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The Public versus Scott Morrison

It rather reminds me of the story of the boy who cried wolf. Remember, it was one of Aesop’s fables. It went like this:

“A young shepherd would trick his fellow villagers by shouting for help, pretending that wolves were attacking his sheep. Several times the villagers rushed to his aid, only to find the shepherd laughing at them. One day, some wolves actually came. The shepherd cried for help, but the villagers, who had grown tired of his pranks, ignored him, and the wolves devoured his sheep.”

The story rings true of our Prime Minister and the folks who decided to divest our supermarket shelves of nature’s essentials.

And being the laconic lot that we are to catch a wave at Bondi in the face of Marketing Morrison’s decree that we practice some social isolation. Or was that social engineering?

Anyway when he said, as reported by Sarah Martin in The Guardian: “Stop hoarding … I can’t be more blunt about it,” people didn’t take any notice. After all, why would you pay any attention to those who have, like the boy in Aesop’s fable, been telling lie after lie for near on 7 years?

Remembering that trust in Australian politicians is at an all-time low, again, why would you when only a week and a bit ago, Friday the 13th to be exact, Morrison – in the face of serious life and death decisions – wanted to go to the rugby and his beloved Hillsong needed the weekend for its conference.

He wasn’t practising civil compliance or social isolation so why should we? People are just fed up being told lies.

What we really had was a prime minister telling us not to succumb to the same fear that his party has injected us with every year since I was an infant.

I believe that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

For as long as my memory enables me to recollect the conservative parties have been masters of scare; winning election after election using age-old scare campaigns.

The point here is that the story of the boy who cried wolf, as simple as it is, portrays the modern LNP coalition in stark reality. After a litany of lies, no one believes them. Well, in the spirit of truth approximately 50% of the population believes them (going by the 2019 election results).

I have written much about conservative lying, particularly by Scott Morrison. In my recent piece; “Truth doesn’t have the same importance it once did” I said that:

“Lying in Australian politics has also reached unprecedented levels. The Prime minister and his Cabinet have taken lying to such depths that it is not disingenuous to suggest that this government under Morrison no longer has a moral compass nor any understanding of truth.”

In another piece; “You Cannot be a Leader and a bare-faced Liar at the same time” it was noted that:

“Climate change has been met with inaction, as our nation slips dramatically in the Climate Change Performance Index.”

Look at their recent record. We had the White House exclusion of Scott Morrison’s Hillsong pastor Brian Houston from the White House guest list, then there was the great secrecy used to hide the Prime Minister’s Hawaii holiday during the bushfire crisis, followed by Morrison’s active involvement in the allotment of sports grants before (and after) the May 2019 election.

Not having learnt any lesson from all of this, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert – when the MyGov website crashed – chose to tell a lie, originally saying that it was subject to a cyber attack … when it was a case of numbers. In parliament he retracted but his first reaction was to tell a lie.

Robert is a fellow Christian and friend of the Prime Minister.

When you tell a lie you deny the other persons right to the truth.

All that has happened or is likely to happen will take time. It will certainly not end in the near future or without much pain be it financial or with great numbers losing their jobs, or worse, their lives.

I have always been of the view that rather than fighting for Flag or Monarch our service men and women fought for what they believed to be right. Flags and Monarchs are but metaphors and symbols but what is right is entrenched in truth.

Which brings me to my final point.

Australia has suffered tragedy upon tragedy the past few years with nature’s protests against its treatment going unheard.

Floods, fires, droughts and now a virus has come along to decimate us. With typical human ingenuity we will overcome these things only after nature and the virus has taught us yet another lesson.

Our conservative government had no hesitation in believing the science behind COVID19 and reacted accordingly yet they have failed to recognise the science that speaks of an impending disaster with climate change. Will they go back to their reactive ways or will they see the truth for what it is and become proactive?

The final days to this tragedy are in front of us and much economic suffering is to be inhaled by our society. To what extent, we do not know. Most of the population has not even lived through a recession, let alone a pandemic.

In the aftermath of these experiences what will politicians of all persuasions have learnt? Will it be that gratuitous lying achieves nothing, or that the ubiquitous annihilation of conventions and established norms of conduct must stop?

