Pretending he is leading a united team, Scott Morrison handed out flag badges to remind his colleagues whose side they are on.
It didn’t work.
Inevitably, the recriminations continue as speculation grows that Scott had been planning on “having a go” for some time.
Despite not having anonymous sources to brief me or drop leaks in my inbox, it seems pretty damn obvious.
Exhibit A – When Turnbull appeared in the courtyard flanked by Cormann and Morrison, Scott, unlike everyone else, was grinning like a Cheshire cat. Peter Dutton’s tortuous attempt at smiling didn’t come close to Scott’s beaming visage as he told us how ambitious he was for “this guy” and hugged the man he was about to stab in the back.
Exhibit B – The lies about numbers and support. Forty-eight people voted for Malcolm first go around. Whilst some argue that he caught people off-guard by calling a spill, they cannot possibly say that they didn’t know it was in the wind. Cormann, Cash and Fifield lied about the majority favouring a spill. That was not the case until they jumped ship.
Exhibit C – The confusion. Fierravanti-Wells claims “well-known powerbrokers here in the Liberal Party in NSW” have been plotting Scott’s ascension for some time. Bishop blames the “Queensland influence.” Others point to the treachery of the WA vote abandoning Julie who seemed the most popular and experienced successor.
Exhibit D – The dust had barely settled but Morrison had a cabinet all picked out and ready to announce immediately. With only a few months to an election, Scott threw the cards in the air, sacrificing any hope of continuity. Amongst the bruised and battered countenances of his colleagues, Josh Frydenberg’s shit-eating grin was completely incongruous.
Exhibit E – He dropped the company tax cut for big business in his first announcement, something he and Matthias would not allow Malcolm to do before the Longman by-election.
Exhibit F – The paying off of troublemakers and the elevation of people who were demoted for wrongdoing. The Special Envoy sinecures tossed to Abbott and Joyce are embarrassing in their hamfisted obviousness. The promotion of Ley back into the Cabinet is perhaps explainable but the promotion of Stuart Robert is nothing but blatant payback to a man who has so many clouds hanging over him he makes Sam Dastyari look like a saint.
Exhibit G – The recent roles of the two men who are now in charge mean they know the facts about how to reduce energy prices yet they publicly back coal. The AEMO’s report, based on extensive modelling of different scenarios, concluded that “The lowest cost replacement for this retiring capacity and energy will be a portfolio of resources, including solar (28 gigawatts), wind (10.5 GW) and storage (17 GW and 90 GWh), complemented by 500 megawatts of flexible gas plant and transmission investment.” New coal power didn’t rate a mention. These two happily sacrificed the NEG rather than prosecute the policy they developed and industry wanted.
Exhibit H – With flag badges in hand, Scott assured us he is “on our side” which kind of implies they haven’t been up till now? He even had his new slogan ready – “if you have a go, you’ll get a go.” It sure worked for him anyway.