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ScoMo’s campaign launch flops ending a week of catastrophic failure

Scott Morrison’s Liberal campaign flop at the Melbourne Convention Sunday may be a teensy setback but at least he gets to talk for 55 minutes. Jim Jones would harangue The Peoples’ Temple for hours. Fidel Castro bored on at the UN for four hours, 29 minutes. Ted Cruz ranted against Obamacare for 21 hours 19 minutes. ScoMo’s clearly working up to that.

“I believe that Australia is a promise to everyone who has the great privilege to call themselves an Australian. It’s the promise that allows Australians quietly going about their lives to realise their simple, honest and decent aspirations,”

ScoMo’s clearly been influenced by Robert Lee James Hawke who invoked the same promise in a real speech in 1987.

“This is the promise of Australia. This is the Australian vision. This is the reality of the Australian dream. Together, let us begin a new century of Australian achievement.”

But even a train-wreck of a campaign launch may have a silver lining. It’s great to hear Sarah Henderson run through stale talking points about how we can’t afford Bill Shorten, framing the election to be about who you would pick to be PM.

And how good is Michael McCormack? His own campaign itself is tanking. He may well lose his seat. He changes the topic if you mention climate change. But what guts.

The Morrison government appears to be in a spot of bother. MPs are rushing to save the furniture polishing cloth. “Senior cabinet ministers are panicking and drawing in resources to protect their own seats,” reports ABC’s Laura Tingle.

But all is well. The nation is all aflutter this week with a confirmed sighting of “invisible” Melissa Price, our reclusive environment minister. No-one expects Mel to campaign or anything – she’s refused umpteen invitations to appear on ABC 7:30 alone – not that anyone could blame her.

So one million plant and animal species are on the verge of extinction? Dire are the implications for human survival, the United Nations warns Monday, reports The Washington Post. The work doesn’t rate a mention in ScoMo’s speech.

Seven lead co-authors from universities across the world compile a ground-breaking report which directly links the loss of species to human activity. It also reveals how those losses undermine food, water security and human health.

“150 authors from 50 nations labour for three years to compile the report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services — a panel with 132 member nations, including the United States. Representatives of each member nation signed off on the findings.”

In most countries, in most parties, the environment minister would reply promptly. Mel doesn’t even go “meh”.

Morrison backs her up. “I don’t want to see the Labor Party get to office where they tie businesses up with all sorts of union red tape and all sorts of the Greens’ green tape, which would just cost people jobs,” he says.

It takes a special kind of PM to call to reduce environmental protection at the time of such a report. And facing an election where pollsters find addressing climate change and preserving the environment top Australian citizens’ concerns. But Mel says Meh.

Is she OK? Mad-dog McGrath said he’d get her dumped. Call publicly for her to resign. Yet all Pricey has to do is pick up her pen. Sign on the dotted line. OK, Adani’s water and conservation plans for ecology. Flawed? So what if Adani’s a $60,000 party sponsor? It’s just due process. No bullying. ScoMo’s fixed all that Liberal bully culture stuff.

Last September, Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi threatened to name and shame the bullies. But she’s withdrawn all that. After a chat with ScoMo, where he appealed to her as “a good Christian woman”, Lucy came to her senses and decided to give ScoMo a fair go to assert his authority; fix party discipline. You can tell it’s working by the tiny turnout at the campaign launch Sunday. Only a strong leader could persuade so many party members to stay away. Lucy’s there, though, hoping for censure of Safe Schools.

Will Mel and her Yeelirrie, WA uranium mine approval earn her a guest role in the next instalment of Kill Bill? “Pretty big decision. A lot of money at stake. Made in the dead of night, the day before the election’s called.” What’s he insinuating? There’s a glut of Uranium. It could be years before the mine is built – if ever. But it’s an announceable. And it’s in Durack, her electorate. But News Corp will get Bill back.

OK, even The Australian states that Yeelirrie’s unlikely to be built this decade. Claims “Senior mining industry ­sources” tell The Weekend Australian that large sections of the industry are fuming at the timing of Price’s Yeelirrie decision. It could have been made well before the election. Price’s latest calls are a “desk-clearing” exercise that makes the industry look dodgy.

