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Has Australia ever had a Prime Minister so devoid of leadership qualities?

Has an Australian political party ever elected a man or woman so characterless to be its leader? So ignorant and open to corruption? So unaware of truth and transparency? (His lying has indeed become pathological.) So insensitive to those who cannot help themselves yet amenable to furthering the interests of those who can? So willing to endorse and foster inequality? So illiterate when it comes to science and technology? So oblivious to the needs of women that he needed the advice of his wife?

So against change. So inept at policy formation and its implementation. So prone to the language of absurdity. So self-righteous in attitude toward others. So aggressive and dismissive of those who seek fairness and equality. So out of touch with a modern pluralist society. A person so unsophisticated in deep worldly insight or discernment, yet profoundly devoted to his religion.

In other words, a person so uniquely devoid of all the requirements of leadership.

The answer to the above headline is that we have been blessed with quality people in leadership. People who have risen to the top in their particular fields even inspired the nation to fight above its weight in times of war.

Or, by example, led the world in sporting endeavour, in academia, science, medicine, entertainment, education, law and order, the arts and more, but very few when the category of politics is raised.

The only one to stand out in all categories to come near Scott Morrison is Tony Abbott. He was the most celebrated liar ever to soil the plush green carpets of the House of Representatives.

Having said all these things against the incumbent Prime Minister, perhaps I should explain myself. This article picks up some of the accusations made in my previous post and gives them further consideration. In the calmness of thought and without reverting to anger, I examine the Prime Minister’s lies, mistakes and character.

I was generally speaking about leadership and the fundamental qualities necessary to be successful at it. Morrison’s actions, together with his inability to speak the truth, have demonstrated the ineffectiveness of leadership that leaves the nation in terminal decline.

Scott Morrison is nothing more than a fast-talking politician whose record speaks of nefarious decision-making that is always on the borderline of immorality or corruption. There are some tenants of Christianity that are intentionally sacrosanct and cannot be broken. Morrison cherry-picks Biblical laws he thinks he can get away with and blames others for the rest.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the facts. During the COVID-19 crisis, the states have made most of the running. In May, Morrison put his four-step plan to the National Cabinet, and the states accepted it. The point of the goal was to reach 80% vaccinations and then do away with the need for lockdowns.

The plan was also to promote Morrison’s position as a national leader who could bring people together for the common good while having no authority over states and their borders.

There is a conventionally accepted view that the position of Prime Minister has an unspoken power. A power that has some clout when used judiciously. The states were given their authority when our founding fathers wrote our constitution giving sufficient power to the states to ensure they were no pushovers.

Regardless of the argument, be it economic reform, climate change, national disasters like bushfires, floods, pandemics or just good policy, he is consistently found wanting. He struggles even to convince women that he is concerned with accusations of sexual assault and harassment.

I must say that his early efforts in keeping the government on top of the pandemic were commendable, particularly the economy and could be compared favourably with Labor’s efforts during the Global Financial Crisis.

However, his efforts seem to have deteriorated to the point where the public is rapidly losing faith in his leadership. The latest Morgan Poll has Labor at 54% and the LNP at 46%

If delegation is a fundamental of leadership, then he doesn’t seem to know how to disperse it. Either that or his ministers are incompetent to the point of worthless.

Public opinion, in favour of the LNP only months before an election (my tip is February) is rapidly declining, and the government is in serious trouble.

These weaknesses have become dramatically clear. Challenges like those currently experienced by the Prime Minister bring out the best or worst of a leader’s character. That he isn’t the leader for the times that Australia needs is becoming patently clear.

He has no sense of urgency about anything. He is slow at responding to anything. There was lethargy in helping those who helped us in Afghanistan. An indifference to take a position on workplace vaccine mandates when the business community was seeking clarity. Despite a decade to do something about climate change, he still walks at a snail’s pace in making decisions. He still needs to confront his deputy leader, who vehemently opposes the government’s policy on climate change. Not that he has one himself.

