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Scott Morrison’s Major Gaffe

Last night the first ‘Leaders Debate’ of this election was held in Brisbane, and it was broadcasted by Sky News.

History tells us a panel of undecided voters believed Mr Albanese won that debate. That is not the purpose of me writing this article, as the outcome of the first debate is now a matter of history.

The reason I am writing this article is because during the debate Mr Morrison used some insensitive and ignorant remarks in response to a woman named Catherine, who raised her concerns about the NDIS and her disabled child. Before the howls of protest come my way, I don’t believe Mr Morrison spoke any words last night in response maliciously, but his words were insensitive and ignorant, and his subsequent conduct has caused me great concern. Catherine asked both leaders about the future of the national disability insurance scheme, citing concerns that her four-year-old son Ethan’s care package had been slashed by 30% after a review. Morrison said in response to Catherine:

“[My wife] Jenny and I have been blessed, we’ve got two children that don’t – that haven’t had to go through that,” he said.

“So, for parents with children who are disabled, I can only try to understand your aspirations for those children.”

Not long after Mr Morrison spoke these words, social media erupted with many people displaying their anger about Mr Morrison’s choice of words and how those words affected them or their family.

Respected disability advocate Craig Wallace, tweeted these words at 9.55am on 20 April 2022:

 

 

Now, the other commentary set out below does not suggest Mr Morrison was acting maliciously. Craig Wallace is right, it was careless (I add ignorance to that opinion about Mr Morrison’s conduct during the debate), but it should have been cleared up by Mr Morrison with an apology much sooner than when he eventually did apologise, because there was already on social media that night of 20 April 2022 (don’t say to me how could he know because the staffers and campaign team would have been studying each social media website into the early hours this morning) a list of upset Australians who suffer from autism. It would be fair to say that for many, many others, Mr Morrison’s comments have been deeply hurtful.

Nicole Rogerson, the founder of Autism Awareness Australia, posted this pointed response to Mr Morrison. “Note to @ScottMorrisonMP This is what #blessed looks like. @ian_rogerson and I were actually were blessed with two beautiful boys (and Bob the dog) #NDIS #EveryAustralianCounts #auspol @AutismAwareAus@EveryAustralian

The organisation itself was even more scathing:

“Disgraceful comments by Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP during last night’s debate. ALL children are #Blessings. Your words speak volumes about how you perceive people with a #disability. Perhaps you should spend more time fixing and fully funding our NDIS, and less time counting your blessings.”

Dr Christy Clark:

“I can’t let that pass. I am beyond ‘blessed’ to have an autistic child. Autistic people are disabled by society and the fact that it is designed to meet the needs of (some) neurotypical people. They, themselves are freakin awesome. Unlike this comment, PM.”

Matt Burke:

“This is the moment Scott Morrison told a mother of a son with autism that he and Jen were “blessed” because he doesn’t have a child with disabilities. Harmful ignorance.”

Johnny Valkyrie (living with autism):

“The only blessing bestowed upon nondisabled people is the privilege they hold in society. We autistic people and our families are not burdened by our neurodiversity, we are obstructed by the systemic failures of governments and organisations that devalue us. If you are autistic in Australia and need some support, check out @AmazeAutismAU and their resources. You can also check in with friends, family, allies and other autistic people if you think it might help to talk things over.

Lori-Anne Brown:

“My son is autistic, and I’m extremely blessed by him. He is just coming into his teenage years, diagnosed late (let’s talk about costing for diagnosis and wait times) and NDIS told me at our first plan meeting last year that I had to pick between regular support from OT or speech. We couldn’t have both on a regular basis despite him needing both to “catch up”. All our funding covers is these two therapies on a monthly basis. (Despite needing it weekly) I was put through the ringer trying to get assisted technology to support his needs. We got $100 for that”.

Kristen Desmond:

“Apparently the PM is blessed to have had children who haven’t had to go through that? Seriously go through what being 4! Autism isn’t something u go through and pls don’t make it out to be bad. My autistic kids are awesome just as they r. #Politas #Auspol”.

