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Monster Morrison: A Nation in Collective Depression

This Halloween, the only monster we need to worry about is Scott Morrison. Monster Morrison with his hands symbolically around the necks of the poor, the vulnerable, the jobless and the worker; slowly choking away every last drop of personal agency. Morrison is a monster with a hunger to leave us in an apocalyptic world of collective depression, begging for mercy.

Personal Agency – an Unequal Power

Personal agency is something many people have never thought they would lose. Until now. That is, the individual power used to influence and act upon in our daily lives. This power and agency in a civilised society is expected to be common place and a power shared accessed by us all.

It is the power to access housing. The power to afford a variety of basic nutritious foods, access to suitable clothing for all climates. It is the power and autonomy to make personal decisions about purchases, who you engage with, where you would like to go and the freedom to decide and access an avenue to your chosen life’s path, without constraints imposed upon you by another.

Personal agency is an unequal power. Many individuals within minority groups and in many instances as a collective do not have equal access to personal agency. Racism, Able-ism, Sexism, Homophobia and Transphobia are all enabled in society, by those who believe these derisions are justified and create an enabling environment for them to thrive and create an unjust society for many.

Scott Morrison is legislating his way to enable an environment of an unfair and unjust society for many.

Monster Morrison Suffocating Personal Agency

Throughout various Parliaments, Australian Governments have attempted to legislate away this unequal power of personal agency. Previous Governments have, with the good intention attempted to stamp out an enabling society for inequality, discrimination and harassment at least on a macro level. However, inequality, discrimination and harassment exist as a daily occurrence at the micro level; in overt and covert forms and it goes unpunished.

The intent of previous Governments who legislated against inequality, was essentially to allow people to just breathe. To allow people to just to be who they are and to be accepted as a whole person as afforded to others who belong to the mainstream groups in society.

In stark contrast to Governments who have attempted to tackle inequality, Scott Morrison is leading a Government to use its power to suffocate the personal agency of the poor, the vulnerable, the jobless and the working class. He is doing this by legislating to enable inequality, discrimination, and harassment at the macro level. In turn, this creates an enabling environment for these derisions to occur.

The Smothering

The suffocating of personal agency has become so wide reaching it is almost a smothering of collective agency.

Robodebt: With no rhyme or reason or evidence produced for the claims of debts owed; Monster Morrison is smashing personal agency to smithereens so that people feel completely trapped and helpless and it is driving vulnerable people to suicide.

Cuts to aged care: Monster Morrison is not only destroying the personal agency of those who are still able to enact it; but aged and vulnerable people are suffering this loss of autonomy without dignity or compassion and are suffering cruelty every, single day.

Cashless Welfare – By taking away one of the very basics of personal agency – the choice to consume and where to consume, Monster Morrison is targeting the jobless (and possibly soon pensioners) and forcing them to carry a visual symbol to push them out of the ‘Normals’ and into the ‘Stigmatized’ group by default (to use Goffman’s social stigma).

Newstart: By refusing to raise Newstart above the poverty line, Monster Morrison is suffocating personal agency and autonomy, by forcing already vulnerable people, to literally starve. To not have the personal means to access a variety of basic, nutritious food. He is taking away their autonomy by forcing them to live in precarious and unsafe situations as these are the only types of accommodation they can access. He is not affording the jobless on Newstart the dignity to be able to afford personal hygiene items and in doing so is suffocating their personal power and self efficacy. His personal judgement that the jobless are passively welfare dependent, is a cause of unnecessary depression, anxiety, suicide and other associated harm.

Mutual Obligation: Through Monster Morrison’s ingrained belief that the jobless do not want to work; he passes a judgment that they require supervision by way of compulsory attendance in exchange for a safety net. Morrison destroys the personal agency of the jobless through breaching when his inadequate Newstart payment prevents a jobless person access to transport to attend a compliance interview. He destroys their autonomy, so they cannot be unwell, have a cold, or other illness, to take a day off, or they lose their payment.

Registered Organisations Ensuring Integrity Bill: The Unions are the major kill for Monster Morrison in this Halloween themed take on his destruction. If he can terminate the hero of this plot – the Unions, he can asphyxiate the personal agency, autonomy, dignity, personal value, personal power, locus of control and personal safety of every single worker in the country.

Monster Morrison’s Weapon of Choice – Paternalism

Like all things scary on Halloween, be they hockey masks, clowns in sewer drains, flesh eating dolls, or people dressing up as John Howard – Monster Morrison uses Paternalism like a sharp knife to stab and slash at the safety net that holds the most vulnerable in society.

A Government governing for all of society ensures there is a safety net. A safety net catches a person falling and that person is usually able to bounce back up and land on their feet. They can then walk off freely into a life they have the autonomy to build. This is not the safety net of the Morrison Government. The safety net built by Monster Morrison is woven together by paternalism.

In his book, New Paternalism, Supervisory approaches to poverty, Lawrence Mead describes Paternalism as: “The close supervision of the poor.” For this to emerge as an idea, a judgement that poor people do not have the capacity to be responsible with their own personal agency, personal power and autonomy, must have been made first. Morrison makes that judgement in spades.

