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The kind, gentle, compassionate Scott Morrison

Though now leading the life of a self-proclaimed media recluse, our Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison cannot remain hidden from the media headlines. And each headline leads to an article that reveals Mr Morrison – thanks to his attitude to and treatment of asylum seekers – as a person deprived of any sense of compassion.

But there was once a kind, gentle, compassionate Scott Morrison.

Some months ago I published (elsewhere) the article that appears below. Given the headlines that Mr Morrison is again making I take the liberty of offering it to our readers here. It is difficult to grasp either of the realisation that he was once a kind, gentle and compassionate person, or that if he was, how he could transform into one who appears a beast by comparison.

Anyone who listened to Scott Morrison’s maiden speech to Parliament in February 2008 would have been heartened that a man of such humility and humanity could one day be a political heavyweight in our country, especially of one who belonged to the Coalition. They had, after all, suffered a massive defeat at the hands of an electorate after twelve years of Howard’s mean spirited government.

After Howard’s demonisation of asylum seekers it was a breath of fresh air to hear someone new in the party speak of his love for all people and their right to share our country. One could have easily been lulled into believing this man could one day become the Minister for Immigration and through his beliefs restore Australia’s long-gone goodwill of fellow beings. Here are some extracts of his speech:

It is with humility and a deep sense of appreciation to the electors of Cook that I rise to make my maiden speech in this House. Today I wish to pay tribute to those who have been instrumental in my journey and to share the values and vision that I intend to bring to this House. I begin by acknowledging the first Australians, in particular the Gweigal people of the Dharawal nation of southern Sydney, who were the first to encounter Lieutenant James Cook, the namesake of my electorate, at Kurnell almost 240 years ago. I also commence by expressing my sincere appreciation to the people and families of the Sutherland shire in my electorate of Cook for placing their trust in me on this first occasion.

The shire community is a strong one. It is free of pretension and deeply proud of our nation’s heritage. Like most Australians, we are a community knit together by our shared commitment to family, hard work and generosity. We share a deep passion for our local natural environment and embrace what Teddy Roosevelt called the vigorous life, especially in sports. It is also a place where the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of small business has flourished, particularly in recent years. In short, the shire is a great place to live and raise a family. As the federal member for Cook, I want to keep it that way by ensuring that Australia remains true to the values that have made our nation great and by keeping our economy strong so that families and small business can plan for their future with confidence.

We must also combat the negative influences on our young people that lead to depression, suicide, self-harm, abuse and antisocial behaviour that in turn threatens our community. We need to help our young people make positive choices for their lives and be there to help them get their lives back on track when they fall.

From my faith I derive the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way, including diminishing their personal responsibility for their own wellbeing; and to do what is right, to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and the moral integrity of marriage and the family. We must recognise an unchanging and absolute standard of what is good and what is evil.

Australia is a strong nation. It is the product of more than 200 years of sacrifice—most significantly by those who have served in our defence forces, both here and overseas, and by those who have fallen, particularly those who have fallen most recently, and to whom I express my profound gratitude. But a strong country is also one that is at peace with its past. I do not share the armband view of history, black or otherwise. I like my history in high-definition, widescreen, full, vibrant colour. There is no doubt that our Indigenous population has been devastated by the inevitable clash of cultures that came with the arrival of the modern world in 1770 at Kurnell in my electorate. This situation is not the result of any one act but of more than 200 years of shared ignorance, failed policies and failed communities. And we are not alone: our experience is shared by every other modern nation that began this way. There is much for us all to be sorry for. Sadly, those who will be most sorry are the children growing up in Indigenous communities today, whose life chances are significantly less than the rest of us.

We can choose to sit in judgement on previous generations, thinking we would have done it differently. But would we? Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Nor can we compare the world we live in today with the world that framed the policies of previous generations. So let us not judge. Rather, having apologised for our past—as I was proud to do in this place yesterday—let us foster a reconciliation where true forgiveness can emerge and we work together to remove the disadvantage of our Indigenous communities, not out of a sense of guilt or recompense for past failures but because it is the humane and right thing to do. Having said this, we cannot allow a national obsession with our past failures to overwhelm our national appetite for celebrating our modern stories of nationhood. We must celebrate our achievements and acknowledge our failures at least in equal measure. We should never feel the need to deny our past to embrace our future.