I can see nothing in his character that shouts “Leader.”

It has been the winter of our discontent, and political historians will record that the bleakness has come chiefly from a lack of leadership.

We had no one with the leadership qualities necessary to paint a picture for a spring of hope. He hopes for a Christmas retail reopening gift to boost the economy after or if our kids are vaccinated. That is, if the parents are willing to expose their unvaccinated kids?

Katherine Murphy reports in The Guardian that our Claytons leader is so desperate to undo his past sins that he is opening vaccination appointments without even having the vaccinations. Now that’s leadership for you.

Unlike Howard, among others, Morrison doesn’t have a genuine feel for politics, that instinct compels a leader to think about consequences before actions. Yes, he should have known and had ample time to prepare for a rush of Afghanistan’s wanting to leave the country, just as he had ample time to purchase covid19 vaccinations instead of allowing the consequences of not doing so to overtake him.

Good leaders anticipate emerging issues and act accordingly.

Other decisions that showed little leadership included; a) the number of people we will take, and b) the unwillingness to grant them permanent status and c) crying “Stop the boats.”

“I want to be very clear about that. I want to send a very clear message to people smugglers in the region that nothing’s changed,” he said on Wednesday.”

Writing for the ABC, Michelle Gratton said:

“In this Afghanistan moment – which is one of reflection and regret for the failure of the allies’ aspirations for that nation – we show the world what sort of country we are. We should display a more generous character.”

There is a fight about to begin. It is about leadership and who will make the better leader after the winter of our discontent.

Niki Savva wrote last week in The Australian (paywalled) that:

“Anthony Albanese has to make Scott Morrison unacceptable and hope that by the election, there will be more voters not only happy he is not Shorten, but that he is not Morrison.”

Anthony Albanese will have to show that he can make the decisions of a genuine leader. Leadership that requires action, and not just be a do-nothing blame-shifter.

Now that Scott Morrison’s leadership has been found wanting, he will likely set out to try and prove that Anthony Albanese is every bit as corrupt as he is and tells as many lies as he does. Good luck with that.

And in the time that passes by until the election, he will have to ensure that the vaccines arrive on time without telling lies about anything while at the same time winning back people to the Liberal Party – all this while at the same time having his reputation trashed.

On top of that, he has to persuade those that the party has lost to accept that he can take us back to pre-COVID-19 normality when vaccinations reach 80%.

If not, the Prime Minister must ready himself for the political consequences of unvaccinated kids falling ill and an unknown number of Australians suffering long-term effects from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Making such a decision takes authentic leadership.

In a piece for Pearls and Irritations titled “Morrison has the smell of political death about him,” Jack Waterford has a view similar to mine:

“I do not know whether prime minister Scott Morrison will be run over by a bus, be deposed by his colleagues, fail at the next election or survive, for the short term at least, by another miracle. But the smell of political death is about him, and it is not because of bad luck, circumstance or treachery. What will destroy him, I expect, are things already done, character traits already on display, idiosyncrasies that might once have seemed almost attractive but which now repel. The values he once proclaimed – not least of active Christian temperament – are ones he appears to have repudiated.”

That he isn’t the leader for the times that Australia needs is becoming patently clear.

My thought for the day

When a political leader deliberately withholds information that the voter needs to make an informed, balanced and reasoned assessment of how it is being governed. It is lying by omission. It is also tantamount to the manipulation of our democracy.

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25 comments

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  1. BB

    Morrison has never been a leader. His persona is an invented one contrived at a make-up desk, by RW pseudo PR firms. “Daggy Dad”, FFS, says it all, not forgetting that dags are literally lumps of shit stuck to the wool around a sheep’s arsehole!

  2. leefe

    We’ve never had one so totally devoid of any positive or admirable qualities and, given the competition (especially from the likes of Abbott and LJH), that’s saying something.

