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Day to Day Politics: My war with ‘Gunna’ Morrison

June 3 2016

It is fair to say that on Thursday ‘Gunna’ Morrison came out with a proverbial AK47S blazing away at the Labor Party accusing them of a war on anything. In doing so I can only assume, therefore, that he was at war with them.

At his press conference bullets sprayed from his mouth with nefarious animosity like an Iraq house invasion. Now I know that in a war zone we cannot always expect men to act rationally. And so it was with ‘Gunna’ He disregarded any safety for those around him and tossed hand grenades like confetti.

Labor had gone to “war on business” with “toxic taxes” and a “war on growth” using tax as its “bullets”. Yes, Labor was prepared to use cluster bombs to achieve its aim of smashing economic growth. ‘Gunna’ was using shields to show the assembled war correspondents that Labor had “plans” for higher taxes on small business, investment, income, housing and electricity, with big red crosses on each shield ‘Gunna’ empathised that this was a war worth fighting.

I could see him at the pulpit at Hillsong leading the choir with a war like rendition of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’.

Now I know that truth is the first causality of war but this was really some exaggeration. He looked like a battle weary shell-shocked incoherent, over-excited army messenger trying to explain a “plan” to the assembled generals.

As Lenore Taylor wrote in the Guardian:

“Not since Tony Abbott told us that the carbon tax was a toxic wrecking ball that will destroy jobs, and also strike us like a cobra or squeeze us like a python and also wipe whole towns off the map, has voters’ intelligence been insulted with such ridiculous hyperbole”.

If you think Malcolm Turnbull was a bit thin-skinned when Leigh Sales used the word “knifing” to describe the removal of Tony Abbott then Bill Shorten would be entitled to be a bit upset with Morrison’s use of weapons of mass destruction to try and destroy him.

“Labor’s approach is to take a sledgehammer and to do it out of the politics and ideology of envy … It’s a war on growth, it’s a war on capital, it’s a war on mums and dads who just want to invest in a property to ensure their betterment over into their retirement or whatever their purpose is” Morrison said.

In his declaration of war on Labor ‘Gunna’ used the “war” word 14 times, outdoing former British PM Neville Chamberlain who in his 1939 declaration of war on Germany, used it just four times.

Now let’s cut to the chase here. Scott Morrison is renowned for his sarcastic hyperbolic embellishment of all things Labor. He delivers it with all the magnification of a charismatic preacher. Facts don’t matter so long as perceptions are created. Lying is justified if the theology demands it. Defend your teaching by saying the others are evil.

Sometimes I allow myself the indulgence of thinking I know a lot. Then I realise that in the totality of things, I know little. One thing I am certain of however is that there are known facts in the world because science proves them.

Here are some facts, writes Josh Bornstein:

“In its short life the LNP government has levied more tax as a proportion of GDP than its predecessor. Government spending as a proportion of GDP has also increased, the budget deficit has more than doubled from its “crisis” levels in 2013, and gross government debt has ballooned by over $100bn”.

“The bluff and bluster was resurrected when treasurer Scott Morrison recently tweeted: “Labor’s plan is to tax, spend and borrow. Our plan is to back Australians who are working, saving and investing”.

“Economic illiteracy can be masked by theatrical bluff and bluster for only so long. The government’s 2014 budget cut a swathe through its pre-election promises including gouging an $80bn hole in funding for health and education. Taxes weren’t cut; in fact, there was an attempt to raise a new tax – for visiting a GP”.

“The opposition inculcated a state of perpetual crisis that was the envy of professional catastrophists the world over. The crises said to beleaguer the nation under a Labor government formed an impressively long list: the cost of living crisis, the retail crisis, the productivity crisis, the debt crisis, the deficit disaster, emergency low interest rates, sovereign risk crisis, the budget emergency”.

Kaye Lee writing for The AIMN had this to say:

“Scott Morrison’s overly theatrical rants about Labor policies are rapidly losing credibility. He brings along his placards with the latest negative campaign graphic attacking Labor with made-up figures and big red crosses but when asked about his ‘economic plan’ all we hear is tax cuts are good – we know this intuitively”.

