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Our Man in Washington: Morrison’s Tour of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sigh of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts. Being known in his own country as “Scotty from Marketing,” he just might pull it off.

Besides, a security compact with the United States and the United Kingdom had just been cemented, one promising Canberra eight submarines with nuclear propulsion. That these promised to be eye-wateringly expensive and available sometime in the 2040s, were they to ever make it to water, was a point not even worth considering.

In the US press, Morrison was careful to toe the line of the partner made supplicant. On CBS’s Face the Nation, he was asked whether the US and its allies were moving towards conflict with Beijing. “I don’t think it’s inevitable at all,” he chirped, claiming that it was “in everybody’s interest” that we all co-exist. But this “happy co-existence” was premised on keeping China in the box or, as he preferred to put it, a committed role of “free nations like Australia” and others in the Indo-Pacific region to stay vigilant.

On climate change, he was also pressed on having not “given a timeline” on placing Australia on the path to net zero emissions. He admitted this to be the case and vacillated. Slipping back into advertising mode, Morrison said that “performance matters” for Australia. The net zero target was being pursued, and would be achieved “preferably by 2050.” The usual half-baked assurances followed: Australia’s record was “strong … We’ve already reduced emissions in Australia by over 20 percent since 2005. We committed to Kyoto. We met that target and beat that target.” As for the Paris target? Not an issue: Australia would romp it.

At that point, CBS’s Margaret Brennan could only observe that no country had actually delivered on such targets. Hardly a problem, came Morrison’s reply to the bubble’s bursting. “See, it’s one thing to have a commitment, but in Australia, you’re not taken seriously unless you’ve got a plan to achieve the commitment.” This was delightful coming from a Prime Minister who has no plans to speak off when it comes to dealing with climate change. In fact, Morrison’s tenure has been marked by an absence of plans on any major policy decision. When any have been proposed – the vaccine rollout being the conspicuous example – they have been spectacular failures.

In a press conference given on September 24, Morrison pursued his favourite theme in colouring Australia’s lamentable contribution to the global climate debate: technology. Australia is never the laggard in Morrison’s environmental cosmos. Developing countries, he insisted, should be the priority, which was another way of saying that they were the problem. “If we want to address climate change, then we need to address the change that is necessary in developing economies, so they can grow their economies, build their industries, make the things the world needs.” For any difference to be worthwhile, “we’ve got to make a difference everywhere.”

Such a slanted view found its mark. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was taken by a flight of fancy in thinking that Morrison was doing something special. In welcoming the Australia prime minister to the Capitol, Pelosi considered the AUKUS security pact “pretty exciting” and thanked Morrison for showing “leadership” on the issue of climate change.

The next day, Pelosi latched on to Morrison’s remarks about the Paris targets in her weekly press conference with candy-grabbing enthusiasm. Both the UK’s Boris Johnson and Morrison were “so exuberant about the urgency of addressing the climate issues.” But it was the Australian who impressed with his slogan “We Meet It and We Beat It.” That was enough for the Speaker: “they’re leading the way, and that’s what we all have to do” namely “meet our emissions responsibility and our financial responsibility to other countries so that when we leave COP26, having fulfilled our obligations to the Paris Accords, and then go further.”

Such glaringly superficial assessments can be put down to the fanfare that accompanies visiting dignitaries from freedom land’s outposts. Morrison was particularly fortunate on that score, winning over his hosts with a shameless slogan that sounded hopelessly electoral and starkly mendacious.

Which takes us to the next point: Pelosi and company have proved to be something of a sounding board for the next Australian federal election. Morrison’s action on climate change will be minimal, but that will be irrelevant in a number of electoral battlegrounds. Having a slogan, writes Sean Kelly, a former advisor to two previous Australian Labor Prime Ministers, will be acceptable to “a remarkable number of people, as an acceptable substitute for reality – just as it was in America last week.” The Australian Labor Party, still languishing in hopeless opposition, have every reason to be worried.

 

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25 comments

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  1. Ross

    It’s not about u-boats, it’s about the upcoming federal election.
    The French Subs could offer nothing to Scotty in his re-election plans so fuck the French.
    The Americans on the other hand held the opportunity for a big loud pre-election announcement.
    When you drill down that’s all it is, just another announcement from Scotty from Marketing.
    Then again Scotty needs all the help he can get, he can’t run an election campaign on his governments competency, people would laugh. Good economic managers, my arse.
    One other thing in this charade, the British trade envoy is one Anthony John Abbott.

