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Oh dear – our new PM is not up to the job

By Ad astra

We know Scott Morrison has held several portfolios, immigration and treasurer the most important. The electorate might have hoped that these experiences would have endowed him with a modicum of general knowledge about how government works, some feel for how international diplomacy is carried out, some notion of what to say, to whom, and when. But, after just a few short weeks, we are left disillusioned. Our accidental PM seems to have learned almost nothing of these crucial political skills – every day he shows he’s not up to the job.

His proclivity for incessant talking, too often before putting his brain into gear, has landed him in hot water. It’s almost as if he’s become overawed with his recent elevation, and can’t adjust to the high office of PM, where common sense, balance, perspicacity, knowing when to speak and when to shut up, are essential attributes.

Of course his exaggerated sense of his own importance, not a recent phenomenon mind you, exacerbates his verbal diarrhoea, which we see every time he appears in the media. He’s always got an answer, always confident that he knows best, his words always accompanied by his all-knowing smirk.

We knew he was terrified at the prospect of losing the Wentworth by-election. With his one seat majority, a Wentworth loss could lead to loss of government. So it was unsurprising that he took every opportunity to shore up the LNP vote, throwing tidbits to the voters, many of whom are Jewish, in the hope of gaining another vote or two. This is the only rational explanation observers could find for his recent off-the-cuff comments about recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and re-locating the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Did he for a nano-second think that while these thought bubbles just might appeal to Jewish voters in Wentworth, they would attract worldwide attention, hearty applause from Israeli PM Netanyahu and President Trump, and equally voluble condemnation from the Palestinians, much of the diplomatic world that is hoping for an eventual two State solution, and fury from Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, which insisted that such moves would threaten an important trade deal being negotiated, which if negated would leave Australia much worse off?

Shadow Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, said that the move Morrison floated was “a position that was not held by Alexander Downer, was not held by Julie Bishop, was not held by Malcolm Turnbull – and guess what, wasn’t held by Scott Morrison just a couple of months ago … He’s floating a change in Liberal foreign policy … just to try to hold on to the seat of Wentworth. And does anyone actually believe he’ll carry this through?”

So here we have our amateur PM angering half the world and threatening our economy, all in one fell swoop. And what’s more, he was scarcely aware of the damage his words had done. His attempts to ‘play down’ the consequences of his actions underscored his naïveté, amateurishness, and just plain stupidity.

Not satisfied with the grenades he had already thrown, he also announced:

  • Australia would vote against a motion on the Palestinian Authority taking the chair of the Group of 77 of developing nations.
  • The government would “review without prejudice” Australia’s support for the Iran nuclear deal, to determine whether its current policy was still fit for purpose.
  • Australia and Israel would strengthen their defence and security co-operation with the appointment of defence attaches in their respective embassies.

And it wasn’t as if he was not warned: An ASIO bulletin, marked secret, Australian eyes only, circulated on 15 October, the day before his announcements, noted that the shift in policy would ”Attract international attention … any announcement on the possible relocation of the Australian embassy to Jerusalem or consideration of voting against Palestinians in the United Nations may provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank.” It also warned that it was possible Australian interests could be the target of protest activity following such an announcement, and noted that “attacks and violent protests” have occurred at times of heightened political tension. The bulletin noted too that Australian diplomatic facilities in Iran could also be the focus of protest activity if the Morrison government withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

The bulletin also highlighted the possibility of protests within Australia, although it says domestic protests are unlikely to be violent. It said ASIO was not aware of specific threats to Jewish interests in Australia, although it said that Israeli and Jewish interests remain “an enduring target of extremists globally … While a small number of Australian-based individuals maintain a violent Islamist extremist ideology that includes a strong anti-Semitic element, we are not aware of any specific or credible terrorist threat to Israel or Jewish interests in Australia.” In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Shaath, a former foreign minister, said Morrison’s announcement was a hostile action that destroyed the chances of peace. “This doesn’t really help. It might increase the chances of the government winning Wentworth in Australia … but if this is the way you do Middle East politics in order to win a by-election, then please allow me to be very negative towards this policy … it will bring nothing but ruin.

As if his own diplomatic blunders were not enough, his accident-prone environment minister, Melissa Price, piled on with her own when she insulted the former president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, who was dining at a restaurant in Canberra with: “I know why you’re here. It is for the cash. For the Pacific, it is always about the cash. I have my chequebook here. How much do you want?”.Sarah Hanson-Young nailed Price with “She dismisses the science of climate change, and she now dismisses the views and the very heartfelt advocacy of leaders in the region.”

Then, on the eve of the by-election, idiot Nationals decide it’s time for another leadership scrap, and Barnaby Joyce pokes his florid face above the parapet announcing he’d be happy to be leader again! Morrison has no control over these morons – why would they listen to him anyway?

Whichever way our clumsy PM turns, he makes the wrong call, upsets those he ought to be fostering, talks incessantly but says nothing, thinks he’s an oracle but is perceived as a fool. He is an embarrassment to his party and to the nation.