If we don’t learn then a dose of enlightenment will have been lost. In 2016, I wrote a piece titled; “A Society for the Common Good” (Updated 2018). My thoughts on this topic are worthy of a discussion.

My thought for the day

We can sometimes become so engrossed in our own problems that we can easily overlook the enormity of the suffering of others.

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26 comments

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  1. Andrew Smith

    True, but the chickens are coming home to roost for the compromised big C Conservatives who have been doing nothing for decades except catering to an amalgam of corporates, top end of town, hollowed out media, crazy Christians, white nationalists and those with authoritarian tendencies, with approval from both the silent and noisy majorities…..

    By coincidence, hunkered down, just watched an old C-Span interview with Ariana Huffington from decades ago, who has flirted with both Republicans and Democrats, but warning of how politics (at least US and I would add UK and Oz too) was starting to lack leadership and ethics, then, now watching more recent Chris Hedges ‘American Anomie’ stating similar, in addition to his previous on ‘unethical Christianity’.

    Yesterday US Christian writer and commentator Ben Howes who when asked how do e.g. evangelical and other god bothers tolerate Trump, surely cognitive dissonance with his own lack of person ethics? No. He has given licence for people to indulge in extreme narcissism, do whatever they want and cross any boundary without fear of retribution; extreme or radical libertarianism as promoted by Koch’s, Murdoch et al.

    In Salon, I think, recent article spoke of the ‘four horsemen of revelation’, not the apocalypse, reflecting the Zeitgeist, but ‘ignorance, fear, bigotry and smear’, tactics encouraged by the powers that be to break down society, just so no one can tell them what do or control them.

    Time to re-watch Martin Curtis’s ‘Century of the Self’……

  2. OldWomBat

    Paul I think you missed the point. Morrison had been advised to enact social distancing by the experts, but rather than implement it immediately, he decided to have it come into force on the following Monday so that he could go to the rugby. His decision was unduly influenced by his own personal desire which, given the size of crowd the rugby would attract, was diametrically opposed to the intent of the advice given.

  3. Keitha Granville

    I haven’t quite understood, all through this, why restrictions are imposed or new rules put in place with a future date and time. Next Monday, Friday midnight, next week ……. What is the point? Just do it. Every day counts, every minute counts. Every Australian needs to be told DO IT, NOW. We only get one chance with this one, one chance to survive, to stay alive. The PM has had so many muddled mixed messages and is two or three steps behind the world instead of being in front as we should be. We should have locked up weeks ago.

    Stay home, wash your hands, don’t touch your face. The pain of a job loss, or not seeing your friends or your grandchildren, pales into insignificance compared to losing your mother, or your grandfather, or your asthmatic child or any other single Australian life unnecessarily risked.

    No-one’s life deserves less respect than any other.

  4. Denis Hay

    If you are sick of lying politicians and our broken and corrupted two-party political system, it’s time to look at something different:

    Represent Us Better for Us https://youtu.be/pm0utUd-ros

  5. John Lord

    Paul Smith you have completely misunderstood what I have written. Suggest you do so again.

  6. GraemeF

    “Our conservative government had no hesitation in believing the science behind COVID19”

    But a lot of the right wing media immediately started spouting conspiracy theories and no one in government chastised them. The government will keep crawling to these scum to get favourable media coverage despite the fact that they clearly have a business plan based on spreading lies and smears.

  7. New England Cocky

    @GraemeF: Perhaps you could read Gary Allen (1971) “None Dare Call it Conspiracy” that is available on the Internet. You may then have a better idea of world politics over the past fifty (50) years.

    I think we can assume that the MSM journalists are out of their depth and that the only reliable source of media information is Dr Norman Swan, physician and journalist, on ABC RN and ABC television, plus I am advised, his daily podcast updating the COVID-19 situation.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Paul Smith seems angry, yet is totally wrong and consumed by the need for an outburst. Morrison lives in a world that never existed, bending imaginary ideas and rules to suit self inflated error. Superstitious fools feel they are superior, saved and blessed. They are not.