And if you watched the debate, you would have heard Anthony Albanese talk about a woman who had been told by the NDIS that she would now have to re-use her colostomy bags. That woman was Elly Desmarchelier, a disability advocate who had this to say about Morrison’s comments:

 

 

Scott Morrison has accused his opponents of “twisting” his words in “bad faith” after he said he was “blessed” to have two daughters without disability while being questioned by a mother whose autistic son’s NDIS funding had been cut.

A disability advocate, Carly Findlay, said that same evening the remarks were “ableist” and indicated a belief by some parents “that they are lucky they/their children aren’t disabled”. “When the leader of the country says he’s blessed not to have disabled children, he saying disabled people are burdens, that our parents are unlucky,” she said. He should be a professional speaker and not make such callous remarks, he should be championing the rights of all Australians.”( Source The Guardian 21 April 2022 Paul Karp). Later that evening Former Australian of the Year Grace Tame had this to say about Morrison’s gaffe, “Autism blesses those of us who have it with the ability to spot fakes from a mile off.”

Early the next morning, Labor’s manager of opposition business in the Senate, Katy Gallagher, who has an autistic child, said she found the comments “really offending and quite shocking”. “It is something that people who have a disability, children with autism, it is a kind of response they get all the time,” she told Channel Seven (Source: Paul Karp, The Guardian, 21 April 2022; Seven Sunrise 21 April 2022).

Current Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott also tweeted that morning of 21 April 2022:

 

 

The timing of these social media criticisms are as follows:

  1. Matt Burke 7.55pm on 20 April 2022
  2. Dr Clark 8.13pm on 20 April 2022
  3. Lori-Anne Brown 9.26pm on 20 April 2022
  4. Kristen Desmond 9.36pm on 20 April 2022
  5. Elly Desmarchelier 10.10pm on 20 April
  6. Johny Valkyrie 10.41pm on 20 April 2022
  7. Grace Tame 11.54pm 20 April 2022
  8. Autism Awareness Aus 7.36am on 21 April 2022
  9. Senator Gallagher at about 8.00am on 21 April 2022
  10. Ms Roberson 8.43am on 21 April 2022
  11. Dylan Alcott 9.43am 21 April 2022

So, by 10.48am today, Mr Morrison’s communication or media advisors by virtue of what they do during a campaign would have been monitoring on social media and television the public reaction to Mr Morrison’s words, and these same campaign staff members would have been aware of not only the everyday Australian’s view of Mr Morrison’s words (careless or ignorant are interchangeable here), but also what such publicly recognised figures in Mr Alcott (as the present Australian of the Year), and Ms Tame (as the former Australian of the Year) had to say. Notwithstanding the criticisms being levelled at him by both people living with a disability, medical professionals or disability advocates views, Mr Morrison doubled down when he appeared on Sydney’s 2GB radio at 10.48 am, as Morrison stood by his words without making an apology (Source: The Sydney Morning Herald live newsfeed, 21 April 2022) saying these words over the radio in response to the criticisms being levelled at him:

‘Morrison told 2GB Radio that Catherine “didn’t take it that way”. “I was just simply saying it’s tough and I’m grateful that there are these hardships I and Jenny haven’t had to deal with.“ Mr Morrison then went on to say, “Every single child is a blessing … in my and Jenny’s case it took 14 years to have Abbey … then we were blessed with Lily. There’s no greater love than a parent has for a child and particularly a child who has special needs. It is a blessing. I was just simply in good faith trying to say, ‘I haven’t walked in your shoes, Catherine, I am not going to pretend to understand it as you do.’ Morrison also said others who had “jumped on” probably hadn’t “heard exactly what I said”.

The question is, did Mr Morrison talk to this mother, or is he relying on her not exploding in anger at him to interpret the situation that way?