The result in Wentworth captured the intense disillusionment that voters feel, not just in that electorate, but across the nation too – disillusionment with the Liberal Party, the Coalition, and in our newly minted PM. No leader can escape the ignominy that inflicts the party he leads. Yet in facing Liberal supporters afterwards, Morrison, truculent as ever even in the face of a humiliating outcome, gave us a pulpit-thumping dose of evangelical claptrap. Channeling his Pentecostal mentors, he extolled the resilience of true-blue Liberals, whom he insisted would rise from the dead – Phoenix-like from the ashes of the appalling Wentworth result. We can expect even more of this.

But it doesn’t alter the fact that Scott Morrison is a rank amateur in the PM arena, is not up to the job, or to use one of his favourite phrases, is ‘not fit for purpose’. Using Aussie vernacular though, he is simply a dud. Oh dear, we really do have a dud PM.

This article was originally published on The Political Sword.

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27 comments

  1. LInda

    Verbal diarrhea, rabbits on incessantly, and speaks in UPPER case!!!

  2. Matters Not

    Re, the movement of the embassy and:

    angering half the world

    Slightly more than that it seems. What with Trump’s lack of popularity in his own backyard and with Guatemala losing its citizenry (less than 17 million) via caravans on a regular basis, we were distinguishing ourselves with our ability to do stupid.

    He’s making quite a name for himself. Already a historical figure of fun – and in such a short space of time. Perhaps they should’ve gone for Dutton? Would’ve been a mini series at least. Or am I getting ahead of myself?

  3. Rich Simpson

    Overpromoted Dunning-Kruger sufferer. A political Munchhausen without the charm. A petty, tight-fisted, mean-spirited Napoleon complex afflictee, who amateurishly attempts a jovial, bumptious exterior, but transparently conceals a heart of flint. A Dementor without the power of suck. Avoid.

  4. Josephus

    Dutton in contrast is not a figure of fun, as he has no sense of humour and no self awareness it seems. Dutton would have brought out crowds in the streets calling on him to go.

  5. pierre wilkinson

    loquacious logorrhoea is ProMo’s fail safe position, talk none stop, say nothing of consequence, then smirk and suggest that he has already addressed that question… weren’t you listening? >smug smile<

  6. amethyst3009

    Although Scott Morrison is an embarrassment to himself, Australia and the world, he is a million times better then Dutton. Dutton would have had us all under martial law by now. (I’m not at all a Morrison supporter, I actually cringe every time he opens his mouth and I find him totally creepy). We missed a bullet with the Libs not electing Dutton.

    Morrison has shown himself totally out of his depth. A crap salesman with crappy goods (policy) to sell. Every time he opens his mouth he makes the situation, which is dire, worse. Just keep doing what you are doing, Morrison, you can’t do anything else, what a disaster for the current government. Hopefully the election can come soon,

  7. Barry Thompson.

    It worries me that he believes in the sky fairy. In my opinion that displays a lack of the intellect required to lead our country.

  8. Graeme Henchel

    Scott Morrison has not moved on from his role as George Costanza in the Seinfeld series. He is typecast as a narcissistic, incompetent, lazy loudmouth who constantly gets himself into problems with lying then makes things worse with more lying.

  9. RomeoCharlie29

    I agree with everything in this article except the suggestion that a threat to the free trade agreement with Indonesia would be a disaster for Australia. I think it has been shown by the productivity commission that such unilateral trad3 deals add very little to our GDP. And then there is the iniquitous TPP with its Investor State Dispute Settlement provisions which, for some unfathomable reason, Labor has decided to support while rejecting Sarah Hanson-Young’s sensible amendments. On this issue alone Shorten has raised questions about his fitness to govern.

  10. helvityni

    Graeme Henchel, yes but George made me laugh; Scomo only infuriates me, his inhumane treatment of asylum seekers makes me cry…

    Would Jesus approve of his hard stance on sick asylum seeker children…. any apologies now or in the future…?

  11. Kaye Lee

    helvityni,

    Steve Ciobo has been out and about this morning. Re the asylum seeker children he said it was their parents’ fault for trying to come here in the first place. Then he said the Coalition were cleaning up Labor’s mess. These guys don’t seem to realise how ridiculous that line sounds when they have been in government for over 5 years.

  12. helvityni

    KL, when Leigh Sales interviewed Rudd last night, I was pleased that he did not say anything insulting about Turnbull…

    The coalition usually change everything that Labor has done; both sides seem to be in agreement though that asylum seekers ought to be shipped to NZ or to America…So other countries should have compassion, not Oz…

    Disappointed in Albo last night…

  13. New England Cocky

    @amythyst3009: As Napoleon said, “Never disturb your enemy while they are making mistakes”.

  14. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee and everyone else in the room.