  9. Dave G.

    I have always had a very jaundiced view of the conservatives [so called Liberals],they really only exist to keep Labor out of government & protect the wealth of their backers they do that by lies & deceit to the mob to gain their vote,which the mob are only too keen to give them in the hope of a crumb or two.Their first instinct when cornered is to lie,witness Stuart Robert & his Centrelink faults.Abbott was a master lier,Morrison ,well what can you say.Labor with all its faults would be a far better administration for the current crisis because of it’s inherent commitment to social justice

  10. Geoff Andrews

    The key word is “hesitation”. I don’t hear too many people saying, “Wow! Didn’t the government move quickly to close the borders. They must have been following the epidemiologists’ advise that the virus had to be stopped at our front door.”
    I believe a review of the history of the spread of the virus will show that by early February, the virus had been detected in a number of countries including Australia.
    I think one could assume that the epidemiologists who have had the ears of our masters, would have been concerned enough to bring this fact to the attention of the PM and the Minister when they came back from their holidays.
    Any solution, such as quarantining every overseas arrival for two weeks, would have posed a threat to the sacred “surplus”.
    Hesitation, you say?
    Of course not: Our gallant Treasurer would have forgone his place in history as the first Treasurer in living memory to bring in a surplus and said,”Go for it, only the health of the nation is more important than my ego.”
    I note, with more than a little cynicism, that the latest implicit message can be paraphrased as: “If the whole thing goes arse up, it’s YOUR fault because you didn’t stay at home and you sometimes came closer than 1.5 metres to someone, you selfish, thoughtless, murderous bastard”

  11. Geoff Andrews

    I would like to comment also on the statement, ““Our conservative government had no hesitation in believing the science behind COVID19” without detracting from its baic context or purpose.
    The key word is “hesitation”. I don’t hear too many people saying, “Wow! Didn’t the government move quickly to close the borders. They must have been following the epidemiologists’ advise that the virus had to be stopped at our front door.”
    I believe a review of the history of the spread of the virus will show that by early February, the virus had been detected in a number of countries including Australia.
    I think one could assume that the epidemiologists who have had the ears of our masters, would have been concerned enough to bring this fact to the attention of the PM and the Minister when they came back from their holidays.
    Any solution, such as quarantining every overseas arrival for two weeks, would have posed a threat to the sacred “surplus”.
    Hesitation, you say?
    Of course not: Our gallant Treasurer would have forgone his place in history as the first Treasurer in living memory to bring in a surplus and said,”Go for it, only the health of the nation is more important than my ego.”
    I note, with more than a little cynicism, that the latest implicit message can be paraphrased as: “If the whole thing goes arse up, it’s YOUR fault because you didn’t stay at home and you sometimes came closer than 1.5 metres to someone, you selfish, thoughtless, murderous bastard”
    The key word is “hesitation”. I don’t hear too many people saying, “Wow! Didn’t the government move quickly to close the borders. They must have been following the epidemiologists’ advise that the virus had to be stopped at our front door.”
    I believe a review of the history of the spread of the virus will show that by early February, the virus had been detected in a number of countries including Australia.
    I think one could assume that the epidemiologists who have had the ears of our masters, would have been concerned enough to bring this fact to the attention of the PM and the Minister when they came back from their holidays.
    Any solution, such as quarantining every overseas arrival for two weeks, would have posed a threat to the sacred “surplus”.
    Hesitation, you say?
    Of course not: Our gallant Treasurer would have forgone his place in history as the first Treasurer in living memory to bring in a surplus and said,”Go for it, only the health of the nation is more important than my ego.”
    I note, with more than a little cynicism, that the latest implicit message can be paraphrased as: “If the whole thing goes arse up, it’s YOUR fault because you didn’t stay at home and you sometimes came closer than 1.5 metres to someone, you selfish, thoughtless, murderous bastard”

  12. Geoff Andrews

    Well, THAT was a cock up, eh?
    I plead stir crazy.

  13. Jon Chesterson

    The latest lie, for they come at least two by two each day…

    The Great Australian Cruise ship scandal, following the Diamond Princess in Japan, the Ruby Princess in Sydney last week. In fact more than 40 other cruise ships alone that have docked in Sydney in the past 4 more or less weeks, where Border Force officials have let all passengers, thousands at each docking through the international terminal, including sick passengers with Covid-19 (133 just from one, the Ruby Princess last Thursday) without screening, controls, without battering an eyelid, hell I heard they are not even checking their passports; and the single largest source of Covid-19 to touch Australian shores. So what exactly do Border Force do now or ever, that there are no international flights, except terrorise Australian citizens and those who are Stateless?