In any event, even if Mr Morrison did speak to the mother named Catherine, once again, the problem is these people criticising him on social media and television breakfast news did hear what Mr Morrison had to say and they held a view which is very much different to Mr Morrison’s views. Further, the major issue which any person could interpret about Mr Morrison’s character is that he failed to listen to the people criticising him regarding what they were offended by, and for him to then say by the time of his 2GB radio appearance “I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry for any distress I have caused people.” Mr Morrison didn’t even apologise during his radio interview, even though he and his staffers would have been the position of knowing what Mr Alcott and Ms Tame as the current and former Australians of the Year had to say.

At about 1.00pm on 21 April 2022, after his marketing team must have had conniptions about his obdurate ways, Mr Morrison finally during a press conference apologised for the words he said the previous evening during debate:

“To the other point, I meant no offence by what I said last night but I accept that it has caused offence to people and I have been in contact today and I apologised directly to Dylan Alcott about that. I think people would also appreciate that I would have had no such intention of suggesting that anything other than every child is a blessing is true. Every single child is precious. And a blessing to every parent.”

This was the first mention of an apology by Mr Morrison for the words he chose to use during this debate, and I make this statement as I have studied Mr Morrison’s Twitter profile and I cannot find any earlier evidence of an apology. So, what is wrong with that you say? Well, the first problem I have with Mr Morrison’s behaviour is his inability to understand the feelings of other people, and despite what views he may have held about his words, he should have addressed this issue earlier, and definitely by 10.48am when he appeared on 2GB radio. The next problem I have with Mr Morrison is that his rambunctious attitude to the situation reflects his lack of compassion and humanity, character traits which are essential for a person to lead a country; there was no other reason than pure marketing repercussions that Mr Morrison could display his obdurate ways at 10.48am, only to then turn around at about 1.00pm and offer this belated apology. As I have stated earlier, when those words of protest commenced rolling out on social media (undoubtedly there are more but my source The Guardian reported a selection of the protests) from 7.55pm on 20 April 2022, Mr Morrison’s media team or staffers (call them what you may) would have been reporting back to Mr Morrison at some stage that evening there was a growing list of upset Australians in relation to the words he chose to use during the debate.

I am glad Mr Morrison finally apologised for the words he used last night during the debate, and yes, I believe it was only careless ignorance on his behalf when he uttered those words. I certainly don’t believe he spoke those words maliciously. However, the timeline of events suggests to me Mr Morrison’s apology was motivated by political pragmatism of losing votes, rather than true contrition for the distress he caused to so many Australians. Had he been motivated by contrition for hurting people’s feelings we should have witnessed an apology being made at the latest during his 2GB interview.

Mr Morrison’s behaviour over the past day is consistent with him not being fit to lead this country.

 

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12 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    Yes, Scummo is carelessly ignorant and he never admits any fault being a perfect being selected by his fanciful eagle to lead Australia into the wilderness of political corruption unhindered by any federal ICAC to protect the guilty … including himself. Certainly he is chronically unfit to lead Australia as his lack of policies improving the lives of Australian voters have shown.

    BUt the mainstream media-ocrity tells us that Scummo is the best leader that the Liarbrals can have under the present restricted rules for his removal by concerned Liarbral politicians. Indeed, it appears that some Liarbrals are beginning to think that Beetrooter would make a better Prim Monster … so G#d help Australia.

  2. Keitha Granville

    He never actually apologises for what he says or does, rather he is sorry he was called on it.

    He has zero empathy, zero consideration for any other Australian, he is unfit to be an Australian.