  3. New England Cocky

    Ah John Lord, the Liarbral$ will be foaming at the mouth because of your accurate assessment of the lack of too many essential talents of Scummo the Sacked Scammer.

    But the LIarbral$ must take heart when they hear that Scummo’s theological mentor at the Hell$inger$ Cult of Greed and Paedophile Protection has an interesting appointment with Justicia in the near future. Naturally, the Shane Dowling comment, “”Why pay a lawyer when you can buy a judge” springs to mind as so often happens when senior politicians get caught up in the daily trivia of being a mere natural person.

    David Hardaker comments on Crikey 260821:
    .
    Sins of the father — The dark past of Australia’s megachurch
    David Hardaker
    .
    “The stakes are high. In the pantheon of Australian religious leaders Houston is a major figure — and not just because of his closeness to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. If found guilty the consequences would be immense. The massive Hillsong enterprise, locally and globally, is built entirely around him and his wife, Bobbie. Hillsong is Houston in a way that doesn’t feature in other churches.

    “Then there’s the threat it poses to the corporate behemoth that the church has become. Houston is a director of a maze of Hillsong enterprises. There are 19 Hillsong entities registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC), where they enjoy a variety of tax breaks. Under the Corporations Act you cannot be a company director if you are convicted of an offence that involves dishonesty and is punishable by at least three months’ jail.”

  4. Harry Lime

    His lack of character,his pathological lying,his blame shifting and his cowardice have been obvious from the start,and when the spotlight is turned upon him,his automatic response is to double down.What amazes me is that he hasn’t been shot down by his own party…which speaks to a total lack of morals or integrity within.Or has he so stacked the party with sycophants and yes men that he is untouchable?
    John, is there any forum that would publish articles like yours that would have a widespread reach?I would be happy to contribute.

  5. HENRY RODRIGUES

    Well documented and annunciated Mr Lord. Kudos.

    I always remember that this nonentity climbed up the greasy pole with the assistance and active support of many other players in the corporate, civic world who share his ‘vision’ and his methods. His brief stint at the Tourism board and the manner in which he achieved preselection for his seat, should have disqualified him from becoming the council dogcatcher.

    Remember too the NSW branch of the Liberal party, that cesspit of rabid right wing aggressive union hating politicians. This group of retrogrades gave the Australian population creatures like johnny rodent Howard, Tony misogynist Abbott, self serving imbecile Craig Kelly, state leaders like Barry O’farrell who didn’t recognize an expensive bottle of wine, and to the present, our incompetent moronic leading lady who lurches from one declaration about fixing NSW Covid to another, that her federal counterpart tells her to take. The shallow undistinguished media led by Murdoch’s maggots share the blame.

    They are all complicit in the rise of this most unqualified person to lead this country. Never have the taxpayers got such bad value for the $550,000 they have to shell out each year to keep this idiot in clover.

  6. Phil Pryor

    A vacuum inside a black hole, inside an emptiness, inside sweet fanny adams…Snot Moronskull is a turd of coated excrement on our political destinies, the most contrived, false fraudy fake of a human. The worst, with more shit to come…because he is surrounded by similar turds whose destiny and success id ties up in lies and fraud, in media maggoty perversions and exaggerations, in corporate ruthless bleeding, extracting, conniving, profiteering, in endless organised rorty rubbish, all for mates, the inner circle, the faithful, the TRAITORS.

  7. GL

    The Sloginator has brain farts and when they blow up in his face he can only react and even then the reaction is stuffed up completely. Then the blame game pursues with him never being at fault. So then he has another brain fart and when it…ad nauseam. He is the exact opposite of a competent leader.

  8. wam

    Generally speaking, lord, your words warm me up with a giggle, after the morning stint in the pool.

    Today your laughing thought suggesting you expect voters to be informed generally by their politicians so they can form a considered opinion before they vote. Perhaps like billy’s informative campaign in 2019? Whilst scummo did ^#@^6all. The LNP mandate then became unencumbered by promises and scummo free to do what he liked.