We are a prosperous people, but this prosperity is not solely for our own benefit; it comes with a responsibility to invest back into our communities. Our communities are held together by the selfless service of volunteers. We must work to value their service and encourage more of our community to join the volunteer ranks and assist local organisations engage and retain today’s volunteers, particularly from younger generations. We must also appreciate that our not-for-profit sector has the potential to play a far greater role in the delivery of community services than is currently recognised. As global citizens, we must also recognise that our freedom will always be diminished by the denial of those same freedoms elsewhere, whether in Australia or overseas.

We must engage as individuals and communities to confront these issues—not just as governments. We have all heard the call to make poverty history. Let us do this by first making poverty our own personal business.

The Howard government increased annual spending on foreign aid to $3.2 billion. The new government has committed to continue to increase this investment and I commend it for doing so. However, we still must go further. If we doubt the need, let us note that in 2007 the total world budget for global aid accounted for only one-third of basic global needs in areas such as education, general health, HIV-AIDS, water treatment and sanitation. This leaves a sizeable gap. The need is not diminishing, nor can our support. It is the Australian thing to do.

What a wonderful human being. One who recognised injustice to the first Australians; one who felt for those suffering overseas and one who believed in Australia’s ability to open up its arms to the underprivileged of the world.

What happened to him?

He isn’t behaving like the “man of such humility and humanity” that spoke to Parliament in February 2008. The new Scott Morrison seems as mean spirited as Howard himself. It’s hard to believe that the Scott Morrison of today is the same as the one of five and a half years ago.

He certainly appears to have lost that loving feeling.

As the ABC image from above unwittingly yet prophetically notes: maybe there is more to the story.

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28 comments

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  1. JohnB

    Judge the man’s true character by his actions – his idle words are but window dressing to the inner soul.

    His actions are proof of his guileful deceit.

  2. bjmuirhead

    His actions as minister merely highlight the depth of the lies he tells himself about himself, and those he told the parliament in his maiden speech. I am sure he believes he is doing the right thing, but he clearly has no idea what the right thing is.

  3. allenmcmahon

    ‘ Morrison the Mute’, initially a moderate, lost the ballot for preselection for the seat of Cook in 2007 by 82 votes to 8 to Michael Towke, from Liberals’ right faction. When Towke was disendorced for branch stacking Morrison won preselection at the new ballot.

    As an aside the allegations against Towke were proved to be false, and The Daily Telegraph payed an undisclosed amount to settle a defamation suit filed by Towke.

    So Scotty got there by accident and stayed there by dropping his small L and enthusiastically embracing the right and hence he now controls our concentration camps.

  4. Tori

    I have total faith in karma.

  5. John Fraser

    <

    Perhaps Morrison was lying when he gave his maiden speech.

    He is certainly very adroit at it now.

