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Politics Editorial

From vaccines to Afghanistan, Scotty does nothing

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's now legendary lack of action and inability to keep Australians safe may have finally sealed his fate, writes managing editor Michelle Pini.

WHEN the Prime Minister famously said "it’s not a race", he was referring, of course, to the coronavirus vaccine rollout, and it is highly likely that that particular comment, unlike so many disingenuous ones, was sincere.

This is not because he was trying to provide accurate information about vaccination rates, but because his Government’s bungling of the rollout had not yet become an issue that had entered Scott Morrison's personal sphere of concern, from which he views all problems and decisions. The PM, it seems, approaches everything from the perspective of a supreme race which eclipses all else — the race to accumulate only personal gain for Scott Morrison.

Certainly, when it comes to the vaccine rollout, quarantine facilities, evacuating Australians stranded in Afghanistan and a plethora of other vitally important issues, there has been no sense of urgency from Scott Morrison and his Government. Indeed, the only thing that managed to get the PM out of his banana lounge and moving at all was the mere suggestion that "Gold Standard" Gladys might have to put NSW into lockdown. But more about that later.

Back in March, when he was busy making everyone feel downright silly for worrying about getting vaccinated against a disease that had already killed 2,642,673 people worldwide, Morrison had not read the room correctly. This is because if he had, he would have seen that a flippant comment which compared the health of all Australians to a childish game would not bode well. It especially would not bode well once the polity realised the “race” had already been run and Australia had lost. And it definitely would not go down well once it became abundantly clear that we were losing the game anyway because our Prime Minister had refused to put the health of the nation above his own personal race, based purely on self-interest.

And, while Australians like to bag politicians as being narcissistic and “all the same”, we also like to believe that though they might all want the kudos and we may not agree with their ideology, those politicians who make it to the top job are still driven by an overarching moral compass and the desire to benefit the nation. We like to think that this still informs and shapes the personal ideology and decisions of our leaders, even when we may not agree with them.

Scott Morrison, however, is in a class of his own.

This is a man who was happy to ignore the health advice, telling people to go to the footy and denouncing mask-wearing and lockdowns until, of course, his supercilious attitude began to affect his popularity.

He is a PM who makes reckless decisions, impacting all of us, based on a whim, such as turning down offers of vaccines, but then refusing to admit responsibility for his mistake and blaming it on anyone and everyone within striking distance.

Just this week, Morrison gave the lily-livered excuse that Australians were being left behind to be tortured and murdered in Afghanistan because the situation had moved too quickly for the Government to respond. Forget that Bill Shorten had been calling this out since 2018. Never mind that Morrison's Government didn’t even bother to reply to requests from those attempting to evacuate our soldiers, our translators and our diplomats. And we’re expected to just ignore the fact that anyone just watching the news could only conclude that it would soon be too late to evacuate people.

Morrison is a person who yelled and swore at the NSW Treasurer during a private meeting because Dominic Perrottet wanted to increase financial support during COVID-19 to help families in lockdown. And this is just what he does to fellow Liberal Party state politicians who dare suggest anything that might be helpful for the general populace.

State Labor Party politicians trying to garner Federal Government support can expect constant undermining and flat refusals of additional assistance, as has been the case with respect to Victoria throughout that state’s extended lockdown.

No one seems safe from the PM’s wrath if they dare challenge him. Even his once favoured "Gold Standard" Premier Gladys Berejiklian is dispensable when her policies do not follow Morrison’s instructions to the letter. And even when his instructions do appear to be precisely heeded, should those plans turn sour – as with the latest “mockdown” in NSW, where loose rules and unclear guidelines led to the current out-of-control scenario –  then Morrison is prepared to sacrifice even the teacher's pet, it seems.

All has not been well in neoliberal paradise ever since Berejiklian’s self-professed "superior" contact tracing refused to live up to its “Gold Standard” halo. When Gladys’ half-hearted lockdown attempts went south (literally, in the case of Victoria) with cases soaring, Morrison did what he does best. He rebranded the lockdown response, the one he opposed, as being his idea in the first place.

Well, even gold standard buddies have their limits, it seems, and Gladys was quoted as 'losing her shit' with Morrison’s claims that she ignored his earlier lockdown advice. And this being reported by the News Corp rags, no less, may well be the catalyst for the beginning of the end of conservative rule in Australia. Certainly, the polls, if you believe they have anything of value to add to the debate, show a landslide victory for the ALP if an election were to be held now. 

Because, as avid readers of Independent Australia know, you can be a Liberal Party leader and make as many mistakes as you like without fear of ever losing your job, you can even do absolutely nothing, like Scotty — as long as Rupert is in your corner, of course. But when the machinations of Rupert’s empire start to turn, no amount of reorganising the party room rules so you can’t be knifed in the back will save you from your certain and unceremonious fate — your days are numbered.

This is an abridged version of an editorial originally published in the IA's weekly newsletter. Subscribe now to read the full version online in the IA members-only area.

You can follow managing editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9. Follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and on Facebook HERE.

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