    And what is Morrison telling us… we have your back covered, we will get through this, trust us we have closed our borders and we are screening and testing more people than any other State worldwide! Possible but the wrong bloody ones, clearly or not at all and China was not the problem, it was always the US and Europe, particularly the US (largest national overseas source of Covid-19). And who owns this Cruise line, the second largest in the world, yes a great big fat ugly giant money sucking organisation based in America, Carnival Corporation & plc registered in tax haven Bermuda, sucking at our money and our blood. They go where and when they want, no national borders or quarantine for them in Australia, not to date!

    Owww… wooooooool! Cries the great tourism sea-wolf, again and again and again!

  14. Jack sprat

    As I walked past the long que outside centre link which curved around two streets ,I was reminded of one of the rare truthful statements made by holymo “unfunded empathy “

  15. Geoff Andrews

    This is a comment on an article by Professors Breen & Goulston published about a week ago on “Pearls & Irritations” titled “A Political Response to the Crisis”, in which they canvased the possible political reasons for the apparent tardy response to the crisis. In today’s “Pearls & Irritations” they cover an apolitical response. Both well worth a read for AIMN readers including the trolls. I liked her description of the Government’s response as a series of “dribbling” ideas.

    Dr Katrina Watson, OAM says:
    20 March 2020 at 10:14 PM

    Professors Breen and Goulston conclude there is a political dimension hampering Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Political brakes or not, Australia has missed the coronavirus boat. We had an opportunity to put the highest level interventions in place and make a difference, but it may be too late.
    I cannot help wondering whether there was a crisis management plan in place before this epidemic? Organisations should have crisis plans for high likelihood and/or high impact events.
    This pandemic is both high likelihood and high impact. We’ve known for years that something like this would happen one day. By mid-January 2020 the data from China showed that we were on the trajectory for an overwhelming crisis and therefore the most stringent measures were needed immediately. Then we might have had some hope.
    What we have had instead is the dribble approach. Try this and if it doesn’t work in 5 days add that. Try hand-washing then add in a touch of social isolation, and if that doesn’t work, dribble something else over the top.
    Not good enough. Researchers from Imperial College London have modelled responses to the epidemic and found that the dribble approach does not work. We should have had The Lot from the beginning. Multiple interventions aimed at preventing transmission – all at once.
    It’s probably too late to avoid thousands of deaths but at least it is worth trying. We need the most stringent measures possible – now.
    In order to achieve this the team has to have the best advice and best leadership, plus common sense and courage. Best advice – actual experts on emerging diseases and epidemics.
    Best leadership – we need charismatic leadership which can bring the community along, and is not hidebound by any political agenda (as so well described by Breen and Goulston). I have no doubt that our current leaders have worked incredibly long hours, and taken on enormous responsibilities – done everything they possibly can. But we are losing.
    We need common sense. Look at the nursing home situation. What is the point of rushing a 95-year-old with pneumonia off to hospital to infect another four people? None at all. They should be allowed to die in peace, with family there, family all wearing PPE of course.
    We need courage. Take the AFL match. Why wasn’t this just nipped in the bud? I don’t know why our leaders came down with a figure of 100 people in the first place. But surely the intent was clear- get rid of large gatherings. Reduce physical contact. The AFL has ignored the spirit of the 100 person rule. It’s not the health of the footballers I am worried about – it’s their parents and grandparents.
    The latest dribble is the 4 square metre rule. Where did this idea come from? Guaranteed it will last only a few days and be replaced with something else.
    Information also seems to be in the dribble category. It is hard to get the stats on the Australian situation, especially the denominators.
    Perhaps there is a database I have missed. The only data I have seen has been collected by the ABC.
    I would vote for putting in a senior military person at the top. This is a war and we are losing.

  16. Michael Taylor

    I don’t know what happened there, Geoff.

