Politics Opinion

Scott Morrison's Medusa complex

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Lack of empathy is one of the key factors in Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decline in popularity (Screenshot via YouTube)

It has become obvious that our Prime Minister suffers from the “Medusa complex”, a syndrome typified by the inability to address any issue directly.

Instead, he sees everything through the reflection in the mirror of his own electoral shield. His avoidance of anything to do with good governance reveals the extent to which this syndrome has infected him.

His early symptoms were revealed when faced by strong women at the March 4 Justice rally — he couldn’t meet them and effectively turned to stone. The complex was earlier apparent when he used the smoke of the bushfires to disappear to Hawaii, thus avoiding the problem. Vaccine strollout? Again, missing in action, little care, no responsibility, nothing to do with him.

To Medusa sufferers, problems are like a tangle of snakes (or hoses in Mr Morrison's case), none of which they wish to pick up. The PM’s symptoms surface on a national level when he sidesteps, looks the other way, blusters, belittles and repackages the issues. Yet, like Perseus of old, he wants to present himself as a hero, saviour and protector. But it’s a marketing ploy, image without substance. With his eyes on focus groups, the PM uses his marketing shield to protect and reflect himself and his Party. In short, Morrison is a no-action hero.

He persists with the idea that appearing heroic and protective is the solution to his own problem of getting re-elected. Scott Morrison has made self-interest, pork barrelling, rewarding Party operatives and satisfying his sponsors central to his Government’s existence. So, Treasury expenditure seems to follow a Hansel and Gretel trail of announcements.

Outsourced and out to lunch, the Coalition seems to be both a policy and ethics-free zone. The L-NP has ripped away rules, legislation, red tape, checks and balances and replaced them with spin, secrecy and self-interest. This PM, like no other, has demonstrated the need for a Federal ICAC and the resurrection of a strong independent public service that serves the public. His reliance on political hacks to guide the nation’s social, economic, legal, political, security and environmental policies and investments is deplorable on every level. His issue is avoiding the issue.

Worse still, Mr Morrison has chosen to beat that drum of potential conflict with China rather than use mature diplomacy to address the issues that have arisen with our major trading partner. Second rate deputy sheriff acts, nuclear announcements and a surrounding cover of flags, military or Border Force may be popular in his chosen focus groups, but undermining and damaging Australia’s international relationships to build an election fear campaign is not in Australia’s best interests.

Years of building a positive relationship with China are too easily being thrown out the window. These are not stone warriors we are dealing with and more effort needs to be made to re-establish what overall has been a mutually beneficial relationship.

Unsurprisingly, the drumbeat we are now hearing has nothing to do with China — it’s the all-consuming and expensive sound of the electoral cycle. While reportedly preparing to spend billions appeasing the National Party, the PM wants nothing to do with aged care, vaccines, quarantine, climate change, NDIS, domestic violence, gender inequality, community housing, the Statement from the Heart, universities and, of course, bushfires. Leave all that to private enterprise.

He leads a can’t do – and won’t do – Government willing to throw bags of taxpayer money and exemptions at select enterprises rather than meeting the challenges of the future. Going forward, our Perseus is not looking to solve these problems or offer us a nation-building plan, he simply wants to get elected. His outsourcing knows no limits.

So, what can we expect? Will he bedazzle the nation by rolling out the election pork barrel full of nationalism, fear, hot air, gas, clean coal, largesse to the faithful, lashings of commerce in confidence for business buddies, with a dessert of targeted grants to improve voter digestion? Or will the voters see him for the hollow vessel he is?

So many challenges on the horizon and our Perseus and his Cabinet are at the porcelain, admiring themselves in the electoral mirror, set on playing a game of pretend leadership and political posturing. Interestingly, with debt and deficit in the rear-view mirror, billions to waste and no federal ICAC on the table, his electoral stakes could not be better.

Geoffrey Dyer is a retired casual teacher with 41 years of experience in the classroom. Subjects taught include English, Modern and Ancient History, Society and Culture, Aboriginal Studies.

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