This week I witnessed the worst character traits of human behaviour play out on my television screen as a Prime Minister in dire straits regarding his, and his party’s, popularity tried to weaponise a death for political gain, assisted by some elements of a partisan media which commenced with an article written by Shari Markson and published in The Australian on Wednesday, 16 March 2022. To my knowledge, Ms Markson has never written a positive word about the ALP, and of course the Murdochracy which owns The Australian has pinned its political colours to the mast supporting the Liberal Party since about 2009. To say the article and Mr Morrison’s behaviour was vile and distasteful is an understatement. Some of you may be feeling inclined to say, “Michael, you’re an ALP member”, which I am, and I am proud of it, but hear me out as this is an important statement I make for the future of our entire democracy, including for the Liberal Party.
We are all aware Senator Kimberley Kitching tragically died of a heart attack on 10 March 2022. It followed the tragic news of Shane Warne’s same cause of death on 4 March 2022. Mr Morrison had already made a major tactical error on Monday, 14 March 2022 when he attacked Anthony Albanese’s weight loss in circumstances whereby we had lost one of our cricket greats and a member of the Australian Senate.
Mr Albanese had properly told the press on Wednesday this week decency demanded people allow the family and friends of the late Senator Kitching to mourn in peace, and the inappropriate article written by Shari Markson which appeared in The Australian newspaper that morning, was a matter he would address with the media after the Senator’s funeral on Monday, 21 March 2022. Ms Markson’s article was distasteful for two reasons.
The first reason was her reference to three ALP Senators being Ms Wong, Ms Gallagher, and Ms Keneally as ‘Mean Girls’, a very disparaging and misogynistic name for a man to call a woman, let alone a female journalist, and the facts which Ms Markson referred to try and support this terrible nomenclature, were historical, including alleged bullying. The second reason the article was distasteful was because Ms Markson was weaponising the late Senator’s death to try and smear the ALP, in circumstances where the latest Newspoll published on the evening of Sunday, 13 March 2022, placed Mr Albanese in this late stage of a Federal Election cycle (by the way, Mr Morrison is currently using our money to campaign before calling an election, rather than actually calling the election which means the Liberal Party’s money may then only be used) in a winning position on the Two Party Preferred poll (55% ALP- 45% LNP), as well as the poll confirming Mr Albanese’s ever increasing popularity whilst Mr Morrison’s personal approval rating is rapidly declining. 60 Minutes Sunday program featuring Mr Albanese attracted far more viewers than the 60 Minutes article with Mr Morrison and his wife, you know the article, it was when Mr Morrison did a terrible injustice to Dragon’s greatest hit rock song ‘April Sun in Cuba’ by playing it out of tune on a ukulele whilst he also sung out of tune.
Well of course a desperate Scott Morrison, already rumoured to be feeling the political heat within his own party to remove him as leader (lets face it, the South Australian branch of the Liberal Party had told Mr Morrison to stay away from the South Australian State Election, such is the dislike for him in that State), could not act decently, he wanted to weaponise the Senator’s death there and then that Wednesday afternoon whilst he was in Perth. I should mention at this juncture, whilst Mr Morrison was making a public appearance with Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan that same day (not McGarron as Mr Morrison had so ignorantly pronounced the Premier’s surname earlier in the day), he was heckled by a passer-by with words I shall not repeat, but words which suggested Mr Morrison is not particularly well liked in Western Australia as well. I objected on Facebook to this distasteful behaviour of Mr Morrison’s on Wednesday evening, as it clearly was not only distasteful, but it was also desperate.
Any matters of internal party interplay which Senator Kitching may have been allegedly exposed to should, as a matter of our Anglo-Irish democratic roots, be dealt with in the decent manner after the funeral, not the appalling manner of the hamburger and fries GOP conduct which has sadly seen American democracy facing such difficulties since Donald Trump decided Clive Palmer was not the only billionaire who should try to enter the political forum.
On Thursday Mr Morrison proved again why he is becoming so disliked, and demonstrating he is so inappropriate to hold the office of Prime Minister, when he misled the Australian public about the history of our unemployment data, only to then try and backtrack in the most embarrassing manner.
Then on Friday morning The Murdochracy were at it again, publishing an article in The Daily Telegraph which had relied on information from Emma Husar. In that article Ms Husar raised allegations of bullying within the culture of the ALP, the only problem is it appeared to be inconsistent with a public letter Ms Husar had issued one year beforehand in which she did not mention the alleged bullying of Ms Wong, Ms Gallagher, and Ms Keneally (accusations which all three Senators have denied in a written statement they published yesterday).
The Costello Cartel of 9 Entertainment then decided to join the bandwagon of distasteful behaviour when the Today Show had its normal Friday political guests of Richard Marles and Peter Dutton. Mr Marles had already told a Murdoch journalist the previous day the line of questioning about Senator Kitching was distasteful. That Friday morning on the Today Show one of the show’s hosts, Allison Langdon, decided she would pursue the distasteful media behaviour by repeatedly questioning Mr Marles in circumstances where he had told her after the first question, he considered it to be inappropriate to pursue that line of questioning when Senator Kitching has not even had her funeral. To make matters worse, Mr Dutton (who has many questions to answer regarding the state of our ADF and the failure to deploy them properly for the floods) said he wanted some answers, now joining Mr Morrison in the terrible weaponising of a tragic death. Mr Dutton also claimed he was Senator Kitching’s friend, a claim which does raise some eyebrows as her close political friend is of course Bill Shorten (because Mr Dutton is such a miserable human he perhaps thinks a person saying hello to him means they’re a friend). The Today Show then had Ms Husar on for fifteen further minutes of distasteful television.
Mr Morrison thumped away in interviews in Western Australia on Friday demanding answers from Mr Albanese, continuing the appalling and distasteful weaponising of the Senator’s death. Mr Morrison even had the temerity to ask where Mr Albanese was – we all know where was at that time, Mr Morrison, campaigning in a state in which your own party told you to stay away from. What is even more intriguing is Mr Morrison is demanding answers from Mr Albanese when Mr Morrison has gone missing in action over accusations about certain behaviour within the Liberal Party, and of course there is his own bullying of Christine Holgate and Julia Baird’s yet to be properly investigated accusations of bullying.
I am not a scientist, so I am not going to speculate on causes of death. However, I am a person who believes in our Anglo-Irish democratic roots, our conduct as citizens within such a democracy, including the way we act when someone has died. Weaponising a death is the worst traits of the GOP, and even the Liberal Party’s Dave Sharma has said this week he fears the Liberal Party is slipping into that abyss of the far-right GOP style of governance and political behaviour. We know the Murdochracy has already been the subject of media shows about their conduct within the American political system, and of course 9 Entertainment is headed up by Mr Costello, the former Liberal treasurer under John Howard.
As I said at the outset of this post, the behaviour this week by Morrison, and now Mr Dutton, as well as their partisan media friends weaponising a death is vile and distasteful. Decent behaviour demands observing the rights of the late Senator Kitching’s family and friends to mourn privately, and with dignity. That is the Australian way of behaving, behaviour which Mr Albanese last Wednesday requested the Federal Government and the media to abide by. Heaven help us as a country if the likes of Mr Morrison’s behaviour becomes the lowbrow norm of political behaviour.
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