The last sentence of her piece very adequately summed up my view of where Labor intends taking our country:

“And most importantly of all for our future prosperity, we need a government who is willing to invest in our greatest underutilised asset, our human capital. A well-educated, skilled, healthy workforce is the foundation on which all else will be built”.

Take notice, Scott.

My thought for the day

War is but one example of the fact that men have never really grown up.


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  1. etnorb

    All this talk of “war” & these unknown “mums & dads” (?), just shows how utterly bereft of original & honest thoughts ALL these inept, lying, obscenely over-paid so-called liberals are! I don’t think I have ever met any “mums & dads” investors–is there such a thing??–& as for all this “war” nonsense, really?? Sadly it seems none of these ignorant conservative liberals really have ANY ideas about anything the Labor mob is talking about or proposing to do if elected. Devoid of any “real” ideas & ANY real truths, that is what these libs stand for! Thank you for another great & true “think piece”, John!

  2. Brian

    When it comes to the lies, I have no idea why Labor does not combat it with the truth. Hold a press conference with big graphs showing, TAX UNDER LABOR, and another showing TAX UNDER THE COALITION. They are simple facts that that can easily combat the Liberal lies. Another can be about spending. The Liberals always spend at a higher rate. Fact. How about a large graph showing in 2012 we were the number one economy in the world. There could be so many clear messages sent.

    Or how about, the Labor Party put massive billboards on the back of trucks with this information and trundle them around the country? Worked in 1996!

  3. John Kelly

    The Coalition’s internal polling must be driving this hysteria. They know more than we do and I suspect that is why they are sounding increasingly irrational.

  4. Kare

    I love the way you can use English. You have the ability to say something in a succinct manner yet express the nuts and bolts. Please continue.

  5. Terry2

    The coalition are being badly advised by their spinners and this silly business of a war on everything with bullets flying and casualties everywhere is a case in point.

    The Prime Minister at the leaders debate talking up a new wave of boat arrivals if Labor were elected was dog-whistling to people smugglers and totally irresponsible.

    Calling your opposition names [ billion dollar Bill ] and the ‘spend-o-meter’ are very juvenile approaches – and seem now, thankfully, to have been dropped.

    All points to desperation on the part of the Liberal Party.

  6. Geoff Andrews

    For some reason, Labor doesn’t think like you (and I).
    They seem to think that being on the campaign trail is an extention of the high school debating technique used in parliament.
    We can only hope that they use the TV ads as you have suggested.

  7. Backyard Bob

    Morrison is a doyen of “thug politics” – crass, tactless, abstruse, coercive and hyperbolic. But then this has been the Coalition’s style since Abbott. It’s become more or less normative for them. I think we might be entitled to question whether or not it remains effective.

  8. David1

    John you included that short mention of the Carbon Tax in your thoughtful piece. I saw on Lateline last evening, as others probably did, a poll taken on introducing a carbon tax, I didn’t get by who, however the result was more than interesting given the way the Coalition damned Julia and Labor and almost used it as a singular road to Govt.
    64% now believe a carbon tax would be good for the environment. What a fickle bunch Australians are. There is not a helluva lot Julia did wrong in her time as PM it turns out. Maybe the Rudd diehards would disagree but I was in her camp on that one too.

  9. Backyard Bob


    When it comes to the lies, I have no idea why Labor does not combat it with the truth.

    I think there’s quite a few of us who are of the view that Labor doesn’t do near enough to forcefully prosecute the case for its economic management credentials. I suppose even to this day Labor fears the power of that decades-long entrenched social myth of the superiority of the Liberals in the area of economics. I think it might be time for them to shrug that nonsense off and make an effort to own the yarn (he said wanting to avoid the ubiquitous “narrative”).

  10. Steve Laing -

    The problem is that if you can appeal to people’s emotional brains, it can completely bypass the rational brain, and this is what people like Crosby/Textor and other spin merchants and advertisers recognise. When people are scared, they don’t act rationally, they act instinctively. Which is why we scare campaigns can be so effective. Sure, rational people see right through them, but a significant number don’t – they haven’t been taught to protect themselves from this kind of manipulation. Why are we seeing, for example, the watch out for terrorists campaign? Is it because there has been a heightened alert level? Or a threat of attack? Or is it simply because it puts a policy area for which the Libs are seen as strong.