Judgement is the basis of paternalism. The powerful inflicting paternalism onto others have a set of values or beliefs they believe are the preferred basic foundations of society. A judgement is formed about those who do not align with that set of values or belief. The powerful then set up measures of intervention and supervision for those people in society whom they deem do not measure up to their expectations. The separation of ‘Normals’ and ‘Stigmatised’ is now engaged.

Monster Morrison tries to justify his gigantic knife of Paternalism by wrapping it up in the Harm Principal. He argues that the poor must be supervised and controlled to prevent harm to themselves and others. However, Monster Morrison is the one inflicting all the harm.

A Nation in Collective Depression

Monster Morrison’s paternalistic and punitive interventions to control those who do not meet his values and belief standards, are now wide reaching.

There are so many jobless across all ages and genders, so many people in precarious and insecure work, so many young people unable to get a start in life by way of training or apprenticeships, so many workers underemployed, so many workers facing an increase in dangerous work conditions, so many vulnerable in poor quality care, so many disabled and frail persons, forced onto job search instead of pensions, so many homeless people, so many with letters of demands for money with no proof of debt raised and so many people income managed and unable to enable their basic right of personal power of purchase choice.

Monster Morrison’s destruction of personal agency is now impacting on so many individuals. This is now resulting in a marked increase of personal recounts of the negative effects such as anxiety and depression and heart wrenching personal recounts of parents or spouses losing children or loved ones to paternalism induced suicide.

Whether directly a victim of Morrison’s paternalism, or indirectly through emotional contagion supporting and listening to the voices of the vulnerable, we have entered an era of collective depression.

How do we Slay a Monster like Morrison?

Demand a serious safety net

Demand and insist on the narrative that people want to work

Demand financial penalties cease within Social Security

Demand work for the Dole and PATH cease immediately

Demand Private Job Active Agencies are abolished. Outcome Based Funding is abolished and replaced with block funding

Demand Newstart is lifted above the poverty line

Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation. Demand Job Creation.

Demand people with a disability, the sick and those with terminal illness are afforded the dignity of a pension

Demand the eradication of harsher punitive measures for areas with high Indigenous populations

Demand that Cashless Welfare Card ceases immediately and is voluntary only

Demand the funding of preventative programs

Demand RoboDebt is dismantled immediately

Demand Aged Care is fully funded and in abundance in the Public system

Demand the rights and autonomy of Unions in all workplaces

Finally, put the Liberals, Nationals and One Nation LAST. Always.


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  1. New England Cocky

    Excellent contribution Trish, thank you.


  2. Kaye Lee

    “How do we Slay a Monster like Morrison?”

    Very good action list. You also spoke about housing in the article. I would add affordable public housing, crisis housing and rehab facilities to the list.

    The decisions to make caring for the aged and disabled and employment services profit making businesses has caused a great deal of harm.

    I still can’t get over Morrison’s “unfunded empathy” comment. Solutions might have a price, empathy doesn’t.

  3. Phil Pryor

    Morrison is as low as a bug’s bottom and lower than any P M in our history, or equally so with some other pit poo. We need to overcome his strengths, which include the patronage and donor driven media and corporations. Getting ordinary Australians to actually think and seek truth might be more than difficult. Some, especially in Queensland, embrace slime, lies, fate, hopes, propaganda and self harm.

  4. johnyperth

    I’m on the age pension, and, I only received $ 3:60 per week rise last September!!
    The age pension is being eroded by the Morrison government!!
    So, you can put this on your “wish” list as nothing will change under this Morrison government!!
    It’s part of the conservative government economics 1o1 !!

  5. king1394

    Morrison also has a vision that you touched upon in your opening, to leave us to suffer the apocalypse, from which he is certain he will be bodily uplifted. It is not in his belief system to make our lives better on the earth

  6. Jennifer Demas

    Trish, the nation is more like in denial, then depression and any dissent on Morrison will be denied not only by the masses but also by an ever acquiescent corporate media. Morrison knows it that is why he can play the 4th estate like a honky tonk and the media invariably caves like snot filled tissues to his tune, in the words of Aristotle, “A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom the consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him believing that he has the gods on his side”. Jeeez bad enough the corporate 4th estate was word-played by the loquacious Turnbull never have they heard so many meaningless words/phrases that sounded so smart and brilliant (operative words sounded) when he effectively told Australia “.. we cannot future proof ourselves blah blah…”, Turnbull sounded so very 21st century but had no idea about any idea even when he had the temerity to part borrow from him “.. if the idea isn’t working plagiarise one blah blah …” he managed to stuff it up big time and nobody cottoned on not even the 4th estate that made a crust with wordplay. And when it comes to Morrison, he just shut them down “…on water matters…”, or “….gossip….” or “.. Canberra bubble…” etc etc and the media in vapors and folded.