    Take a deep breath. Hold it for a few seconds then yell loudly –

    “It’s all Labor’s fault!”
    “It’s always Labor’s fault!”

  15. Geoff Andrews

    Aw, come on fellas. They’re teething problems. He’s getting on with the job; he’s havin’ a crack, givin’ it a go so he should get a go.
    I’m surprised Labor hasn’t made more constant reference to the Pythonesque shambles on Hanson’s “fair crack of the whip for white men” motion.
    If I had been a wavering Wentworth voter on Saturday, this farce alone would have convinced me not to vote for this flock of sheep, not some pie in the sky 20 second grab on the capital of Israel or even the possibility that a florid adulterer might become Deputy PM.
    Administrative error! “The computer said ‘yes””
    So our broad church of independent thinkers needs to be instructed how to vote from HQ.

  16. May Hem

    So now we can all re-joyce about the possible recycling of barnaby. is he likely to be re-appointed as deputy to our blabbermouth-in-chief?

    hope so. this would ensure a defeat of the coalition at the next election.

    we are seeing the inevitable disintegration of the old parties – they are well on the way to becoming an endangered species and are obviously incapable of dealing with current and potential global problems. they simply do not know what to do except to repeat the same old mistakes.

  17. helvityni

    …on what basis did Scottie nominate his Education and Environment Ministers…I’m baffled by his choices.

  18. Nigel Drake

    @ helvityni,

    I’m totally nonplussed by the fact that he has ever been in any position of authority.
    There is something decidedly dodgy about the whole shebang.

    @Lynda,

    The combination of verbal diarhea with mental constipation is not entirely uncommon in political circles 😉

  19. Kyran

    With respect, Ad astra, there is a long list of jobs “our new PM is not up to”. His CV starts with some obscure tertiary qualification, then morphs into ‘marketing’. Given the success of his ‘where the feck are you’ gained him banishment to NZ, it’s a pity we couldn’t impose the ‘limited citizenship’ he is now proposing for those we are detaining without charge. If only we could make NZ keep him, and their ‘citizen of the year’, Bananas.
    “We knew he was terrified at the prospect of losing the Wentworth by-election” morphed into “It’s only a flesh wound” within a few hours, with the most ungracious speech since his predecessor. Admittedly, his predecessor was ungracious about winning. When there was some fear that the call had been made too early, he immediately transitioned to “See, it’s not over till the fat lady sings.” Now he’s left ‘horse trading’ with a woman. Apparently, it’s not over until the thin lady sings.
    “And what’s more, he was scarcely aware of the damage his words had done ….” His, and his predecessors, ‘preferred candidate’ announced a $2.2mill security grant to Jewish institutions during the campaign. A timeline would be informative as to that grant and the announcement of being one of the few countries on the planet to support a ‘one-state’ solution to a ‘two-state’ problem.
    It’s a sad, sad situation when you try and rationally, or reasonably, or logically, interpret or analyse the acts of the irrational, the unreasonable, or the illogical.
    I seem to recall a while back helvityni crediting a ‘comment of the day’. It seems only fair to afford her the same accolade.
    “…on what basis did Scottie nominate his Education and Environment Ministers…I’m baffled by his choices.”
    Merit. The same justification he has used for all of his new ministers. The merit was assessed by their inability to carry sharp instruments and their ability to admire the ‘emperor’s new clothes’. It also goes a long way to explaining why there are so few women in the ministry. It is undoubtedly a vision that few would appreciate.
    Scummo.
    Nude.
    Thankyou Ad astra and commenters. I sincerely hope you don’t read that last bit whilst contemplating food. Take care

  20. paul walter

    I wonder how long before the electorate wakes up to what a considered Trumpist insult to them Melissa Price is?

  21. Peter F

    The PM’s offsider said this morning that our problems with electricity prices at the moment are ‘all Labor’s fault for not providing storage’. I suppose this explains the MASSIVE works undertaken in the past five years by this ‘government’ to make up for the lack of storage.

    At least he acknowledged that nothing has happened since Labor left. I’m going bush for a break!!!! (even if I do live 30km from the nearest town)

  22. Ad Astra

    May I thank you all for your contribution to this piece.

    Clearly, the consensus is that Morrison is indeed not up to the job, and likely never will be. If, after all the experience he has had as a parliamentarian, much of it in government, he still flounders so lamentably, the prognosis is poor. His entrenched beliefs, both ideological and religious, will govern his rhetoric and behaviour indefinitely. Recovery is unlikely.

  23. Kronomex

    Sums up The Beetroot rather nicely –

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/barnaby-joyce-is-the-coalition-s-disease-20181025-p50bud.html

    and

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/26/angry-barnaby-joyce-lashes-out-at-innuendo-in-heated-exchange-with-fran-kelly

    And now the Mad Monk is sticking his nasty little face into Brexit (awful bloody word) –

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/more-of-a-friend-than-obama-brits-divided-on-abbott-s-brexit-intervention-20181026-p50c16.html

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