the constant threats of funding cuts, and the intimidation by the ministry.
But failures in disaster management, naked vote-buying which favoured, as always, LNP electorates; the performance of electoral liabilities like Matt Canavan and George Christensen was a reminder of how low our democracy had fallen.
On any measure now the opposition will be made up of the remnants of the shattered Liberal Party, and also by those in the National Party who escaped annihilation by the skin of their teeth, but are too obtuse to know that their time must be nearly up.
Peter Dutton is so spectacularly unsuitable as a leader of anything, that it immediately forces one to cast around for something, anyone, to present an alternative government. Of course looking at Dutton’s performance since rising to the leadership could fill one with despair.
Instead of looking contrite and accepting the crushing verdict of the voters, his first words as opposition leader were to suggest that he would be ‘on hand’ to clean up Labor’s “inevitable mess” in 2025.
No sense of looking for redemption. No shame regarding his own failures, from his first days as a minister. No embarrassment regarding Australia’s fall from grace within the international community. No regrets about the fate of refugees, stranded and victimised by a series of bullies, as Morrison allowed his cabinet to participate in some group cruelty.
Appointing Angus Taylor as the Treasury shadow serves to highlight the lack of able members to choose from. His known difficulty with numbers, a la Clover Moore, and also emissions reduction, and his vulnerability on matters of integrity regarding water related matters, means that possibly the most important role in opposition is being filled by someone who will struggle, especially against such a polished performer as Jim Chalmers.
There was never any acknowledgement that the election was fought on climate action, fixing corruption and a demand for honest government. Every action the LNP took, from the botched pre-selections in New South Wales, to the last minute weaponisation of prejudice against trans-gender kids, to the memories of Robodebt, added up to a tone-deaf government which people did not just want gone, but one that many actually feared.
The only possible excuse for the conscious bastardry shown by the LNP through nine long years is that they were all struck with a group hysteria, in which they lost their minds, and their moral compasses, in the naked arrogance of never-ending power.
That is why so many in the community, with little or no interest in politics, finally woke up to the nasty excesses, the blame shifting and the outright theft, and mis-use of taxpayers’ funds.
How can we be expected to accept members of parliament with the obvious character flaws of some of the casualties of ‘the reckoning’? For such it was.
We woke up that the leader was from a religious cult, who only recently admitted, through a ‘sermon’ he gave at Margaret Court’s very own church, that he doesn’t believe in government, and thus does not believe in democracy.
His playbook was spectacularly unsuited to Australian conditions. We are not a nation of religious bigots. We are not a nation of patriarchal misogynists. We are a nation which has always honoured the principles of fairness and justice before the law.
We have always believed that our representatives must act in a manner befitting their high status, and the rewards which accrue to politicians.
Morrison and his ‘vandals’ trashed the conventions, laying bare the lack of regulation and accountability, which had never been so nakedly exposed as it was by the behaviour of the LNP government.
If you are confronted by visions of Barnaby Joyce, apparently the worse for wear railing about whatever the issue of the day was, then Australia’s voters decided to disempower this collection of misfits, and to give the other team a go.
Anthony Albanese is not much of a speaker, and he can stumble on a simple answer, but he appears to be decent, caring, and competent. These qualities are in short supply, and especially on the opposition front bench.
Simon Birmingham is what I would call an old fashioned Liberal. He appears to be decent, caring, and competent. I expect that in the not too distant future, the LNP rump, following a couple of disastrous polls on Dutton and Ley, will decide the neo-liberal far right experiment has failed, and will attempt to reset the coalition.
Sadly the coalition parties have been stripped of talent, and so we could see a Labor government for years to come. That poses a series of future problems. A good government needs a good opposition. Morrison has pretty much made that impossible.