    This freedom has developed into, speaking generally, governing without the house or, when forced into the house, closing debates and question time to avoid embarrassing comments.

    Your quotes are terrific. I remember insiders when savva was so pro the rabbott it was sickening but now wacko she is into him and scummo.

    Keep strong, lord, and I am pleased your team ended top for the first time in 57 years. So good luck against brisbane and hope they remember their alice springs effort?

  9. Steve

    Well surmised. However, I would point out to you that had Scumo been any sort of a leader, he would have told the US to go jump and rolled down the shutters and declared Australia is closed for entry until further notice. For no reason other than to take stock of the situation, and to make quick plans to deal with the situation which should have included preliminary plans for allowing Customs to deal with entry into Ausstralia under the same guidelines as preventing infectious animal disease through livestock and pets – quarantine. This short shut down of airports world have also given sufficient time to bolster staffing levels, prepare for quarantine facilities etc etc, etc, etc. The list is endless, none of which eclipses the farce involving the disembarkation of passengers from luxury cruises without any form of oversite by Customs and Immigration to test or quarantine simply because of backroom phonecalls made by both NSWs and LNP ministers at the time. No mate, he did NOT handle the early stages of the Covid crisis well at all. What he did do, was role out that polished ‘used car salesman’ pitch and sold everyone on the idea that he was doing a good job. He did nothing. He even let the idiot Fed gov director go on tv and declare Covid was nothing to worry about as it’s no worse than the annual flu. And Scumo was right there nudging him on to say it. You are pretty much spot on with the rest of it though. My guess is, the only reason Scumo has the top job is due to his ability to lie while looking you right in the face/camera. The only giveaway this prick has is the ever-so-slight smarmy fucking smirk he offers when he has just delivered a lie. It’s the face any mother would want to slap for being such a smarmy fucking prick when he is lying. Don’t believe me? Go back over any footage you like where you just know he is lying through he’s teeth about something and watch that smarmy fucking smirk pronounce itself. Like he is congratulating himself for getting away with another lie.

  10. Ross

    Scott Morrison put his win in what the polls said was an unwinnable election down to god’s will. Scotty’s god must have a funny sense of humour, massive bushfires, huge floods and now a raging pandemic. Poor old Scott and the other religious bath plugs in his ministry must have worn out the knees of their pants in frantic praying for another miracle to save them from the voter’s wrath. The omens are not looking good.

  11. Henry Gilbert Rodrigues

    Just for the record. 13185 total infections in NSW. But my my, doesn’t Gladys look good in her ever changing outfit. Such flair, such aplomb, never a even a fleeting glimmer of remorse, just ploughing on, rattling off numbers and stats.

    Almost as stupid as Scummo without his trousers.

  12. Steve

    I should have answered the rhetorical headline as well. The only other PM I can think of that was a shining example of an insipid PM is John Gorton.In fact, the it might be even said they are bookends to the same collection of misfits and malcontents. However, Gorton at least had he guts to fight in WW2. Scumo is full of piss and vinegar and is the sort of block that has the character that would offer a poisoned chalice rather than openly face an opponent – a la leadership tussle with Turnbull. He is an empty vessel, on his hands and knees morning, noon and night seeking inspiration from his ‘ or his religious benefactors, to guide his decision making. Simply because he hasn’t any other goal other than to sit at the top of the pile of dead-weight pollies sitting in the big white dunny on the top of the hill in Canberra.