  17. IT Guru (Not the guy that forgot to increase the limit)

    “Government Services Minister Stuart Robert – when the MyGov website crashed – chose to tell a lie”

    Fact check. Anyone who watched this play out from the very start to end would know that in this case he never lied as has been portrayed. Having watched it play out from the original question asked by a reporter it was obvious he was just relaying his IT departments status information at that point in time. It was actually the media alone that mistakenly portrayed a truthful statement in that the DDOS triggers/alarms had gone off into a cyber attack statement (he did not make an attack claim as he only knew from IT the DDOS had gone off and repeated that statement). It was later learned (again from IT) that the reason the DDOS went off in this case was not from a typically expected cyber attack but our own users (which in any event looks the same to a network protection system – mass amounts of distributed users attempting to get in at the same time and above any trigger limit set). Sure, they should have had foresight of this and increased the trigger limit but at no stage did this guy lie (this time). The media just ran with their own assumptions as is often the case. Watch the original interview from that morning as see for yourself.

  18. Brozza

    Geoff Andrews – I loved the 4 square metre rule, 1c.m. x 400m.
    Square metres are NOT a distance
    They may as well have said keep 15 litres away from the next person.

  19. Geoff Andrews

    Brozza,
    I’ve solved the 4 square metre problem. I’ve made up a bola from an old clothes iron and 2 metres of rope, so I just walk along swinging it around my head. Clears the aisles in Coles too.

  20. Kaye Lee

    IT Guru,

    I watched the press conference with Robert, He said, and I quote, “Unfortunately, this morning we also suffered a DDoS attack on our main channels, which also highlights that other threats are still around.”

    Using the words “attack” and “threat” were terribly misleading . It seems to me that he was trying to pass the buck for his inadequate preparation by pretending it was some outside interference. Now that’s what I call a lie.

  21. IT Guru (Not the guy that forgot to increase the limit)

    @Kaye Lee

    Wow. Lets make more assumptions to justify. That’s how it starts. A “DDOS Attack” is exactly what happened (truthful statement as any non IT professional asking an IT department what happened is going to be told the DDOS system was triggered or the DDOS system detected an attack or similar. He was just relaying that information. That does not mean it is a “Cyber Attack”. Any DDOS system is designed to protect from “attacks” and any trigger of this system is an attack in that sense. It was the media that took those IT words being relayed and portrayed it as fact that he was saying it was a “Cyber” malicious attack. That reporter kept pushing ‘so you are saying there was an attack’ until it sounded like an attack in the sense that was sensational enough to use.

    The point being he did not deliberately try to cover this up as a ‘cyber attack’ vs ‘user overload’ as was suggested. He simply was not told yet and/or IT had not fully assessed the DDOS attack as friendly user based. Common sense really and media hype plus add a little political advantage.

  22. Kaye Lee

    IT Guru,

    So when he said that they had expanded capacity but “other threats are still around”, what exactly did that mean?

  23. leefe

    “Our conservative government had no hesitation in believing the science behind COVID19 and reacted accordingly … ”

    There was plenty of hesitation. The news has been coming out of Wuhan for months. The warnings were there, yet the misgovernment did nothing to protect the country. Look at what has been happening in Italy, and how the local response has been similarly cack-handed. And they STILL faff about putting business profits above human well-being, instead of having the country in lockdown as soon as the first cases were found here.
    They have an advisory committee made up entirely of business people and bureaucrats, with no-one who has any medical or scientific expertise. They care about two things: money and their own well-being. And that’s it. They did not, do not, and will not, listen to any science that advises actions contrary to their basic ideology (which is “bugger you, Jack; I’m allright.)

  24. Kronomex

    “…but “other threats are still around”, what exactly did that mean?” Trying desperately to shift the blame and distract us from his complete and utter incompetence.

  25. wam

    Good to see you in print, lord, I was worried yesterday and missed today.
    I was in el dorado and wangaeratta last weekend and now day 4 darwin quarantine.
    we were escorted through customs area by federal police and interviewed by nt police the men and women were confident, well briefed and able to communicate the gov instructions as they checked our surveys and id. The experience was efficient and non invasive Congratulations to both forces.
    Getting back to vic. The story your melb city slickers invading country shops, individually and in bus loads exemplified:
    There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first… There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.’

    At our age, lord, we have been lucky enough to have spoken to soldiers, sailors and airmen men and women from all wars , for me all except the boer. All this centuries soldiers talked about was the money they made. Although the 4 corners show suggests their truth your truth and my truth may vary. The vietnam vets were menzian anti-commo vets and conscripts. Tew world war didn’t say much except they were conned by churchill and pigiron bob.
    ps
    did I miss your awakening that the bible had many truths and most were made up?

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