Make the uranium industry look dodgy. You’d have to go a long way for someone to rival that achievement. As you’d have to go a long way to see an election turn on an attack on a leader’s recount of his mother’s career.

The latest episode of Kill Bill, sees Bill pilloried yet again in The Daily Telegraph, for not telling the whole truth about his mother Ann’s brilliant career. On Q&A, Shorten shares the fact that like so many intelligent women of her generation, Ann was forced by family circumstances to forgo her dream of a law career and take a teaching scholarship instead.

Anna Caldwell’s story, sensitively timed for the week before Mother’s Day, bears the banner, Mother of Invention.

Shifty Bill leaves out the bit where, in her late fifties, Ann did qualify as a lawyer only to suffer the age and gender discrimination which still flourishes in our “fair go if you have a go” workplace. Later, Shorten explains that his mother,

“… got about nine briefs in her time. It was actually a bit dispiriting. She had wanted to do law when she was 17, she didn’t get that chance, she raised kids, and at 50, she backed herself. But she discovered in her mid-50s that sometimes, you’re just too old, and you shouldn’t be too old, but she discovered the discrimination against older women.”

The Kill Bill Show is one of many ways our ruling oligarchy of Murdoch, Mining and Banks supports its Coalition puppet government, while, in return, the great string-puller gets away with paying no tax. News Corp’s creative reportage also leads the Australian media pack in cheering us on in our triennial ritual hunt for the elusive democracy sausage.

False narratives abound. We hang on MPs every word, in one myth, weighing up policy and promise as if our lives depend on it. Or the campaign’s the thing! We dismiss all recall of a government’s actual performance in office in favour of their carefully costed promises and that unicorn of contemporary politics, their policy platform. Myths both of them.

For Waleed Aly, our myopia is alarming. “The whole neo-liberal economic world view is being called into question; “the benefits of trickle-down economics don’t trickle down much at all; politics is a game geared to the benefit of an elite. … the British Parliament – under conservative control – has just declared a state of emergency on climate change in line with countless warnings from scientists. Yet our federal general election may turn on Bill’s mother’s work history?

Yet three-quarters of us are naughty, report researchers. We forgo the democracy sausage. Make up our own minds – and before the campaign even begins. Worse, 2.2 million have already voted. By Polling Day, next Saturday, millions will have already voted. A huge Eurovision Song Contest legitimising Palestinian oppression will upstage televised tally rooms, screens of polling results booth by booth.

Happily, Rupe provides us with countless ripping yarns, diversions and false narratives. These include, ScoMo imagines he is Prime Minister an illusionist masterpiece which prefigures the Liberals’ anti-campaign launch, Sunday where their leader talks to himself alone on stage after being photographed, US-style, hugging his daughters, Abbey and Lily. Wife, Jenny has to stretch her arm to stroke his shoulder. It’s a non-launch, a radically post-modern event for a Bronte bogan.

“It’s not going to be a party hoopla event,” Mr Morrison tells Leigh Sales on 7.30 Monday. “It’s not about the Liberal Party and it’s not about the National Party … It’s not about who is coming, it’s about who will be listening.”

Motor-mouth Morrison is never sure who is listening. Or when he’s made his point. When to stop. Earlier in the week, he pioneers the killer comeback with a two-day delay.

“Who remembers PAC-MAN? That little thing that goes around gobbling up like that?” ScoMo shows and tells. Moves hand. Imagine a snapping turtle sock puppet without the sock. “That’s Bill Shorten’s tax policy. And you know how it chases people around, in the maze? That’s Bill Shorten’s tax policy. The only space he’s going to invade is your wallet.”

Hilarious. Not. A smart comeback is ruined if you have to explain it. Or it takes two days to think up. But ScoMo just loves a bit of panto. Almost as much as refusing to answer questions. Or monstering opponents. Suddenly he springs a surprise puppet show. How funny am I? Who remembers PAC-MAN? Melissa Price? The environment? Policy?