  13. wam

    Generally speaking, lord, your words warm me up with a giggle, after the morning stint in the pool.
    Today your laughing thought suggesting you expect voters to be informed generally by their politicians so they can form a considered opinion before they vote. Perhaps like billy’s informative campaign in 2019? Whilst scummo did ^#@^6all. The LNP mandate then became unencumbered by promises and scummo free to do what he liked.
    This freedom has developed into, speaking generally, governing without the house or, when forced into the house, closing debates and question time to avoid embarrassing comments.
    Your quotes are terrific. I remember insiders when savva was so pro the rabbott it was sickening but now wacko she is into him and scummo.
    Keep strong, lord, and I am pleased your team ended top for the first time in 57 years. So good luck against brisbane and hope they remember their alice springs effort?

  14. Williambtm

    Thank you John Lord, for another of your precise written articles.
    Given the many unconscionable and dubious undertakings of this L/NP party (led by he that must have drawn the shortest straw), I had authored a tweet and posted this same… that had at rocket speed been deleted by the Twitter comment moderator.

    I had referenced the Roger Rogerson era of Sydney NSW as being the late 1970s-through to all the !980s when crime and corruption and murders were rife throughout the capital city of Sydney. My tweet as they are described… claimed this same mode of corruption and criminal activity appears to have been reborn during the past 3 or so years.
    Especially correct if one is able to count up the incidents of white-collar crime, payoffs, and corrupted activities engaged in by many Federal and State government L/NP party ministers.

    I had come to this conclusion after reading a number of articles featuring minister Angus Taylor that had depicted this minister Taylor’s income-accruing entrepreneurial skilled business and government ministerial undertakings.
    Also the L/NP party propinquity or maybe a racket, of gaining extraordinary amounts of money jokingly given the collective sobriquet as party fund donations.

    Do any forum contributors consider my comment as an overstatement, or maybe as an exaggerated proliferation of coincidental corporate disbursements to this L/NP party consisting of their shareholder funds?
    This singular matter has left me intrigued.

  15. Kaz Drysdale

    Thank you for your fair-minded summation – and I agree with what was written.
    If I may add beyond the domestic view I’d like to say something on behalf of the approx 1million voters who were stuck overseas.

    I was stranded O.S, couldn’t afford to get home and I felt as though the leader of Australia didn’t seem to care by way of even expressing some level of sympathy. He did not.
    I understood the reasons why he took his stance, to protect the citizenry at home so I was patient, thinking something good would happen. It really didn’t. And that’s life. I had to borrow to survive once the bank ran dry, which I’m still paying off (am an age pensioner so things were extremely tough for that year, 2020/21).

    But my major point is that he was so slow in everything except for locking us out while I was in a lockdown a day after I arrived in Georgia, EU – so yes, I was frustrated by him not building a quarantine area/s to cover for larger numbers earlier so returnees could actually fly home and probably at a cheaper rate… eg., one flight was $70,000 a seat when Emirates had to pull out of Oz. Anyway, good for the rich.

    I left Oz Jan 2020 before the pandemic and it was March 2021 when I had a family member manage to pay what was considered cheap, $3000, one way. So slow, Mr. Morrison. Too damn slow for me and I will vote against as I’m a swinging voter… he just didn’t care for those rejected Aussies locked out. I also read while OS his narrative against those stuck OS. Yes, I’m writing a book or getting therapy. smh. :/

    Thanks for your thoughtful words. Cheers, and thanks.

  16. wam

    Williambtm, I wonder what the trigger words were that activated the deletion? I remember underbelly, a commercial fantasy of Rogerson style activities, and blue murder, the ABC version, as pretty shocking. Those shows, rogerson’s antics and jo’s paper bags is the level that the establishment considers as corrupt. Taylor, joyce, water theft, insider trading and skimming off donations is denoted as normal business practice. What business does not take advantage of ignorance? What businessman/woman does not take advantage of their power? What religion does not favour themselves? What honest politician remains free from rorting the political system when confronted with the ‘self-regulating’ access to the trough and the experience sharing of colleagues. It seems the LNP preselect for those characteristics to save time??? So yes, there is evidence of corrupt at a scale that reflects the rogerson era and you are right to highlight the problem of personal gain by politicians(how a retired copper becomes a multi-millionaire?) Your tweet supports the urgent need for a federal ICAC

