ScoMo makes it personal

PM Scott Morrison’s government has just been rated by voters polled in Newspoll at 45-55 TPP against Labor, which would translate to a 20-seat loss if an election were held today.

You can’t beat Labor on policy, that’s the lesson Michael Kroger took from Victoria, so ScoMo has decided to make it personal, telling Bill Shorten the election is ‘between you and me’:

Simon Benson writing in the Oz, commenting on Newspoll, said the Morrison’s big task was to spread his popularity to the rest of the party. You see, apart from a landslide losing position, ScoMo returned a positive personal rating. A total of 43 per cent of voters think he’s doing a good job, against 42 per cent who think he’s not. Shorten’s figures are 37-50, but still, Morrison does not have much popularity to spread.

Psephologists like Kevin Bonham say that there is no established connection between personal ratings and election outcomes, but apart from Turnbull’s mantra of ‘jobs and growth’ then ‘kill Bill’ is about all ScoMo has got.

That’s while his party seems to be falling apart.

First cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer told colleagues during a crisis meeting of federal Victorian MPs the Liberals are widely regarded as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”.

She got that a bit wrong, she should have deleted the phrase “widely regarded as”, but it was a moment of plain-speaking honesty.

Later she sparked guffaws when she claimed the Liberal government was the “natural government for Australian women”. Now a union commissioned ReachTel poll finds that voters in her seat of Higgins favoured Labor 53-47. True, names weren’t mentioned, so her personal magnetism might win out.

Then ScoMo’s announcement that the budget would be brought forward to April 2 budget, suggesting that the election will be May 11 or 18 was upstaged by Liberal MP Julia Banks quitting to sit on the crossbench:

    Ms Banks excoriated the “reactionary right wing” within the Coalition for its role in toppling Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, and praised the “sensible centrist Liberal values” of colleagues like Julie Bishop.

    Newly Independent MP Julia Banks (centre) takes seat on the cross bench during House of Representatives Question Time.

    Ms Banks announced her decision in the House of Reps chamber on Tuesday, just as prime minister Scott Morrison was on live television on the other side of Parliament House, announcing the date of the 2019 Budget.

    The resignation follows a string of Liberal women criticising the party for a culture that permitted bullying and stand-over tactics, particularly during the recent leadership spill.

If the Liberal Party is to regenerate, some truth-telling from sensible liberals will be a necessary condition.

By the way, I don’t normally read Andrew Bolt , but he reckons Banks is faking it, that she has no actual details of the alleged “bullying and intimidation”. Bolt reckons the Liberals have two women problems. The first is a lack of women, then:

    But here’s where we get to the Liberals’ second “women problem” — the double standards that lets Banks and other malcontents use gender wars as an excuse for bad behaviour.

    Banks is now hailed in the media as an example of the Liberals mistreating their women, when she’s actually an appalling example of their woman mistreating the Liberals.

That’s one way of blaming the victim.

Michelle Grattan points out that Banks did not inform Morrison of her intention, which Grattan puts down to his authority deficit at home and abroad.

She points out that Morrison has no scheduled meeting with Donald Trump at the forthcoming G20 meeting. She thinks they won’t waste their time, and will wait to see who is in the chair next May.

I divert to mention the business of red shoes, which Ambigulous commented on the other day.

It seems that back in September, when Julie Bishop resigned as foreign minister, red shoes sparked a sea of red worn by Liberal women in parliament because Julie Bishop had made them into an iconic emoji, meaning, don’t mess with Julie, but also a statement of women’s empowerment. Seems it was all started by this photo by Alex Ellinghausen, who has a talent for picking up the unusual:

Here’s Julie on Twitter:

Now she is donating them to Museum of Australian Democracy:

I suspect Ms Bishop is letting her colleagues know she’s around, should they need a different leader.

Back to ScoMo and more particularly, what the man is made of. Eddy Jokovich has taken a look in The unknown Scott Morrison.

Jokovich did some scouting about and says this of his time at Tourism Australia:

    Insiders who worked in the marketing department at the time have mentioned to me that Morrison’s performance was poor, he spent most of his time on Liberal Party business matters, was rarely seen in the office and seemed to do very little work – and then, all of a sudden, he was gone, his office cleaned out, never to be seen at Tourism Australia again.

Worse was to come when Morrison ran for preselection and lost 82-8 to Michael Towke, on paper a far more credentialed candidate.