  2. Mark

    Re:

    Morrison’s tenure has been marked by an absence of plans on any major policy decision

    Indeed! But even a glance at the historical record will show that grand plans from government have been miserable failures. In the Soviet Union, the first Five-Year Plan (1928–32), the concentration was on developing heavy industry and collectivizing agriculture. The second (1933–37) continued the objectives of the first. Collectivization led to terrible famines that caused the deaths of millions.

    Of course, grandiose plans weren’t confined to the Soviet Union and could be found in China, Albania, Hungary, Saudi Arabia to name but a few. Most were spectacular failures.

    So why proceed down that centralised planning route of proven failure? Why not just leave it to Adam Smith’s invisible hand defined as:

    the mechanisms through which beneficial social and economic outcomes may arise from the accumulated self-interested actions of individuals,

    Yes the so called common good that flows from the self-interested actions of individuals. It’s all around us. Examples, include small government that continues to shrink.

    Or is that his real plan? The meta-plan – that he dare not reveal? That he dare not market?

    PS Ross. For politicians in general, it’s always about the next election. Particularly if you’re not in a safe seat or not confident of government or …

  3. Michael Taylor

    For politicians in general, it’s always about the next election…

    Indeed it is, Mark. But not only for politicians, but political parties as well. I don’t wish to sound biased, but it is a particular ploy of the LNP. Having worked as a policy officer under the Coalition and Labor, I certainly did see it used more tactically under Howard.

    They borrowed – yet butchered – the old football adage: “You’re only as good as your next game.”

  4. Arnd

    Hey, Mark,

    Why not just leave it to Adam Smith’s invisible hand …

    The thing about ole’ Adam S. that all neo-liberals invariably forget to mention, is that he was on occasions very suspicious of vested interests, and certainly understood that rent-seeking is antithetical to the efficient operation of market liberalism. As you can read yourself on the Wikipedia entry on Free Market:

    For classical economists such as Adam Smith, the term free market does not necessarily refer to a market free from government interference, but rather free from all forms of economic privilege, monopolies and artificial scarcities. This implies that economic rents, i.e. profits generated from a lack of perfect competition, must be reduced or eliminated as much as possible through free competition.

    Capeesh?

    Marge T., Ronnie R., and every neo-liberal since, including Paul Keating and, latterly, Joe “The age of entitlement is over” Hockey, have been flogging a make-believe rocking horse.

    For over forty years! Ever since the post-WWII Keynesian compact began to fall victim to its own successes.

    For over forty years! All my adult life! And leaving a terrible environmental, social and political legacy to my children and grandchildren.

    It’s way past time to ditch this vulgar perversion of Smith’s Invisible Hand. All it does is fondle the Big Swinging Dicks of the LNP. Right there, in full public view! Can’t you see it?

    Or why do you think Scotty can’t stop smirking? Something obviously feels very, very good!

  5. Mark

    Hey Arnd – can’t you see when I’m taking the piss?

    Try John Ralston Saul:

    How poor Adam Smith got stuck with disciples like the market economists and the neo-conservatives is hard to imagine. He is in profound disagreement with their view of society.

    https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4392.John_Ralston_Saul

    Just couldn’t think of any more childish names to call Morrison so I thought I’d try a different tack.

  6. Arnd

    Hey Mark,

    Poe’s law is an adage of Internet culture stating that, without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, it is impossible to create a parody of extreme views such that it cannot be mistaken by some readers for a sincere expression of the views being parodied.

    And the view that you parodied is, unfortunately, not even as uncommon as all that. In fact, I’m not sure exactly how far off we are from the neo-liberals revisiting Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick.

  7. Roswell

    Just wait until they hear Morrison’s impassioned heart-filled slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

  8. Phil Pryor

    Morrison does have the instinct of the aware political pervert, and moves rapidly from knob to knob as policy, with a ready and salivating embouchure for possible survival and success. Getting and giving gratification is a deep perversion, which the ordinary young nobody perceives as an essential component of future elevation and success. Morrison is of an eternal type, known from Roman imperial times at least, to plot and use any conspiracy, any fantasy, any superstition, any device to further a personal approach to success, so that the SHIT beneath his contempt can be shut up eternally, and the embryonic magnificence, the self realised wonder of the person is made manifest as a Lord of Creation and Existence and Worship. The Great Holy Whore of ego-manifestation, an infestation of crap to us, is HERE, Poxing the people and nation for a Big Fix of narcissistic fantasy, delusion, fraud, filth and fistfondling frigging of the Morrison Frankfurt. We are victims, whether we accept or reject the type, but this shit will ooze, swell, rise and drown us and this nation.