  17. Mr Bront e ALLAN

    We are all DOOMED if this lying fucking toe rag idiot is re-elected! Slo Mo is nothing but a lying, two faced, happy clapping, robo-debt liking, new airport waste of our money, car parking for stations rort, sports rorts etc, do nothing fucking dickhead! And in spite of his blatant lying he is almost a shoe-in to be re-elected! WTF? Surely the general voting public of Australia can see through this failed at marketing, waste of space! WTF?? Great article, as usual, Mr Lord!

  18. Florence Howarth

    80% to do away with lockdowns, I would hope. But, surely one doesn’t stick to the plan when the 80% doesn’t deliver what was promised.

  19. corvusboreus

    Looks like some of you are still harping on about a ‘federal ICAC’.

    Well guess what, you plebs might want an institutionalised mechanism to ensure transparent accountability in political conduct, but your RULERS and BETTERS don’t.

    So suck it up and console yourselves by playing the pokies and watching the footy.

  20. corvusboreus

    I will add that we already have a form of federal ICAC:
    Interparty Complicity Assuring Corruption.

  21. wam

    Good point crow of the ‘I think I am’, a federal ICAC is in the same category as a republic, only worthy if there is open discussion and a free vote and there are no pollies exemptions.

    Personally if pollies had to publish their diary of meeting – who, where, how long and outcomes and base level clerks were tasked with approving claims for reimbursing an Intraparty Corruption Assures Complicity wouldn’t be needed. But don’t worry if the bandit repeats his 2019 strategy and works on the nine seats, more cash might flow and scummo will get another loonie miracle.?

  22. corvusboreus

    wam,

    The fact that the ‘loonies’ (as you perversely insist on calling them) have a strong position supporting a federal anti-corruption body is one of their few realistic and popular policy strengths.

    Albanese is even colder on the idea than shorten was, and the fact Labor has consistently colluded with the coalition to stymie any such move has helped firm my disgust at the blatant corruption in major party politics.

    By the way, if you wish to engage in rational conversation with me, quit being such a childish phuqwit and drop the boring and counterproductive sledges.

  23. corvusboreus

    Actually, belay the last.

    My inputs to this increasingly incestuous circle-jerk are a complete waste of time that neither change nor accomplish anything, and I am far better off devoting energy to developing and strengthening local networks aiming towards practical achievable goals.

    I hope your fist-typing offers you some catharsis.

  24. GL

    corvusboreus,

    It’s no wonder you don’t post much here because you are your own “circle jerk and childish phuqwit” and most certainly full of your own self importance. Somehow I don’t think you will be missed if you disappear again.

  25. Claudio Pompili

    OK agree with everything you’ve nicely articulated Mr Lord…however, it’s patently obvious that Morrisson is hugely successful at rorting, obfuscating, bullying, lying etc and gets away with it….possibly THE most successful snake-oil conman that’s blessed the office of PM. Can we blame him or his ensemble of equally self-entitled conservative men and women? Hey, greed is good and they are extremely successful.

    The primary responsibility has to be hung at the door of the majority of Australians who vote for these people. And although recent polls suggest the LNP is around 46% 2PP, the primary voter base for both LNP/ALP is about equal 36%…..about 1/3 of rusted on LNP voters will continue doggedly to vote LNP no matter what they do.

    And historically, no matter our outrage, the majority of Australians have repeatedly and consistently empowered the LNP to government.

    I predict that Morrisson and the LNP will be returned in the next election, the next ‘miracle’ election, by the good people of Australia, mine and your very own fellow citizens. Decades of dumbing down our society, white-anting our civil institutions, attacking the less privileged have worked a treat.

    What’s there not to love if you’re a reactionary conservative…the Progressive/Left have been floundering and, too often, the ALP is on the same page, offering bipartisan support to the LNP.

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