    …Morrison swung into action.

    He called on his connections within the hard right faction of the Liberal Party, and disseminated smears about Towke to News Limited – claiming Towke was serial liar, he was facing jail, and involved in branch stacking. The Daily Telegraph duly published the material, seriously damaging Towke’s character.

    The result in the preselection contest? The vote was annulled, a second ballot was ordered by the state executive of the Liberal Party, subsequently won by Morrison. And what of the allegations made against Towke? Many years later, all of the published allegations were found to be untrue in court, and defamation was settled with a payment by News Limited to Towke. But this was far too late, Morrison had already been elected to parliament.

Jokovich believes:

    Based on his performance as prime minister over the past three months, and his history in the public arena, Morrison is the consummate anti-intellectual and is guided solely by personal pursuit and power.

This is Jokovich’s summary of ScoMo’s economic record:

    Annual growth is now ranked 25th of the 35 OECD countries – currently at 1.75 per cent; national government debt has risen from $257 billion in 2013 to a current estimate of $598 billion; annual wage growth of 1.92 per cent is the lowest on record; average household disposable income has decreased in the five years before July 2018 from $31,650 to $28,950; national productivity levels are lower than they were in 2014; national building and construction approvals are down to the levels the existed during the global financial crisis.


    responding to Pamela Anderson’s call for the prime minister to lend support for the return of Julian Assange to Australia, Morrison joked: “I’ve had plenty of mates who have asked me if they can be my special envoy to sort the issue out with Pamela Anderson”. And ever so close to White Ribbon Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.

    That’s the type of prime minister we currently have: an older version of Forrest Gump in a kindergarten, with a juvenile smutty mind to go with it – a odd spectacle largely supported by the media and journalists who have lost the plot and decided it’s better to think of their monthly pay cheque, rather than seriously question the ignoramus currently occupying The Lodge.


    Morrison is an accidental prime minister, and came through as the compromise candidate between Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton. Smutty and juvenile, a simpleton who believes the best solution to all political problems is a marketing trick, or seducing segments of the electorate with terror games and law and order fear campaigns. And just like most compromises, we’ve been given the worst of all worlds and ended up with someone who shouldn’t really be there.

I’ve tended to think of Morrison as a bear with very little brain, and a mouth that flaps almost at random. Whatever you think of Jokovich’s account, the preselection event is a matter of public record, and should disqualify Morrison from sitting in parliament in a just world.

On Thursday the front page headline in the AFR was

PM battles to regain control

Along the way we find that only 75% of Australians know who Morrison is, as against 70% for Peter Dutton and 82% for Julie Bishop.

Much of the article is devoted to Julie Bishop’s aspirations to the Liberal leadership. She has given comfort to Julia Banks and others, stated that Peter Dutton really does have to clarify his eligibility, and, in what would be seen as an act of betrayal by some, has suggested that the Government should sit down with Labor and work out a bipartisan approach to the National Energy Guarantee.

There is chatter about the Bishop option around the traps, with some enthusiasm and some saying another leadership change would be “beyond ridiculous”.

On the NEG, states are pushing for the full reinstatement of the NEG and a new paper by Green Energy Markets estimates that if construction of wind and solar farms and installations of roof top solar continues at present rates, the nation will get about 78 per cent of its power from renewable energy by 2030:

The point here is that far from Labor’s target of 50% renewables by 2030 being beyond limits and “economy-wrecking” as asserted by ScoMo and Angus Taylor, you would have to wreck the renewables industry to avoid 50% and more.

So politics in the next six months is bound to be interesting. We have in place an accidental PM who, it seems, is willing to do about anything it takes to prevent Labor from winning office, because his brand of politics regards Labor as illegitimate in our political system.

Bishop at least presents as a leader who recognises Labor’s legitimacy, and is probably the best chance to restore some decency to the whole political process. That is, if there are enough sensible people left in the Liberal Party to give her a go. There may be other options, but she’s about more than red shoes and is worth watching every move she makes.

Update: The bottom line for me was that at first I thought ScoMo was an amiable enough fellow, somewhat empty headed but essentially harmless. Now it seems he can be genuinely nasty and dangerous.