We may not have an environment, energy, education or arts policy from this government., but at least we’ve got ScoMo’s magic Muppet-Show to win our hearts and minds; lift our GDP; save our koalas and Reef. But PAC-MAN?

Get a grip, ScoMo. PAC-MAN isn’t the bad guy. PAC-MAN’s a hero; a digital Odysseus. You help PAC-MAN through a maze full of hungry ghosts. Think Banquo. Or Turnbull.

ScoMo muffs his riposte to Bill’s withering “Space Invaders” slap-down in the second leaders’ debate. Bill wins easily. Goes on to trounce his opponent 3:0 in the series. Commentators turn absurdly to body language to explain how ScoMo actually won on confidence. Or body language. Or sock puppetry.

Graham Freudenberg warns Morrison will flop. “Because … he does take people at the lowest common denominator.”

Sean Kelly sees something of the Kinder teacher in him. Always gesturing. Talking down. Question Time, he’ll ask MPs to put their hands up. If Morrison is elected, Saturday, a lucky nation can expect further infantilising. More vapid, saccharine banter. More beers with the boys. More footy-kicking. Picking up fallen women and other CWA heroics.

Expect more banal, populist, faux-patriotic bull-shit. “Who loves Australia? Everyone. We all love Australia. Of course we do. But do we love all Australians? That’s a different question, isn’t it? Do we love all Australians? We’ve got to.”

Beneath this sanctimonious veneer lurks a monster at war with the poor via Centrelink’s Robo-debt, a man who sees nothing wrong with freezing wages, cutting penalty rates or locking up men women and children on island prisons indefinitely, with no charge, driving them mad as a deterrent to others. Others whose only fault is to throw themselves on our compassion. There is no compassion for our refugees in his speech.

No reference either to the Islamophobia and the misogyny spread by his own government ministers – all the interests of “loving all Australians”.

Daggy dad, deadbeat or dinosaur? Fossil Morrison, Paul Keating calls him at the Labor launch. “There’s the prime minister walking around with a lump of coal. Coal is a fossil. The prime minister is a fossil himself – a fossil with a baseball cap, but a fossil.”

A federal election is not a presidential contest, despite Murdoch’s urging and the Mexican wave of independent MSM. Yet fewer and fewer of us take them seriously these days. Nor do we believe ScoMo who endlessly, witlessly, insists it’s “a choice between Bill and me”.

The punters are not always right, as William Bowe reminds us; take the Victorian election for example. But Betfair odds on Labor victory shorten to $1.13 while the Coalition eases to $6.00. One punter bets a million dollars on Bill.

It’s a record for a political bet in Australia but it’s barely half what Mal paid to win his one-seat majority in 2016.

Coalition MPs panic. Stampede wild-eyed, out of Canberra, hell-bent on saving their own seats. Laura Tingle reports Liberal insiders writing off Abbott in Warringah while in NSW, Gilmore and Reid are gone. Labor may even snatch Lindsay. Cowper may go to Rob Oakeshott, & Farrer, despite Sussan Ley’s 20% margin, may go to a local mayor.”

But it’s the Daily Tele’s attack on Shorten’s story of his mother, a whopper that he’s laundered her story shopped around Canberra Tuesday, which backfires horribly on Gotcha Morrison. The low blow gives Labor’s leader an opportunity to cut through the fog of cockamamie economics, dog-whistling, scaremongering, falsehood, fabrication, distortion, outright lies, character assassination and personal abuse that is the News Corp Trumpery integral to Coalition campaigning.

“An absolute gift to Bill Shorten”, says a back-handed, Barrie Cassidy on Friday’s ABC Breakfast News, “it humanised him in a way he hasn’t been able to do so far. One hell of an own goal; a very nasty story and it backfired”.News Corp sources say the Daily Telegraph has another story in their dirt file to throw at Shorten, writes Paul Bongiorno. “It is highly defamatory and legally dubious. The desperation that led to the attack on Shorten and his mother’s memory may give them pause to think about running it. As one Labor campaign worker says, “It’s difficult to know where the government ends and News Corp begins.”