  6. Brigid O'Carroll Walsh

    He mentions the Cook connection a couple of times. I would also like to mention mine. You see, I am a member of a family that has been told that we are the only family in Australia descended from someone on The Endeavour. I am a descendant of Captain John Gore who was assigned to The Endeavour because Cook had not been to the Pacific. Gore had circumnavigated the earth twice. The Captain was one of three Americans on The Endeavour. He was from the Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia. Some of the descendants like to think we are connected to Al Gore. The Captain’s son, also John Gore who became a Rear-Admiral, immigrated to Australia with his family in the late 1830s and eventually ended up on a property called Gilmour, near Lake Bathurst. My ancestors are buried up the back of the little graveyard beside the little Anglican Church at Lake Bathurst. I pay my respects whenever I am in the neighbourhood. The Anglican faith tradition of the Gores continues to this day along with a sprinkling of Catholics. As a practising Christian, I follow what Jesus says. Be doers of the word, not hearers only. In short, we are judged by what we do and not just what we say. I think we are entitled to make our assessments about Scott Morrison using this yardstick. In addition to this, when we complain about what is happening in these early days of the Abbott Government, we have to look at the continuing plunge to the right in the Liberal Party since the early 1990s. We have to look at the governance of the Liberal Party in each state and, in the case of Scott Morrison, what had to happen for him to gain pre-selection for the seat of Cook and who were the people and who were the organisational identities at Liberal Head Office in Sydney who made the Morrison pre-selection a possibility. He is, after all, in significant contrast to his predecessor, Bruce Baird. One maiden speech does not a Minister make. The beginning and ending speeches are usually of the ‘parenthood’ variety. The other thing that the maiden speech does not tell us is the measure of Scott Morrison’s ambition … an ambition that has resulted in a significant ministerial role in a Liberal-National Party Government. Is he another of the Richardson style – busily doing ‘whatever it takes’? He professes the Christian faith, yet I wonder what Minister Morrison’s pastor says to him. Is the Pastor understanding and consoling towards Morrison in a difficult portfolio? Many clerics are highly ambitious for much the same reason as a politician might be – so does the pastor meet the minister on the ground of common values? Or is he a wise and experienced pastor who is able to speak wisely and significantly into the life of Scott Morrison? I suppose we will never know – all we can do is assess Minister Morrison by his ministerial actions and watch as his face and body contorts further into the ugliness of the position in which he finds himself.

  7. Mike 1

    Hi Michael, What Morrison was and is now are two definitive people. His actions speak for his persona, and does not look that great in the real world. No one to fall back on Scott, You took this on and is turning rather nasty for you and the Lib’s. Scott seems to have one eye on the Boats and the other on his Wages. Oh well just another 2.5 years to go and we can get back to real governance.

  8. Greg Rapmund

    Hard to believe it’s the same person, Michael. My slightly foolish theory is that, as a prerequisite for electing piss&moan as leader, all LNP members filed into rupe’s office where they supped? Sipped? from the fount of all evil. Certainly more to the story to become such a black- hearted beast over the space of 5 years. Such a consummate liar, such a shit, what a Christian.

  9. Möbius Ecko

    He is certainly very maladroit at it now.

    Fixed it for you John. Morrison is many things but a good liar isn’t one of them.

  10. Deena Bennett

    Dear Ms O’Carroll Walsh, I thank you for a most interesting submission. Although it is only a small portion of your letter, I have also been thinking of the rather sharp move to the right that the Australian Liberal Party has taken since the 1990’s, and I believe accelerated under the leadership of it’s latest steward. I do think that this merits some serious consideration, to which I do not feel qualified just yet. My initial thoughts concern the demise of the trade union movement which left no where for the Liberals to go, other than the road they now enjoy. The sharp decline in the trade union movement also affected the Labor Party, which has been well recognised, but there must have been an effect upon the reactionary side of politics also. I am also thinking of the lack of any comparison to Australian social life that can be made with another in some proximity, leading to an overbearing and I believe deleterious comparison with the USA. Indeed we are not Japanese or Korean, but neither are we American. Thank you again.

  11. Terry2

    Captain Morrison’s latest debacle with the dodgy GPS equipment on Australian naval vessels is portraying operation sovereign borders as material for a rerun of Gilligan’s Island or McHales Navy or perhaps Popeye the Sailor Man.

    This guy has to go: over to you Tony…..hello Tony…Tony are you there ?

  12. Joe Banks

    Michael, he is just another typical Lib… Say anything and do anything to gain and maintain power. The whole bunch would do a complete reversal on ‘everything’ tomorrow if it suited them – with no conscience. For them, it’s all about power, not about people.

  13. Trevor Vivian

    Just goes to show doesn’t it that Scott the newly minted Commonwealth MP and Scott the newly minted Minister in Abbott’s government would do and say anything to fulfil his date with destiny as Australian Elite or the Affluent Effluent, (PillarsofSociety;KevCarmody) In order to survive the transition of Scott the tourism talking head to Scott the talking head MP, Scott was advised to carve his path to political notice and he chose Asylum seekers or better still Illegal entry boat people. Scott mastered his chosen path with ease and being an utter bastard came easy with proper support from the Liberal Party Machine.
    And now this apperatchick of the Liberal party Machine has eyes firmly set on future fortune as Abbott’s minister of Menace. And what a perfect host the times have afforded Scott as Abbott’s notorious past both public and private is gentrified by his present position and marks the new model of political patronage. In Scott,the willing accolyte of power at any cost and political apperatchick for Tony Time his future is as a cartoon caricature. Well done Scott said the electors,we’ll have you well done you utter bastard.

