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You have a #Right to Know, but only when the media says so. Media and the Morrison holiday.

For the last few days there has been unrelenting speculation on social media concerning Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s whereabouts.

Yesterday evening journalist Samantha Maiden published this piece in The New Daily, confirming he is holidaying in Hawaii. This photo, taken by Australian tourists who ran into the Prime Minister and posted the image on Instagram, accompanied her article. For context, around the same time as this photo was taken and posted on social media, two volunteer firefighters died in bushfires in NSW. Morrison has yet to acknowledge those deaths, or express concerns for the families, co-workers and friends of the two deceased. There are also two firefighters in induced comas, and three injured.

Also yesterday the Australian Financial Review posted an editorial in which it was claimed that the Prime Minister’s minders “ordered” the Australian media not to report on his decision to take leave at this time. The reason given for the ban was that the minders and presumably Morrison feared there would be “churlish” commentary from people who thought the PM’s place was in Australia during the bushfire crisis. The AFR apparently ignored this order & reported the holiday some days ago. Other media such as Crikey, and The Guardian published pieces defending Morrison’s “right” to take a holiday without confirming that he had done so.

Never in the history of this country has a Prime Minister taken a holiday in the middle of a natural disaster. For reasons that on the surface appear unfathomable, the majority of the Australian media opted not to question the judgement of the incumbent in choosing to leave at this time. Indeed, they decided to defend his decision. Neither did they question the bizarre secrecy surrounding Morrison’s absence, as I wrote here yesterday.

When the media don’t question incidents that are not normal behaviour for politicians those abnormalities quickly become normalised. The media is all we have to point out abnormalities in political behaviour and when they fail to do that, they are failing at their job and they are failing their audience. Speaking truth to power is their mission, not protecting power from scrutiny. Whether the PM is insufferably arrogant, sociopathically incapable of feeling empathy owing to his religion’s cavalier attitude to lives other than those of its followers, or more incapable of reading a room than any politician in Australia’s history, it’s the media’s job not to maintain its silence about these deficiencies but rather to trumpet them. Morrison’s behaviour in this crisis speaks to his capacity as a leader, & if this is all he’s got, we should be very afraid.

There are occasions when a Prime Minister’s whereabouts ought not to be public knowledge, usually only for a day or so while he or she is on their way to a troop visit that can’t be advertised. Genuine national security is more important than anyone’s right to know. However, in this case, the press were ordered to embargo the information in an attempt to protect Morrison from “churlish” commentary. We might ask, how weak is this man that he has to be protected from adverse commentary?

In October 2019, major media outlets formed the Right to Know Coalition in response to police raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, and the ABC. The Coalition includes 9, News Corp, the ABC, SBS, The Guardian and journalist’s union MEAA. The Coalition’s mission is to protect the “health of democracy” by ensuring that members of the public have the right to know and are informed about the conduct of those in power. The Coalition sought the public’s support in the stand it has taken against government resistance to scrutiny. I have steadfastly supported this Coalition and its aims. However, this last week would seem to suggest that the Coalition is rather selective about what it considers is in the public interest, appearing to have come down strongly on the side of protecting the Prime Minister from scrutiny. They’ve used the argument that he has a right to have a holiday, while apparently obeying the PMO directive to not actually confirm he’s on a holiday.

Hardly transparent. We do have a right to know how the PM is conducting himself in a time of national crisis. I would like to see any argument the Right to Know Coalition can produce that proves otherwise.

UPDATE: The Prime Minister has now released this statement on the deaths of the firefighters:

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.

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24 comments

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  1. ajogrady

    There are no words to describe my anger and disgust for this coward of a man and his disciples of deceit. Disastrous leadership and pathetic judgement is a start but not the whole painful story. The L/NP and their partners in crime, the Main Stream Media, have created a country that a lot of Australians do not recognise anymore. I want my country back!

  2. Peter Stevenson

    I believe that if it is appropriate to take a weeks secretive leave by the PM (which turns out to be in Hawaii) at a tlme of a natural disaster, then it would have been more than appropriate for Christine Nixon to take an evening meal break which was criticised by Scott Morrison. This makes him what he truly is a hypocrite of the highest order. I hope some journalist is game enough to take him to task over this matter without fear of being raided.

  3. divergent

    It’s a good thing he isn’t subject to “operational requirements”. As all of his public servants are subject to. How many have had their leave cancelled or been recalled to duty over this period. His scheduled leave was cancelled to fit in with international commitments. If I changed a travel schedule I’d lose the lot. Perhaps the better course of action would have been to delay the overseas commitments and attend to the crisis here and take leave at a quieter time and visit these leaders at a better time.