    Now I know this, and you know this, but the general public? No. They just feel scared. And they react in a way that they think helps protect them. Labor would actually be better educating people to the tricks than trying to combat the message.

  11. Klaus Petrat

    Yes Etnorb, You are right. Sometimes I get frustrated because people here like John, yourself, Kaye, John Kelly, Victoria and all these bloggers have it right. Bill is too anxious to put a step wrong. I think he would be rewarded. Simple, easy explained facts, coming from authentic concern for Australian people and backed up by statistics which is out there, would do the trick. Show the people what liberals did in their time of government. Every time, Australia moves socially backwards and distribution of wealth shifts to the rich.

    What a frustrating shame.

  12. David1

    I have posted the article and comments directly to Bill and ALP HO. Doubtful he will get time to read but never know and HO may pass on to his advisers.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Wasn’t there a movie called “What if I started a war and nobody came?” (or something like that)?

  14. Jaquix

    I’d like to recommend Bill Shorten’s recently published book “For the Common Good”. Its well worth reading. I hope his message gets through the media manipulation. Turnbull could never have written such a book. He is this morning repeating ad nauseum in Adelaide his slogans on the ABC (clearly now being run by their side of politics). I hope South Australians continue to tune out, and back any party but the Libs. The more he chants his slogans, the better. Labor needs to kerp on reminding us that the Libs are spebding 50 billion to flow out of the country. Id also like to hear them attack on the Libs dismal record on infrastructure projects, esp in these times of low interest. And Turnbulls big Fail on the NBN. they need to get these and other biggies like marriage equality out before the postal voting starts.
    Re Morrison, what a fool he made of himself. Yet on the Drum last night there was a dyed in the wool Lib Jackie Kelly chuckling fondly about it, saying “I like Morrison.” Even Julia Baird managed to look a bit taken aback.

  15. sandrasearle

    I keep saying that the long lead up to the election is actually good for getting the busy general public educated and that it really is starting to work. Bill Shorten is a very smart man, is keeping to message in making sure that he and Labor would govern for all Australians. His time as a skillful negotiator between business & workers means that he really does have the ability to get the results that most of us want – that being a viable long term progressive future for Australia where we all can live.
    Let’s all get behind Shorten and keep on helping to educate the masses.
    To all of those of you who doing such a good job writing and educating us all thank you so much. I’ll keep on sharing them with as many people as possible.

  16. David1 will be interested in this poll out today for SA from Fairrfax/Ipsos giving Labor a 4 point lead 52 – 48. Turnbull spending lot of time in SA as their Internal polling must be showing bad news for Pyne for one and another Minister in the idiot do nothing Briggs. Strong swings also to Labor in WA where last reporf I saw up to 6 Coalition members could lose their seats, and Victoria.very strong for ALP. NSW still favours LNP but gap narrowing.
    Big problem for ALP is Queensland, huge ground to make up and many seats need to change hands. Locally State Labor is doing well but not so Federally.
    Nothing from Tasmania, last I saw Labor doing ok, as expected, some dud Torys there. Nicolic for one yuk and of course Abetz, but never get rid of him I suspect.
    Info from The Ghost who Votes at Twittter.

  17. Möbius Ecko

    David1 thus Turnbull’s speech today all about voting for Labor/Greens/Xenophon leading to the end of Australia with KAOS (sic) ruling just like the Gillard government.

  18. Arthur Plottier

    How wrong was Lenore when she said, quote: has voters’ intelligence been insulted with such ridiculous hyperbole”.
    Voters like that, votes voted for that, votes were not insulted, only a small minority was not insulted because they did not voted for Abbott but they were embarrassed for having him as the leader of the nation.