  14. John Fraser

    <

    @Möbius Ecko

    Displays of adulthood will not be tolerated.

    War on adults.

    Adults in secret.

    Viva revolutionary adults.

    Stop the adults !

  15. Roswell

    The man is an angel. 😉

  16. idontcarewhatyousayorthink

    Typical LNP neocon his words mean nothing. His actions show what is in his heart and soul

  17. tim

    hey terry2 agree with everything you say but please don’t diss Popey, he was a good bloke!

  18. lawrencewinder

    Mummy, mummy, it’s not my fault, Tony told me…. I didn’t do it … it was the Navy. Keel-Haul them… lash them, mummy!

    And when will the adults return to restore order to this over affluent hazing week?

  19. David Rodger

    Morrison should go back to his happy-clappy delusional theology-free zone and speak in tongues like his fellow parishioners. He’d probably make more sense.

  20. Mike 1

    As you say Roswell, Scott is the Saint of the Liberal Party. Now imaging for a moment, how bad the rest of them are. You are spot on. We are hoping for another election here in W.A. if it is defined by the High Court, and is not looking good for the Libby’s. Tones must thinking of another 3 word slogan as we speak, “Stop the Votes”, Barney two shoes will not save him this time.

  21. Mike 1

    Allen McMahon, I am sure if our lovely Julie Bishop was to front our asylum seekers head on, Not one of them would want to come to Australia. The death stare would surely make them pack their things together and leave for their homeland on the next plane. I could think of nothing worse.

  22. doctorrob54

    I don’t believe the cretin wrote his maiden speech.He has always been a mean spirited,racist bastard who learnt and perfected the art of deceit by no one better then Howard.The man is the epitome of evil,hate and misery,always was and always will be.

  23. Thingsthatmatter.net

    If you assume he was sincere and he started his political career with some vestige of high values and then you square that up with this recent choices you are looking at a process in action. That is, if you are wanting to succeed and advance within any political party, in particular the two dominate one, you must be willing to sublimate your personal views for what’s “right for the party” .I am sure this starts off in smaller ways than bigger but evolves in such a way that you are no longer and individual, rather a conduit of some larger agenda. As what that person knows, is if they resist or defy that unspoken order, they will be out of a job .In the same way someone working for the Murdoch press isn’t’t told they have to write in a certain way, they just know. They know what will happen if they do and they will know what will happen if they don’t. So somewhere along the line Scott Morrison had to be willing to “sell his soul for mess of pottage”. So I think its speak of his personal compromise and lack of integrity but as well the dehumanizing nature of the political system itself.

  24. doctorrob54

    So are you saying some,all or just Libturd Morrision has done a complete about face on his stated beliefs.
    Did he recently discover the ideology and expectations of the IPA or the BCA,hardly,This filthy colostomy bag is from the old school Lib’s.and knows the art of manipulation,propaganda,hardly a challenge when you know you can count on the MSM to print and broadcast whatever you want.Or more importantly not to
    broadcast what you don’t want the public to be aware of.
    Realize that any person who can treat another the way he doe’s is capable of the most hideous actions and behaviour,as he has proven.
    Morrison never changed,he lied in his maiden speech and continues to do so on a daily basis.

  25. Jay Buoy

    I don’t like to comment on walking on water matters…

  26. diannaart

    Good work, Michael.

    With all this self-serving of the Abbottoir, what the hell have the Labor Party been doing? Of course, having had equally repulsive refugee policies doesn’t help, perhaps Shorten could simply admit that treating people with increasing levels of cruelty when previous levels of cruelty haven’t worked, is a failure (not to mention a significant indication of stupidity), would be a start. Then maybe he could actually do something and stand up to such near-fascist new government.

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