  4. Phil Pryor

    Leave the Head Moron alone, for alone and far away is the consolation prize for his nonposthumous existence. You cannot argue much with a slut for money, pose and position, nor can you easily alter the behaviour of a liar, friend of thieves, crooks, deviates, dills and duds. Saturated, drowned, immersed, in media and advertising filth, lies, distortion, exaggeration, erration and fantasy, we are doomed.

  5. Kathryn

    Holiday leave from WHAT? This is a lazy, self-entitled PM who has done NOTHING, achieved NOTHING in six months who wants to now take a taxpayer-funded holiday from doing ZIP to improve the lives of the ordinary Australians who fund his ENORMOUS salary! Do readers know that Morrison is now one of the HIGHEST PAID leaders in the OECD – earning an exorbitant (undeserved) salary that is higher than his soon-to-be-impeached mate, Donald Trump; higher than the revered Angela Merkel and even higher than the elitist Tory grub, Boris Johnson! The point is that Morrison has done NOTHING to deserve a holiday considering his lazy, totally inept, increasingly fascist regime have only sat for around 15 weeks during the time of his abysmal performance as an unelected prime minister who (since Howard and Abbott) has NOW already attained the ignominious title as the “Worst, most undemocratic PM in living memory” !!! Morrison’s reason for a taxpayer-funded holiday to Hawaii was to hand over $110K of hard-earned taxpayer funds to the multi-millionaire, paedophile-protecting Brian Houston of Hillsong notoriety! WOW, couldn’t give a CENT to fire fighters but pouring money into theological CULTS like there is no tomorrow!

    HOLIDAY BE DAMNED! This is a man who’s sneering lack of concern for our desperately exhausted fire fighters warranted the LNP’s defundment of taxpayer funds to assist fire fighters, their closure of countless fire brigades and Morrison’s contemptuous statement about volunteer fire fighters being there “because they wanted to be there!” …. since then, the tragic death of two of these very brave heroes protecting the lives and property of total strangers in the worst fires in our history has underscored the breathtaking callousness, ineptitude and climate-change-denying idiocy of this unspeakably inept pack of parasitic elitists in the MorriScum regime, Morrison and Dutton being the absolute WORST examples!

    Now we have the ShowMo Muppet being (literally) DRAGGED back to Australia, with his tail between his legs, no doubt ORDERED back by LNP stalwarts (including some words of criticism from his Propaganda Minister, Murdoch) because of his born-to-rule arrogance in the face of so much catastrophic tragedy which HIS nauseating government – in no small way – helped to CREATE!

  6. ajogrady

    I want my country back. I do not want the L/NP’s, IPA’s and the Murdoch MSN cruel vision for Australia and Australians. They are willfully and flagrantly destroying our democratic institutions.

  7. Wobbley

    It’s what the fireies love, to be put in harms way for no compensation at all other than a pat on the back afterwards and perhaps a few sangers and a coke during the event. When the fires are brought under control the fascists polllies and the rest of the community go volunteer fireries, who are they? Pathetic really. Oh and I hate horriscums guts, pig of a man. And as for Gladys dereliction, what more can I say.

  8. Jennifer Demas

    Jennifer, the people always trusted and laboured under the misconception the media/press is free and independent, big mistake huge mistake then journo John Swinton “There is no such thing in America as an independent press, unless it is out in country towns. You all are slaves. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dares to express and honest opinion. If you expressed it, you would know before hand that it would never appear in print. I am paid $150 for keeping honest opinions out of the paper, I am connected with. Others of you paid similar salaries for doing similar things. If I should allow honest opinion to be printed in one issue of my paper would be like Othello before twenty-hours hour. My occupation would be gone. The man who would be foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the street hunting another job. The business of New York journalist is to distort the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of Mammon and sell his country and his race for his daily bread of for what is about the same – his salary. You know it and I know it and what foolery to be toasting”, the press/media always was and always be at behest of media tsars, they decide the how, who, what and when and over here where the tsar hoovered up print, screen radio, commodified the trust, sold it on the stock market for a song and created the Da Vinci of misinformation, disinformation, lack of information and media manipulation under “trust press independence” game over and informed democracy in free fall.

    Finally, it’s not that hard just connect the dots, then when Australia was snookered out of any semblance of 21st century, price on carbon, better deal for resources, digitisation etc then as now it was/is the Da Vinci of misinformation, disinformation, lack of information, media manipulation and game over every orifice well and truly stuffed and once again the voters caved, as they trusted, albeit mistakenly, press/media. So if not for much maligned social media by the press/media Australians would still be kept in the dark and to the media/press fraternity please, just own your co-creation and product outcome stop it, enough of the self righteous indignation against social media, you miserably failed 21st century Australia and informed democracy.