  3. Ill fares the land

    I don’t accept it is “careless” ignorance. A joke I heard once is about golf club member who turns up with a gorilla, claiming the gorilla can play golf. The Secretary agrees to a trial. At the 1st tee, the gorilla hits a phenomenal 400 meter shot – long, strait, on the green. All are stunned, so they go to the green for the putt. The gorilla lines up and “whack”; hits the ball another 400 metres. This is Morrison – whatever shot is needed he has only one he can play – he has neither finesse nor subtlety, nor the intellect to adapt to his surroundings. He has a single map and when it doesn’t fit the territory, he follows his map and just keeps on blundering and since the media don’t challenge him, he gets away with it. His comments were variously, vacuous, mindless and clumsy – but it is him at his core. Whether Morrison is evil might depend on your perspective. That he is a devoid of empathy seems beyond question. He is really no more than a blundering boofhead – with no redeeming features I can see. The only things that “make him look normal” are all manufactured for the sake of creating that persona. I believe his sustained support can only be achieved by the staggering ability of his supporters to continually lower the performance bar so they can rationalise Morrison is performing well. Of course, for Morrison supporters, Albanese is always below that bar, however low it goes. His side-eye from Grace Tame was all Morrison deserved, but his proponents say Tame should show more respect to the PM – this despite the abject disrespect Morrison the PM had shown towards all women – and in truth that includes Jen and his daughters, despite using them as his acting tool to make him seem emotionally connected when he lacks the capacity to connect (a trait that compels him to be transactional in all things). I had some discussion with a woman about this and she took the view we shouldn’t judge Morrison by the Brittany Higgins debacle, because it was “only one thing”. That it was a huge and defining thing meant nothing, because for it to be something, it would mean seeing Morrison for what he really is, even if only in small part.

  4. Max Gross

    I didn’t bother watching the “debate” because I avoid Murdoch’s toxic media outlets like the plague. As for Morrison’s “insensitive” – and self-absorbed – comments, I didn’t need to hear them to know he is a cruel, cold-blooded bastard. That was made clear during his stint as immigration minister and is confirmed on a daily basis. Vote accordingly!

  5. Jill Fisher

    upset Australians who suffer from autism…… really?

  6. Kathryn

    Fancy Morrison spewing out statements that are insensitive and ignorant! Not at all surprising considering that the bone-idle Sloth Morrison has proven himself – over many years – to be an insensitive, ignorant and callously inhumane two-thumbs-up BOGAN without a drop of compassion, not one iota of credibility and zero integrity! Even his own colleagues haven’t got a good thing to say about him with Gladys Berejiklian describing him as a “horrible horrible person” and Barnaby Joyce referring to Morrison as being a goose that is “loose with the truth”! If a politician’s OWN COLLEAGUES can describe him in such a way, what does THAT say about Morrison’s lack of character?

    DESPITE the fact Morrison “feigns” being a sanctimonious signed-up member of the notorious paedophile-protecting cult of Hillsong, he ticks every box as a bible-thumping hypocrite; an internationally condemned, thoroughly despised sociopath who is widely known to be a recidivist, pathological liar! Even the French President, Emmanuel Macron, on briefly meeting Morrison, when asked if he thought Morrison was a liar, Macron astutely replied: “I don’t think, I KNOW!” – such is Morrison’s truly obscene, pervasive and nauseating disingenuous “persona”!

    There is absolutely NOTHING good one can find to say about Morrison – he is a cruel, totally corrupt, conniving, self-serving sociopath who has a LONG history of treacherously betraying and stomping over the carcasses of others – even his OWN colleagues: Michael Towke and Malcolm Turnbull – to crawl to the top in order to rule over others with a level of arrogance, autocracy and callous disregard that is absolutely appalling. You can read about Morrison’s treacherous betrayal of Michael Towke in the link provided here:

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/nasty-saga-you-nearly-missed-20091025-hem5.html

    To describe Morrison as the worst, most inept, cruel and lazy PM in our history, is an understatement! There is nothing genuine, compassionate or egalitarian about Morrison; his history is littered with the backstabbing betrayal of others and he maintains a level of bible-thumping hypocrisy that fails to conceal his callous disregard for others and his misogynistic condescending contempt for women. Morrison is incapable of telling the truth and his blatant homophobia and entrenched racism has become evident time and time again.

    It is hard to believe that a tiny majority of very foolish, short-sighted Australians were hoodwinked and Murdoch-manipulated enough to choose to elect a worse, more thoroughly repugnant and self-serving megalomaniacal narcissist than Scott Morrison to mismanage our nation into oblivion! Morrison and the LNP have not achieved ONE SINGLE THING to benefit ordinary working- and middle-class Australians. The ONLY thing Morrison has overseen is the rapid and appalling rise in our national deficit to the whopping level of more than $1 TRILLION in record time!

