We are to face a federal election by May, maybe earlier. Our accidental PM hopes the electorate will then legitimise him as its very own prime minister.
The only reason he’s PM now is that he was foisted on us by a gaggle of Liberals hell-bent on replacing Malcolm Turnbull with Peter Dutton via a poorly organised coup by Dutton’s innumerate mates. The coup became so badly unstuck that it left us stranded with Scomo, as his colleagues choose to tag him.
Never known for taking a backward step in any situation, Morrison seized the prize as if it was his entitlement, and was soon out and about in baseball cap expounding on any issue that came his way in his characteristically voluble Dalek-like style, replete with that knowing smirk we have seen so often, starkly reminiscent of Peter Costello’s infamous grin. Doubt seems never to cross his mind; he behaves as if he is gifted with the omniscience of a sage – just listen to him expound on any subject at all.
Yet he is still to spell out what a Morrison Government will do, what it will guarantee.
What he does spell out though is the disaster that will befall us all should Bill Shorten win and legislate his “fair go action plan”: ”improving schools and hospitals, standing up for workers, easing pressure on family budgets, ensuring a strong economy and investing in cleaner and cheaper energy.” Morrison’s carefully considered comeback was: “Bill Shorten’s five-point plan is – more tax, more tax, more tax, more tax, more tax.” Clearly, he intends to emit the ‘more tax’ line every time Shorten offers a solution to the nation’s problems. It’ll be as easy as that!
Our newly minted PM wants us to believe that whatever Shorten proposes will cost taxpayers heavily. He paints a picture of money being forcibly extracted from our pockets in hand-fulls. In contrast, whatever he proposes will be free. Money will appear by some mysterious force from cracks and crevices in our burgeoning economy, stimulated by the inspired policies of his government. There will be no shortage of cash – our strong economy will see to that. Only Shorten and his high taxing outfit will screw us into poverty.
What’s astonishing is that Morrison and his sidekicks seem to actually believe that the electorate will swallow this nonsense and rush to vote for the no-taxing Morrison Government. They expect voters will blindly accept that the great economy the Coalition is fuelling every day will lavishly fund all of his initiatives.
So what are his initiatives? What is he guaranteeing?
He hasn’t said.
He insists though that as the economy is going gangbusters, there’s no need to worry. Just let it grind along throwing goodies into the bank like sugar cane into the cane trains ready for the mill. There’s plenty of cash to sweeten anything he wants to do. Indeed so much that just days ahead of the crucial Wentworth by-election, he’s brought forward by five years his tax cuts for small and medium businesses at a cost to the budget of $3 billion!
But what is it he wants to do?
It would have been comforting for Liberals to hear him quote Robert Menzies whom he said brought various groups together to form the Liberal Party, to unite them about what they believed in…“Because you can’t just be about what you’re opposed to. You’ve got to be about what you’re for: as a country, as a political party, as an individual, as a family. It’s about what you’re for, not just what you’re against.” What an astonishing utterance from a man who tells us every day what he’s opposed to – and it’s always got Shorten’s name written all over it.
What then does he believe in? Here’s the mystery. Let’s look.
The recent report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which amassed the opinion of thousands of the world’s climate scientists, starkly highlights the perilous state of our climate. Predictions of disaster abound. Look here and here. But what does Morrison believe? What will he do? The heat is now on him. Will he dare ignore their opinions?
Will he still fondle his lump of coal as if its continued use is of no import? Will he try to resuscitate his moribund NEG? How will he keep his promise to reduce household energy bills by ‘around $550’ and still meet his emissions targets?
Will he ever get round to developing a climate policy that has any chance of reversing our rising emissions and combating escalating global temperatures? You know the answer. He keeps trying to convince us that Australia will meet its emissions targets ‘in a canter’. So why change course when he knows we’ll sprint over the finishing line like Winx, way in front of the field!
If you need any more evidence of the antediluvian views of the Coalition’s climate dinosaurs, read the response to the IPCC report of Melissa Price, his environment minister. Although the report contended that global greenhouse gas emissions must reach zero by about 2050 in order to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, and that the use of coal must be phased out by 2050, Price (who hasn’t read the report) insisted that the climate scientists were “drawing a long bow” in calling for an end to coal power, and that it would be irresponsible to do so. Morrison agreed. Expect him to do nothing.
If climate change is too hard for him, how will he manage social issues? Now that Philip Ruddock’s review into religious protections has been leaked after five months in hiding, we will see how he tackles its recommendations. Early signs are that he will go along with religious schools being able to reject children based on their sexuality or gender identification, in other words, to exclude gay kids. His convoluted response to date is that this is the law anyway – a guarantee that he will vacillate.
On another front, we still have to hear how he intends to tackle the disunity in Coalition ranks, the paucity of females on his benches, the continuing threat posed by the conservative rump that haunts his party, the ghostly presence of Abbott, Dutton, Cormann, and all the other miscreants. How can he purge his party of these disruptors? Will he even try?
Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of Morrison’s prime ministership though is the unnerving way he floats from one issue to another, always supremely confident that he has everything under control, ever ready to smother any question, any problem, any matter (even advertising on the Opera House sails), with his obtuse gibberish, always embellished with that all-knowing, just-leave-it-to-me, smirk.
Meanwhile, as we cup our ears straining to hear his vision for our nation, his guarantees for our future, and his plans for the time ahead, all we get is perilous emptiness and sonorous babble: “A fair go for those who have a go”.
Therein lies the dilemma.
This article by Ad Astra was originally published on The Political Sword.
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