  9. Terence Mills

    I just heard the ABC call David Littleproud the Acting Prime Minister .

    I am assuming they got it wrong as surely Michael Mc Cormack is the acting PM even though he didn’t seem to know that he was the other day.

    David Littleproud is minister for Water Resources but unless Mc Cormack has fallen under a bus, he is not acting PM.

    Does anybody know ?

  10. Glenn Goldsmith

    His master, Rupert Murdoch, has a nice home in Hawaii.

  11. I believe

    No wonder smoko has always believed in miracles as he has disappeared from Sydney in a cloud of smoke without a trace .

  12. Stephengb

    Look folks – lets be fair dinkum, the Australian way here – of course the the Prime Muppet, like all of us, is clearly entitled to take his animal leave, however like all of us we can’t take it whenever we like!

    As a Prime Minister he is required to be just a bit cleverer than the rest of us.

    Clearer this Prime Muppet is not too clever.

  13. Peter F

    If someone has rolled back the stone and he is missing, please tell us there will NOT be A SECOND COMING.

  14. Patagonian

    The question of whether he was doing something with his church in Hawaii really, really needs to be followed up. If true, he’ll be dead meat.

  15. TuffGuy

    I am so happy to be one of those churlish people criticising his absence. Athough honestly it is a real shame he has to come back. But it is fun to screw over his little vaycay because he is such an arrogant, smirking, unempathetic prick. Despite knowing nothing will be different whether he is here or not it is still fun screwing with him. Christine Nixon will be happy clapping all the way to Christmas for the gigantic load of karma scummo is now copping.
    There was a rumour about him staying at one of the Chump’s hotels, was that true???

  16. Jack Cade

    He wanted to say he was sorry but his staff couldn’t find the notes from his ‘How to Fake Empathy’ course…

  17. crypt0

    Jennifer and Kathryn … Well said indeed.

    “the majority of the Australian media opted NOT to question the judgement of (Morrison)”
    Just demonstrates the depths of obeisance of the Australian MSM … can they get any lower?
    Just watch that space.
    And as for Morriscum being a legend , please, spare me.

  18. Ferkin Gobbotherer

    @Crypt0

    The Australian media didn’t question Morrison’s judgment because he was doing what they want. Listen to the comments made by the likes of Sheridan (the talking lavatory brush) and you will see that Newscorp probably writes Morrison’s speeches.

  19. Zathras

    No surprises here.

    I remember when Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin, Whitlam was overseas but flew home, A few years later during the Granville Rail Disaster, PM Malcolm Fraser was a just couple of hours away on the South Coast but never bothered to show up.

    Sure he can’t hold a hose (actually Abbott was just an assistant and also unqualified to be on a fire stage) or work in a Control Centre but he probably can’t fire a gun either, yet will turn up to greet our troops in the Middle East when it suits him electorally.

    That $190K of taxpayers money we paid for the Morrison Government’s Empathy Training seems to have been wasted.

    It was also Morrison’s second family holiday since last Christmas and this may be his onion-eating moment to follow him during his remaining term.

  20. Gangey

    Maybe, just maybe, moronscum has used his family holiday in wherever the f..k happy clappers go to rewind to throw himself under the electoral karma bus. Voldemurdoch, brother brain, and the rest of the cults, (it really should be spelt with an “n”) might not be able to save him from this monumental woopsy come 2022. Bushfires and their legacies tend to stick in the memories of not just the victims and survivors for many years, like Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday down here in VIC.
    May he burn in hell forever.
    My condolences to the families of the lost fieries, and best wishes to the injured, and to the survivors in NSW and QLD

  21. Terence Mills

    Morrison doesn’t seem to realize that, as Prime Minister, he has certain responsibilities in the event of a national emergency.

    For instance, had he been at his desk during the week we may have seen the army mobilised to fight these fires rather that continuing to rely on a volunteer force who are by now exhausted.

    It’s not about going on holidays, it’s about leadership !

  22. Bruce Winchester

    Hawaii? He wanted to be there.

    I’d rather be at an Aussie beach, but I haven’t been able to afford a holiday since 2015 but then I’m apparently having a go but no-one gives a shit.

  23. Roswell

    It’s not about going on holidays, it’s about leadership !

    Bingo, Terence. You’ve got it in a nutshell.

  24. DrakeN

    Terence & Roswell, sock puppets are not much cop at being leaders.

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