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  1. Aortic

    I rest your case.

  2. MöbiusEcko

    …and it seems that the Tele story on Shorten’s mother wasn’t on their initiative, but on the back of a Liberal proposed campaign talking point.

    I don’t know how many times since the advent of the resurrected Howard I’ve privately and online said they can’t get any lower and behold they do go a lot lower.

    Think about how scary that is. The dreadful and frightening Liberal party we now see is actually far worse than what we see.

  3. Graeme Henchel

    Promise of Australia
    What does that even mean
    Three more years of failure
    With more Clive and Pauline
    More years of stupid slogans
    Continuity with change
    Even the target bogans
    find this one very strange
    Scammo is a fake
    a man of stunts and spin
    an actor on the take
    with a supercilious grin
    His party is divided
    Their policies are nought
    Their moral compass guided
    by those who can be bought
    Their campaign is in tatters
    this one man band of scares
    await the baseball batters
    Go tell someone who cares.

  4. Henry Rodrigues

    David Tyler, a scathing indictment on a truly obnoxious party and its leaders. Thanks.

    Welcome back Mr Henchel and what a way to make your presence felt.. The coalition numbskulls are history come Saturday and Australia will be a better place for it.

  5. Ross in Gippsland

    Don’t know about anybody else but I can’t wait for the Saturday night ABC election coverage. Such delight in what should be electoral carnage for an awful coalition government is a rare thing to be truly savoured.
    So many coalition seats in play and so many that look lost. How many current and ex ministers will find themselves seeking future employment opportunities come Sunday morning? Just the thought of some of this lot rolling up to Centrelink on Monday to stand in line with the great unwashed brings a smile to this old dial.
    It makes you wonder how the Murdoch media will spin a Labor victory, maybe the Daily Terror will just ignore it completely.

  6. Kaye Lee

    As always, a wonderful read David. And another great poem from Graeme.

    This week is like the last week in a really long pregnancy. We have the opportunity to give birth to a government who gives a f*ck about science.

  7. DrakeN

    “This week is like the last week in a really long pregnancy.”

    We can but hope that the newborn will become more like its Great Grandfather Gough and less like the deluded offspring of Hawke and Keating.

    A move away from unfettered ‘market principles’ is desperately needed.

  8. John Lord

    Thanks David. Most comprehensive and enjoyable.

  9. Bronte ALLAN

    Very well put David! And I agree wholeheartedly with eveything you said. As for this COALition rabble & all their obscenely wealthy backers, & of course Mudrake, Jonestown, sky news etc etc, the less said the better! Cannot wait to see the results of this election, as long as Bill & his lot get elected, all will be right with Australia.

  10. henry johnston

    A corker! Thank you David.

  11. Alcibiades

    Scott NoFriends, really knows how to draw a crowd, not, at the largely empty Lib Campaign launch :

    Then bring the houselights right down … to conceal all those empty seats. Well, given a choice between visiting Mum or Scomo ranting ? Not a hard choice.

    Sshh! Quite now, no sudden movements please. If we startle them, they’ll take flight. Oh joy, an exceptionally rare sighting of the about to be extinct, Liberal Minister for the Environment & Mr Potato Head … surrounded by numerous other endangered political species.

    I am reliably informed that tens of thousands of Melbournians were too scared to go out to dinner last night in Melbourne in case they ran into … Peter Dutton!.

  12. New England Cocky

    “the fog of cockamamie economics, dog-whistling, scaremongering, falsehood, fabrication, distortion, outright lies, character assassination and personal abuse that is the News Corp Trumpery integral to Coalition campaigning.”

    Yep!! That sounds like how the Liarbral Notional$ have run their campaign for 2019 federal election.