Update 2: Andrew Welder’s Enough, enough enough presents a portrait of Morrison perhaps even darker than the one presented by Jokovich. Of interest he notes that pentacostalist churches in the US strongly support Trump’s relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

    All Morrison has to do to make that agreement happen is to junk a symbolic commitment to moving the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He can’t though, because the Liberal right need a win. The Liberal right were denied Dutton as leader, and are facing a rollback of their beloved mandatory detention position. They failed utterly, and publicly, on marriage equality. The Liberal right hobbled Turnbull on climate change; Morrison is so happy to nobble himself on this policy that the right can’t assert their influence by making him adopt a position with which he doesn’t disagree.

    Moving the embassy to Jerusalem is the ankle bracelet that the Liberal right have clapped on Morrison. They expect him to scupper a deal over fifty years in the making to deliver a victory that the Liberal right can claim as their own. Pentacostal churches hold the Liberal Party together in WA and in parts of Queensland. In Victoria, Marcus Bastiaan mobilised fundamentalist Christian sects into joining the Liberal Party there, and even without him the party there is reaping the rewards for appealing to a base that is already within the party membership but scarcely evident beyond it.

Welder says Morrison lacks the wit and the clout to simply draw a line under this issue.

    Both the power dynamics within the Liberal Party (the right must be seen to have a win over the new Prime Minister) and Morrison’s own professed faith … explain why this seemingly unimportant issue cannot simply be shut down by the Prime Minister.

Update 3: Another amazing photo taken by Alex Ellinghausen for Fairfax:

22 thoughts on “ScoMo makes it personal”

  1. The bottom line for me was that at first I thought ScoMo was an amiable enough fellow, somewhat empty headed but essentially harmless. Now it seems he can be genuinely nasty and dangerous.

    In other news from the Betoota Advocate, the Liberal Party base has been discovered. It’s four old white people bickering in a local cafe. The CSIRO were in town to record bird numbers and stumbled upon them.

  2. In some later wash-up from Victoria, the Greens now claim they can’t lose in Brunswick.

    Once a working class, inner, poorer locale. Now hipster ville, with proletarian remnants; overlaps with “The Peoples Republic of Moreland”.

    For an accurate portrayal, see the Murray Whelan novels. Greens had been hoping for success there. …… for several elections.

    My post-election claim that the Greens had lost plenty of ground may need revising in the light of, ummmmm, facts.

  3. Posted online late yesterday in The Guardian is an article by Damian Carrington headlined David Attenborough: collapse of civilisation is on the horizon. The sub-headline is Naturalist tells leaders at UN climate summit that fate of world is in their hands. The article begins with:

    The collapse of civilisation and the natural world is on the horizon, Sir David Attenborough has told the UN climate change summit in Poland.

    The naturalist was chosen to represent the world’s people in addressing delegates of almost 200 nations who are in Katowice to negotiate how to turn pledges made in the 2015 Paris climate deal into reality.

    Check it out.

    I wonder how much longer the COALition can continue to ignore the warnings?

  4. Have you seen better Cabinets at IKEA, Geoff Miell?*

    Cheaper to buy.
    Last a bit longer, too!


    *quip shamelessly borrowed from Brian’s latest post.

  5. Ambigulous (Re: DECEMBER 4, 2018 AT 11:10 AM)

    Have you seen better Cabinets at IKEA, Geoff Miell?

    The IKEA cabinets last longer than the Federal Cabinets!

  6. Malcolm Turnbull appears to have put the cat amongst the pigeons. Posted just over an hour ago at the SMH is an article by Nicole Hasham & Nick O’Malley headlined Malcolm Turnbull says Coalition should back Labor’s energy policy. It includes:

    Speaking after a renewable energy conference in Sydney on Tuesday, Mr Turnbull said the National Energy Guarantee – a policy developed then dumped by his government before being adopted by Labor – was the best way to create investment certainty in the electricity sector.

  7. While we contemplate PM Morrison’s first pre-selection, may I be permitted to have the poor taste to savour the first pre-selection of Brilliant PM Turnbull?

    As I recall, it involved
    * defeat of a sitting Liberal MHR
    * widespread reports of Liberal branch-stacking
    * subsequent candidacy of the ejected MHR as an independent in the seat of Wentworth

    Perhaps it has flown under the radar, but that was the first time I recall hearing of Liberal Party branch-stacking. In Queen Victoria’s State, we were accustomed to believing it was a Labor Party sin.

