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Morrison braves the NSW Electoral Labyrinth Of Doom

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(Image by Dan Jensen)

Prithee, gentle reader, hear my tale of valour, sacrifice and abandoned political talking points — for the path to victory for Scott "Sir Fibsalot" Morrison is a narrow and treacherous one.

He has been forsaken by the West, where he spectacularly failed to breach border walls of their Warrior Lord McGowan. His prospects in the South and South-East are barren, with few seats to conquer and many held under siege. Even the historically pleasant Land of Queens offers little succour. Never before has his Kingdom seemed so under threat.

The only way forward is to lead his forces through New South Wales, where he can still see a possibility of picking up enough seats to limp to victory — but to do so, he has to defeat the Five Dread Perils of NSW Electoral Doom!

Peril #1: The armies of climate independence!

Morrison must turn his resources to winning seats from his Labor foes and thus must not tarry nor weaken his forces in sandbagging the fiefdoms that should be his by right.

However, thanks to the growing dissatisfaction with the Coalition's proposed peat-led recovery and insistence by many in his court that climate change is a vile hex that can only be undone by digging for the Amulet of Clean Coal (prophesied to be hidden somewhere in the Galilee Basin), many of Morrison's supporters are being swayed by new voices claiming that we should follow a bold environmental policy of “Not Setting Everything On Fire”.

These independent candidates are also well trained and resourced thanks to groups like Climate 200, meaning that it will be harder to grind them into dust by the sheer weight of corflutes. Nevertheless, if some of those safest Liberal towers fall, Morrison's kingdom shall, too.

Peril #2: The zombie hordes of Abbott!

Years ago, the deposed Mad King Abbott attempted to wreak vengeance on his usurper, Lord Turnbull-On-Sea, by changing the branch voting rules to demand plebiscites, in order that Abbott loyalists would never lose a preselection battle again while also removing the ability for leaders to parachute preferred candidates into seats.

Both kings are long since gone into the realm of legend, but now a bunch of key NSW seats are still without candidates because a) Morrison doesn't want to run plebiscites he's definitely going to lose to more organised faction branch-stackers, b) the NSW State Government is furious about attempts to steal State MPs to plug federal gaps and c) Scott's chosen champion to settle this fight is a man uniquely loathed by just about everyone in the NSW Liberal Party.

And that man is...

Peril #3: The blind swordsman of Mitchell!

Morrisons centre-right faction is commanded by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, a man once praised by Alan Jones as “a cancer on the Liberal Party”.

The faction is small and relatively weak and historically has thrived by playing the Hard Right and the Moderate factions off against one another. In fact, almost like one might do in a leadership contest where one might deliberately set Defence Minister Peter Dutton up against Julie Bishop in a leadership ballot first to overthrow Malcolm Turnbull and then scurry up the middle to claim the crown — but what shameful knave would consider such a base and ignoble strategy?

The problem is that the Hard Right faction is led by now-NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and the Moderates are led by NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean — who happen to be old comrades-in-arms from way back.

So, they're very keen to keep their high-performing MPs and not have the feds recruit them to their troubled crusade (and Hawke has been facing his own factional battle in Mitchell, just to really rub that in).

Morrison must trust that Hawke will act with guile and precision, instead of just flailing around wildly trying to hit something.

Peril #4: The battle for the Winelands!

Morrison's relentless dig-lust would normally be a welcome sight to the people of the Hunter, but there is a battle brewing (well, vinifying) between those who would like the region to be a place of peace, wine and gourmet tourism, and those who would like it to be a smouldering hole in the ground.

The winemakers of the region are taking action to protect the water and soil against incursions by foreign mining giants, which puts brave Fibsalot in the awkward position of having to choose between one large and shrinking export market and one larger and growinger one. And at this point, they're toasting to his defeat.

Peril #5: The plague lies of the Outer West!

Morrison's path to victory relies upon his Party being hailed as the conquering heroes and saviours of the serfs and tradies of Sydney's outer western suburbs — the very people that Morrison has declared his natural allies.

So, it's possibly a bit of a problem that they've just learned that the abdicated Queen of the State had deliberately restricted them while allowing freedom to other, wealthier areas during the dark times of plague, despite the advice from official court healers being that the Western Lands should absolutely not be singled out for uniquely harsh treatment.

Forsooth, these are dark days for a leader who can barely hold a sword, much less a hose.

If Morrison can triumph over all of these massed foes then perhaps he may yet snatch another miracle victory from the very gods themselves and victoriously condemn Australia to another three years of his leadership-averse rule.

Unless Queensland's polling doesn't turn around, of course. Then he's fucked.

Andrew P Street is an Adelaide-based, Sydney-built journalist, author, editor and broadcaster and an Independent Australia columnist. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewPStreet.

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