    The TRUTH is that most intelligent, foresightful people agree with Grace Tame’s low opinion of Morrison who is, without any doubt, a truly “horrible horrible” self-serving, cowardly bully who ticks every box as a malignant political psychopath! The sooner our nation is rid of this inept, callous and totally inappropriate person mismanaging our nation into oblivion, the better – Morrison and his cabinet of self-promoting, self-obsessed, totally corrupt, misogynistic elitists have done SO MUCH damage to our ONCE egalitarian nation; the LNP have destroyed the pride Australians once felt in believing our country to be compassionate towards the most vulnerable people in our community and towards other nations more disadvantaged than our own. History has PROVEN that the LNP are, indeed, the worst fiscal mismanagers in our history having escalated our debt and deficit disaster to the highest level in our history and have literally destroyed our country’s international reputation! Even the IMF have described the LNP as the most wasteful government in Australia’s history (especially under the bad old days of the corrupt and inept Howard/Costello regime).

    At the next federal election DO THE RIGHT THING and kick the appalling, wasteful and corrupt political psychopaths in the Morrison regime to the kerb and vote Labor! Morrison is a chest-beating narcissist who has no foresight, zero remorse and not one iota of insight or regard for anyone except himself and his relentless ambition to rule at any price! Morrison tries over and over again to push the illusion that he is a “christian” but his bible-thumping hypocrisy FAILS to hide his evident inability to tell the truth on just about any issue, his total lack of remorse, his smug arrogant self-entitlement and his contemptuous and unspeakably callous disregard for others especially if they are poor, disadvantaged or desperate asylum seekers trying to escape the vile persecution and diversionary wars that the LNP, in no small way, help to create in order to create a distraction from their OWN appalling level of corruption, inhumanity and ineptitude! What is worse, is that the depraved, conniving LNP/Murdoch/IPA Alliance has proven to be the worst, most dangerously undemocratic collaboration of self-serving sociopaths in living memory!

    Morrison has PROVEN himself to be a bone-idle shirker who is totally incapable of leading our nation. Whenever flood or fire has befallen our nation, Morrison was absent or found “hiding away” in a deck chair in Hawaii! Australia and Australians deserve SO MUCH BETTER than this self-promoting, megalomaniacal pathological liar who doesn’t care about ANYONE (even his own colleagues) and maintains a total disregard for ANYTHING except for the power-obsessed, shallow sociopath he sees smirking at himself in the mirror every morning!

  7. Stan

    ‘careless ignorance’. That’s it in a nutshell. The PM could not ‘careless’ and would have continued on happily ignorant had it not been for his minder(s) intervening. The lack of empathy, of being able to walk a mile in the shoes of another, is unlikely to change overnight. Empathy in politics might have been a thing decades ago but in recent years $s talk and that is what our Dear Leader pays attention to, not the concerns of others. Vote them out.

  8. Neil Hogan

    ProMo showed yet again that his empathy lessons were a complete waste of time and while people have been arguing for or against his blessed comment the main fact to me is he just didn’t answer the question & that is one of his traits when he doesn’t like the questions he is being asked!!

    Just like every time he is out of his depth he goes missing either mentally or physically.

  9. Arnd

    Scotty’s attempt at impersonating an empath didn’t work out so good. Quelle surprise!

    His previous attempts at impersonating, variously, a truck driver, a welder, a hair stylist, an airline pilot … weren’t all that convincing, either.

    Nor is his ongoing attempt at impersonating a prime minister, come to think of it.

    High time to end the charade. It should never have been allowed in the first place.

  10. margcal

    In a way, it’s not even about the “blessed”.
    Someone says something about their situation and he responds with a reference to himself. If not always, just about.

    About him first, like ….
    “….. these hardships I and Jenny haven’t …..”
    “… in my and Jenny’s case….”

    Scott first, Jenny second.
    I suppose it’s easy to say “Bugger the grammar” when you’re an expert at riding roughshod over people.

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