  19. paul walter

    On sandrasearle’s comment, it has been astute that Shorten has seen the back of Abbott and could see off the other Great White Hope of conservatism, Turnbull, simply be doing very little himself, on the surface of it, apart from this “policy” thingy, that the tabloids don’t want to talk about. He is of course much more suited to “small target” than was Kym Beazley, but in the end the Coalition has been responsible for its troubles with its reckless approach to social infrastructure politics and the well being of the nation in favour of those scavenging off it. Harsh, violent at times as to its scapegoats and dogmatic, it fits some of the criteria for proto- fascism and should be defenestrated at the first possible opportunity.

  20. David1

    I saw that Mobius, for me it separates Bill from the other leaders, he has that touch of humanity that is spontaneous. he reaches out. i will always remember him fronting the huge media pack at the Beaconsfield mine disaster as spokes(man) in those days for Mine Managers in a truce between the Union and the Managers, which allowed them to focus on the rescue of the two trapped miners.
    Despite a history of industrial conflict at the mine, managers, employees, unions, rescuers and emergency services worked together with a single aim.

  21. My say

    War ,what is it good for ,answer the liberal government,thats what got them into power ,they are so desperate now that turnbull is begging voters not to elect another hung parliament,well let’s give him what he wants and vote labor in and liberals out ,z

  22. Backyard Bob

    Re: ME’s posted story:

    That’s a wonderful outcome for the family, of course, but the cynic in me wonders at this sort of thing. For me it raises all sorts of questions regarding the political process and the arbitrary nature of it. Keeping in mind it was Gillard who tightened the process for DSP applications – in the months prior to election speculation did Shorten’s office actively advocate for everyone who wrote to them regarding this sort of problem? Did they?

    How does an Opposition Leader’s office have the ability to circumvent established DoSS protocols? The Newson experience with DSP application dynamics is sadly neither unique nor special.

    Like I say it’s awesome for them that this has happened, but it also makes me feel so sad for every other family in a similar position and going through similar trials that the same won’t be afforded them.

    I don’t know, it makes me feel awkward as I’m intimately aware of how arbitrary this stuff can be. Though the story doesn’t speak to it, I hope Shorten’s intervention (and subsequently that of LNP players) was accompanied by a policy declaration stating that this scenario will never happen under his Labor Government.

    Ooops, that cynicism is kicking in again ….

  23. Möbius Ecko

    Agree with you second to last Backyard Bob.

  24. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Gunnar Morrison,

    and here’s me thinking ‘gunnar’ referred to what Snotty said he was going to do with proper taxation measures.

    However, ‘gunnar’ just as well means Snotty’s lust for bloodshed in war on anybody he thinks he can scrounge down into the earth under the heal of his boot (since he’s not in America where you can use a gun instead).

    As a longtime vocal opponent of Snotty for his reprehensible treatment of asylum seekers, gulag detainees then welfare recipients, I weally, weally want Snotty to get the consequences of his own immoral behaviour.

  25. crypt0

    Brian (2nd post from top)., and Backyard Bob are right on the money.
    Why on earth does Labor not combat all the LieNP and murdoch crap with the truth ?
    It’s not like there is a shortage of ammunition!

  26. Florence nee Fedup

    They must be polling every stunt and what they say. Look how many hours the spruiking of Shorten’ war on family businesses lasted For few hours, the word war was heard everywhere, next day, not one mention. There seems to be new angle from the PM every day, that peters out quickly.

    PM seems to be a step or two behind Shorten on every announcement made. Today he caught up with Shorten on money for sport. Shorten has moved onto arts.

  27. Florence nee Fedup

    crypt0, one has to be careful one doesn’t get pulled into their crap. Shorten is careful not to. it then becomes they said, he said. Nothing gained.

  28. wam

    sorry flo they cannot win without lying which becomes true. we have just begun the change needed for jobs and growth historically means that we will bugger up and labor will fix it. Unless bill exposes the rabbott’s debt lies the worried workers will give turnball a chance.
    koch and karl baby are ripe for the negative so a few hints as to the questions they should ask is needed. Whay the ‘plan’ for jobs and growth is one with items like hockey hypocrite is worth a laugh and challenge the rabbott must be worth a diversion?
    Timing is not labor’s strong suit but it is vital.
    lighten up and laugh at him loved the one liner ‘I lead you are led’

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