    So no, don’t think the masses will not move against Morrison as long as he keep on display for all to see (irrespective which) the uncommon devotion to religion he and his motley knows it and a 4th estate will acquiesce to it, until all is lost a fractured Australia, unraveled social fabric a viscerally angry people divided and prejudice (creed colour and other) against it self and an Australia that was by-passed by any semblance of a progressive fair and equal 21st century. And please before I have the toxic vitriol raged against me, I’m not anti- his devotion (to each his own), that is a private matter between him/her and whomever, just don’t do the recruitment drive with it.

  7. Pete Petrass

    the quickest (and most deserving for scummo) way is to just hire a hit man.

  8. Robyn Cleland

    well said these corrupt people need to go before the next election or we will not have rights left.

  9. Henry Rodrigues

    The first line in the agenda should be, get rid of Murdoch and his corrupt minions, then the bastards in the commercial media aka Ch 7 Ch 9, then sack that mealy mouthed crap artist in charge of the ABC, and then the back room manipulators like arsewipe Costello,and the dickheads on Sky and radio shit heads like the parrot. That in my opinion is the start we need to make, before anything will change. Scummo and the coalition’s political longevity, depends on all the creeps mentioned.

  10. Denys Finney

    People of (a certain) faith know (or think) that when people are ‘down’ they are more vulnerable to the peddlers of religion, especially the fundamentalist/prosperity types. Maybe this is his cunning plan.

  11. crypt0

    Good list Trish. One more item … Establish a federal ICAC (with TEETH) and an AFP determined to find, charge, and have convicted those guilty of governmental corruption, starting from the top.
    Guaranteed to bring on another Engadine Maccas episode … perhaps quite a few of them!

  12. Aortic

    ICAC Royal Commisions and the Productivity Commision are all OXYMORONS just like this so called government. Jesus, I thought McMahon and Abbott were morons but his present bullshit salesman and his pathetic band of fckwits outstrip them all for sheer incompetence and adherence to policy vacuums. It’s all the fault of the Lieber party according to Cormann and that s all they got.

  13. corvusboreus

    I am glad that Scott Morrison is the only thing we currently need to worry about.
    A few weeks back a collection of people with relevant science degrees told a bunch of world leaders that we are facing a manifestly unfolding and rapidly escalating existential crisis in terms of our cumulative effects on the planet’s climate and biota, and that our window of agency to enact effective remediation and avert catastrophic consequences was rapidly disappearing.
    Given that this little issue of a serious threat to the ongoing habitability of our living environment is not worthy of even a passing. mention in the author’s manifesto, perhaps our PM was right to skip the depressing science lesson and visit a box factory instead.

  14. Kaye Lee


    According to Morrison, you can relax because we are “sensitive” miners

    Mr Morrison was asked by a British television reporter how Australia could justify expanding the coal industry while the government’s own reports suggested climate change was the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

    “Because we have the best mining industry in the world that understands how to do the job properly and to do it sensitively and to care for the environment.”

  15. Keith


    If we don’t get real actions on climate change we are stuffed. Since the IPCC raised their message about how long we have to begin real action, more Reports have been published underpinning the IPCC warnings. Oceans warming, permafrost thawing, methane emissions increasing, and more accurate assessments of lowlands under threat from flooding due to sea level rise. The resultant flooding causing something like 360 million people to be displaced around 2050. We are presently hardly coping with the far fewer numbers of displaced persons at present. Sea level rise does not need to be particularly high … storm surges will create the initial damage.

    Politicians need to listen to scientists, not their big corporation mates who stand to benefit from no action/little action on climate change.

  16. corvusboreus

    The fact that the strayan media mainly ignored that (conservatively) gloomy IPCC climate briefing (with it’s pessimistically revised estimates) and instead concentrated on confecting outrage about the speech of a Swedish schoolgirl could give a clue as to where one of the main problems in clear communication may lie.

    Anyhow, enough of this gabble about climate change (or global warming if you so prefer), the natural environment is not a subject of any particular interest within the context of this article.

  17. Nedi

    The Woolies $300 million underpayement of workers underpins how Coalition Liberals have written wage theft into their cruel and harsh welfare Centrelink policy for over a decade by forcing jobseekers to take underpaid work with threats of having their Newstart cut off for not taking “any suitable job” which does not mean “any suitable pay” or conditions.
    This is enforced by the heavy iron fisted arm of multiple departments who fetish with unwaranted zeal, and game the lives of jobseekers to extract as much free stuff from jobseekers in form of unpaid labor with the ephemism’s like “mutual obligations.
    A one way deal of taking from those on Newstart.
    By unspoken definition of The Coalition orginal intent “any suitable job” does not mean any suitable pay or correct pay or awards, and conditions as set out by Fairwork Australia which is another Coalition Departmental oxymoron for damaging workers and the economy while turning a blind eye to the wage theft that eventually drives the economy into recession and collapses living standards for Australians.

  18. JudithW

    After waiting 12 weeks for my Newstart application to be approved I’m told that after 13 weeks it will be passed to another area where it will be “processed manually”. I wonder how it’s been processed up to now with the reams of paperwork and copies of documents and statutory declarations I’ve had to submit.

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