  9. Roswell

    Phil, have you ever stopped to think that Morrison might be an idiot?

    Silly question. Of course you have. 😁

  10. HENRY RODRIGUES

    Roswell.. Infinitely more than just an idiot, but an indulgent, destructive idiot, blissfully unaware that he is an idiot.

  11. Roswell

    Henry, you say it much better than I do.

  12. Neilwal

    Look at the lunatic eyes. Morrison a total sociopath

  13. Consume Less

    So according to Prime Idiot Oz is meeting and beating, going at a canter, going further, romping in. FFS, this guy has seen too many eagles. Meanwhile our PER CAPITA emissions output is 15.83 tons and China is 6.59 tons.

  14. Terence Mills

    So if the Prime Minister of Australia decides not to go to COP26 in Glasgow in November then, does that mean that the Deputy Prime Minister will go ?

    That should be fun.

    A pork sausage at a Bar Mitzvah comes to mind !

  15. GL

    Terence,

    I would be very surprised if Putrid Malodour Scummo went to COP26 because he would most likely find it harder to scam other leaders into thinking how terrificus and caring about climate he has suddenly become. Beetroot Bonce Banababy might attend if he could figure out how to rort the whole deal and pocket loads of cash.

  16. Arnd

    No need to apologize, Mark. And thanks for the link. I did know that JoFry is an un-reconstructed Thatcher/Reagan acolyte – how that is even possible, for anyone capable of reading joined-up writing, I shall never know. It must require an industrial strength capability to ignore cognitive dissonance. I did not know that Scotty apparently tried to reign in JoFry.

    It makes me wonder what is preferable: to subscribe to a totally cocked -up set of principles (JoFry), or to have no principles whatsoever (Scotty)? The latter obviously comes with the advantage that he can blather and blurt out any bollocks that happens to zap through what passes as his brain, and to do so without the encumbrance that comes with knowing that what he just said is in fact total bollocks. It’s what makes Scotty such a convincing carpet-bagging purveyor of the kind of patent medicine that consists of homeopathic “substances” suspended in moonshine. Some (many?) people just can’t get enough of it (including, apparently, such luminaries as Nancy P.) – it promises a bit of oblivion, and it is obviously much less dramatic, painful or invasive than actual surgery.

    As to whether Scotty’s moonshine has any actual therapeutic effect: who cares? Certainly not Scotty. By the time the results come in, he’ll be long gone.

  17. GL

    Fear of this, fear of that, fear of what Labor will do to wreck to the country. Hell, just throw fear everywhere and hope that it scares the credulous into voting him and gang of crooks back in again because only they can save us. It’s all he has, there are no policies beyond those that will continue to enrich him, his crew, their donors and corporate masters.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2021/sep/28/if-scott-morrison-is-framing-the-election-around-fear-national-security-may-not-be-the-slam-dunk-hes-banking-on

  18. Joe Carli

    The gushing welcomes and masculine grasping handshakes that seem to be de rigueur for Yankees greeting the Aussie “blokes”, smacks of a sincerity equal to if not surpassing the advertising promotional expertise of porn star of old; Marilyn Chambers who could in one afternoon’s viewing play the vamp in a porn romp on 8mm at a bucks party whilst elsewhere hugging a babe-in-arms on daytime TV promoting the purity of “Ivory Snow” soap powder…the tragedy behind Morrison’s double act equivalet is that so many people in both countries are so willing to fall for the schmalzy schlock!

  19. Neilwal

    My new invented word for Morriscum – a ‘Slither-fool’

  20. Harry Lime

    Is it possible that Pelosi was taking the piss? I wouldn’t have thought she was that gullible.She had a lot of practice with the Orange Horror.Although Morrison is possibly an even worse liar.

  21. GL

    On a side note: This cretin has as much credibility as Saint Scotty of the Submarines.

    https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/australia/off-the-rails-florida-governor-ron-desantis-blasts-australias-covid-restrictions/news-story/9aea5a9f5df3c82cbf4bdcbdd62a8cd5

    Harry,

    It’s possible because Scotty couldn’t see sarcasm if the word was painted in neon green on her forehead as she spoke to him. I think he truly believes that he is (chosen by dog) our greatest…choke…leader ever.

  22. Harry Lime

    Thanks for the response GL, I was just about to ring lifeline.I detested Howard, but this prick shits all over him.

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