    In New England “Meet the Candidates” events this last week:

    1) Quirindi, was well attended, where it was reported that Barnyard spoke for about 30 minutes before the Chairperson closed the meeting without allowing any other candidate to speak;

    2) Tamworth, where women supporting Adultery support National$, Barnyard was reported as clearly eclipsed by ADAM BLAKESTER INDEPENDENT with the other six candidates present but underwhelming;

    3) Armidale, where a crowd of 250+ attended and 153 completed an exist poll; ADAM BLAKESTER INDEPENDENT 97/153; Barnyard 31; Labor 12 and the others each <10.

    At Armidale, Barnyard erroneously claimed credit for the 1962 government decentralisation policies of the late Bill McCarthy, former ALP Member for Armidale then Northern Tablelands, who when the Member between 1976 and 1987 move about 110 NSW government jobs from Sydney to Armidale. Then in 1988, the Greiner Liarbral Notional$ misgovernment moved those 110 jobs out of Armidale without a whimper of protest from the Nat$ MP, what’s his name?

    Reminded me of the 2013 cancelling of Budgeted funding for the upgrading of the killer Bolivia Hill 35km south of Tenterfield ($80 MILLION), the Tenterfield town By-Pass ($40 MILLION) and the Scone town By-Pass ($40 MILLION) by Toxic RAbbott when Barnyard was reported as laughing but not preventing the loss of this scarce federal funding. Now the work on Bolivia Hill has started and Barnyard is crowing like a randy rooster about “his achievements”, when in fact he is merely stealing the kudos for work done by Tony Windsor INDEPENDENT as is the usual Nat$ policy.

    @Alcibiades: To paraphrase; “I am reliably informed that tens of Liarbral Party members were too scared to go to the Scat Morriscum election launch in case they were so underwhelmed that they voted Labor”.

    @Ross in Gippsland: I agree, it is almost enough of me to forsake scrutineering for the sheer pleasure off seeing Duddo, Scat, Barnyard, McCormack et al get their well deserved come-uppance.

  13. Kerri

    Brilliant as always Mr Tyler.
    I see Morrison’s speeches as fairly blunt evidence that he believes he could well front the pulpit!
    Not the bully pulpit, he is well there, but the actual pulpit.
    He thirsts to convert the public the way his pastors have converted him.
    Sad little man.

  14. David Tyler

    “The dodgy approval, based on bogus scientific advice, means the entire approval process for Adani must be reviewed,” Sarah Hanson-Young says in a statement Tuesday.

    “Melissa Price dropped the Adani carbon bomb and walked off never to be heard of again.

    “She won’t front up to answer questions at a time when we’re learning more and more about our biodiversity and extinction crisis, and the climate emergency. It is simply unacceptable.

    “If she can’t do her job she should be sacked. She is unfit for the job. This is an environmental scandal.

    “She had the time to approve Adani, and push scientific agencies to do her bidding, but won’t speak to the Australian people.

    “Scott Morrison also has questions to answer. He appointed the minister. He has continued to back her. And he stands by this decision. This government cannot be trusted to do the right thing for the environment or the climate. It’s time for them to go.

    A tad underwhelmed by rushed Coalition approval of Adani, Sarah Hanson-Young speaks out this morning – reported in The Guardian. That CSIRO did not OK water management plan is confirmed by freedom of information request.

    Price sets a new low – even for the Coalition – when it comes to flouting ministerial responsibility; showing contempt for due diligence on top of contempt for due, democratic process. To say nothing of Canavan and McGrath’s bullying.

  15. New England Cocky

    The best thing to come out of the LIarbral campaign launch was Graeme Henchel’s poetry.

    What is the link between Barnyard Joke’s unsuccessful claim against the Parliamentary Allowances Scheme for an airfare to return home from an Indian wedding in the Adani family?

  16. Kaye Lee

    Actually it was a GVK wedding….Gina’s partner in her Galilee Basin coal venture,

    “When Julie Bishop, Barnaby Joyce and Teresa Gambaro collectively claimed more than $12,000 in “overseas study” allowances to pay for flights home from a wedding they attended in India in June 2011 as Gina Rinehart’s guests, the public were rightly outraged.”

    Gina’s Bollycoal (Ad)venture

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