Executive editor Michelle Pini discusses the Morrison Government’s disregard for critical issues as it continues to favour “talking points” over action.
WHEN YOUR only plan is a plan about how to avoid discussing the lack of a plan, the descent into farce is so complete, you may as well embrace it. And that is exactly what the Morrison Government has been doing.
As reports surfaced that the Prime Minister’s office accidentally sent out its confidential chief talking points – most of which were summarily destroyed by a well-considered Guardian report – Scott Morrison has been hamming it up at every opportunity.
Not for Scott the options of informed discussion, of directly addressing concerns, or even of answering a question occasionally. No, the PM’s painstakingly thought-out and deliberate game plan is to avoid and distract the nation at all costs. As though we are toddlers threatening to throw a tantrum at the next inconvenient moment.
Many politicians have used the art of deflection effectively, but none has embraced the farcical with quite as much commitment as this PM.
THE WATER BOY
During his brief time as Prime Minister, Morrison has so far hammed it up for the cameras on innumerable occasions — most recently, as self-appointed water boy during a football game in Fiji. At this event, Scott “Water Boy” Morrison, ran onto the field, barefoot, for reasons not even the commentators could fathom, delivering bottles of water to the Aussie rugby league team and smiling idiotically at the cameras. To round off the ridiculous display, Scott was filmed channelling Les Patterson, downing tinnies with his legs spread wide as unidentified wet patches stained his crotch.
Revolting? It was. Unbefitting a prime minister? Yes. But distracting? Absolutely!
And there was much from which Morrison needed to distract the media and the nation. He was in Fiji to discuss his Government’s internationally condemned and indefensible climate stance, which is contributing to the Pacific nations’ decline.
THE PIE EATING JOKER
At various times, Scott has taken cameras into his evangelical church while he sang and waved his arms about, boarded a big bus – Hanson-style – on the election trail, while actually flying everywhere in comfort, eaten many pies, been booed at sporting events, attributed the success of a horse as the best example of a “fair go” and publicly addressed the mothers of sporting heroes, with whom he was unacquainted — all for the benefit of the increasingly compliant and obviously amused mainstream media.
All these Government stunts deserve our derision but they have also managed to confuse and befuddle everyone faster than we could protest, But, the economy is actually tanking! Or, Why was Brian Houston on the White House guest list?
A WINNING CLOWN
And let us not forget, this all spin-no action approach has been a winning one. The Government won the last election with just this strategy. Armed with only one stated policy (tax cuts), a well-practised attack game aimed at the Opposition’s policy program and a baseball-capped joker as its leader, the Coalition did not talk about policy. It did not even make a pretence of having a policy platform. And yet it won a third term of government.
The Morrison Government’s game plan has also since succeeded in bluffing the Labor Opposition – a party that appears more and more defeated with every ill-conceived capitulation to the Government’s agenda. Examples include tax cuts, the Adani mine, emissions targets, metadata retention and on and on.
Dissenters have occasionally come forth but these were swiftly and effectively silenced via media raids, illegal ransacking of union offices and continual legislative affronts to freedoms. And, of course, the fear agenda was again wheeled out and routinely fuelled for good measure. Finally, these tactics were overseen by the ever-menacing and incongruously named attack dog, the Home Affairs Department, headed by that master of fear and Minister of “No-Compassion”, Peter Dutton.
THE DISTRACTED NATION
And listed below, resplendent with the Government’s glory of incompetence are a few major issues that continue to be ignored as it continues to favour “talking points” over action.
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