Oz Blog News Commentary

A question of character

November 2, 2021 - 08:30 -- Admin

Everyone who reads articles in the blog will know that I have a particularly low opinion of Scott Morrison’s character1-3, as Emmanuel Macron also seems to do4.

I used to think that it was not possible to have a worse Prime Minister than Tony Abbott; that he was the nadir of the possibilities thrown up by the political class. However, I was wrong. Abbott, like Morrison, is an accomplished liar and an incompetent. However, Morrison is significantly worse. He lies and obfuscates constantly. He abrogates responsibility seemingly under the impression that if he does nothing, he will attract no blame for any failures for the responsibilities avoided. He is only concerned about himself and continuing as Prime Minister; there is no concern for the future of the nation, nor for that of the planet. He misuses public funds to pork barrel with the aim of ‘buying’ elections. He avoids scrutiny and accountability constantly. However, I am not the only one who has a low opinion of him. There are many people who have realised what he is like. Here are a few of them.

Nadine Von Cohen: Morrison’s vacuity goes beyond a hard-core stoner-level lack of motivation to repair broken people, places, policies and promises. His reign of disdain is a study in apathy and indolence, full of absences and shirking. His infamous justification for his mid-bushfires Hawaiian holiday – “I don’t hold a hose, mate” – is just the tip of the iceberg5.

G. Dixon: Scott Morrison couldn’t lead a dog on a leash. He’s a follower. He waits for someone else to do and say something and if it looks like it might be a goer, he rides on their coat tails; then he calls press conferences to big note himself and take the credit6.

Jack Waterford: Scott Morrison encapsulates the retreat from values, the lack of regard for truth, for decency and the long-term public interest7.

John Birmingham: [Morrison’s] core competency is not taking responsibility for anything that goes even a little bit pear-shaped, while snatching up the gold medal glory for themselves when things do go well. There is an even more cynical aspect to this however, and that’s the way Morrison has hijacked the civic capital of a national, non-political institution like the Army to protect himself and his government from legitimate critique and condemnation. In this he has made a human shield of General Frewen8.

John Hewson: Morrison has lost control of the virus and vaccine narrative. He is losing control of the economic narrative as we now risk a double-dip recession. He has accepted Barnaby Joyce back with no conditions – indeed, let him start to dictate climate and other policy. He has failed to deal effectively with claims of rape, bullying and harassment in Parliament House; has normalised pork-barrelling, corruption and wasteful expenditure; denies responsibility; is quick to blame others; and ignores the need for reform in response to the great social challenges of Indigenous recognition, child- and aged-care, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, mental illness and domestic violence9.

Jo Dyer: It’s getting all a bit much, isn’t it? The sheer, maddening, shamelessness of this Government? Their incompetence, their venality, their insulting refusal to acknowledge realities that we see with our own eyes, their denial of past statements that we heard with our own ears, their base bleak morality that seeps into our bones. It’s dispiriting, it’s exhausting, and above all it’s endless. There is literally no end to the depths to which they sink10.

Dave Millner: In a saner world, making the lives of every human that will one day be born more miserable than they need to be wouldn’t be this electorally popular. That people aren’t hurling rotten fruit at this man [Scott Morrison] everywhere he goes speaks to both the incomprehensible scale of this problem, the stasis and denial humans willingly accept as epochs shift, and the demented national conversations had in places with sophisticated propaganda networks disguised as news media. Whether the ALP can get its shit together or not, one day Morrison will be gone. It is small solace, though, because there are many Morrisons. He is an archetype as much as a Prime Minister. A climate criminal, a neoliberal funnel, a stooge to the oligarchy. For humanity to pull itself out of the avoidable climate misery that we still can – which we should do, I live here – almost everything Morrison stands for needs to be rejected, the things he says scorned, and his entire platform eviscerated for the irresponsible bullshit it is11.

Sean Kelly: A maiden speech is often taken as a concise encapsulation of a politician’s outlook on the world; a pure expression of their actual self before the deadening effect of party politics and the need to please their seniors overwhelm them. Morrison’s speech is not concise; rather than clarity, it offers confusion. In this, it is just as much a classic maiden speech as any other – because this is Morrison, exactly. As so often in Morrison’s career, there is a sense that nobody, finally, is responsible. Bad things seem simply to happen, without the clear intention of anyone involved. If you go looking for solid meaning, something to tell you what he thinks about the world, you will be disappointed. It is like trying to grab at empty air. (edited extract from ‘The Game A Portrait of Scott Morrison’ by Sean Kelly, published by Black Inc.)12

As Nadine Von Cohen said, this is just the tip of the iceberg of those who have realised that Morrison is the sort of person who should never be allowed to occupy public office, as Australia is finding out to its cost.