    By the way, I thought Mr Turnbull’s interview with Fran on RN, 6.30am AESST Monday 4th Dec was a bobby-dazzler, wedging as it did Mr Abbott. Malcolm was insisting that Liberal Party pre-selection by membership ballot should proceed. The very cause taken up and fostered by Mr Abbott in his “Waringah Motion”. (Hoping thereby to wrest some seats away from “the moderates”.)

    Thus Tony A was stuck, while Malcolm T sank the slipper into one of “the insurgents”.

    It’s starting to look like that Old Testament legend, of Samson wrecking the joint in his blind rage. Malcolm doesn’t care for “revenge as a dish served cold”. Straight out of the oven, scalding hot, will suit him just fine.

    Why didn’t Mr T show that style of courage, sharpness and wit as PM? Oh yes, he gave himself a one-seat majority by being a lacklustre campaigner, putting forward policies rejected by thousands of voters. Arithmetic rules, OK?

  8. Anecdotally, Turnbull was disliked by traditional conservatives because he isn’t one and held their nose in 2016. There seems a better feeling around the traps for ScoMo.

    If I were to venture a crystal ballish punt, ScoMo could be a positive for the Senate in the next election “ but nothing…can save…the Lower House “

  9. There seems a better feeling around the traps for ScoMo.

    Then why can nothing save the lower house?
    Surely a real conservative like Morrison will appeal to the voters that the mountebank Turnbull alienated.

  10. Why didn’t Mr T show that style of courage, sharpness and wit as PM?

    The Coalition Agreement for starters, which we were never allowed to see, precluded action on climate change. Or so it was said.

    Barnaby Joyce had him by the short and curlies, and I think the resentment showed, when Barnaby stumbled.

  11. Barnaby Joyce had him by the short and curlies, and I think the resentment showed, when Barnaby stumbled.

    When you have a party that gets less than 4% of votes blocking climate action, the country has a problem.

  12. Posted in The Guardian earlier today is an article by Ben Smee headlined Australian mining giants ‘may be breaking law’ by ignoring climate change risks. The article begins with:

    More than a dozen of Australia’s largest mining and infrastructure companies may be in breach of their legal duties by refusing to consider the financial risks posed by climate change, an investor action group says.

    In September, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission published a report that said “the law requires” relevant companies to “include a discussion of climate risk” in their annual report.

    I wonder whether the toothless ASIC will grow some teeth and start prosecuting?

  13. JohnD, That…

    “When you have a party that gets less than 4% of votes blocking climate action, the country has a problem.”

    … worth saying out loud and often.

    Now Morrison has acted to lock in his control of the party while on the same week end un-democratically protecting one of the vilest of the LNP denialists (along with Abbott) who would have been ousted in the public interest.

    And so Morrison makes it personal with me. I am offended by this know nothing arrogant chauvinist idiot of a politician. I look forward to hearing the sound of his lopped off political future rolling down the road …Duncitty..dunce..dunce..dunce..done!

  14. I can see the sense of a party requiring 60% of party room vote to have a spill during a parliamentary term. However, it also makes sense for an automatic spill to occur if a party loses an election. Scomo seems to be reacting before thinking things through.

  15. When Morrison wheeled this back he only went as far as Abbott’s ousting,…very disingenuously and conveniently forgetting Abbott’s spill of TurnBull in the first place in the time of Rudd.

    And yes, he hasn’t thought through the ramifications. I think he seriously expects to be elected as a prime minister. But it is the over riding of the preselection process that is the crime against democracy here. Morrison claims to be the ultimate arbiter of who will be elected next year. With a little bit of luck all four of the losers he was protecting will lose at the poll, especially Abbott.

    Yes also to the automatic election loss spill.

  16. In far off “more gentlemanly days”, or when politicians were expected to take responsibility for their actions (as Mr Turnbull urges on the leaders of ‘the insurgency…..’..) it was assumed that if you led your Party to an election defeat, the leadership would automatically become vacant immediately thereafter.

    The unsuccessful leader might then be re-elected, but at least the Party room had a say in it. I’m thinking of Opposition Leader Whitlam after his election loss on 1977, for example.

    Some commentators decry Mr Turnbull as vengeful, vicious and unhelpful. He points out that he is no longer in Parlt and has a right to express views. When he lists the insurgent leaders: Dutton, Abbott, Greg Hunt et al as he does regularly, I think he’s suggesting that any voter who regrets Mr Turnbull’s removal, and lives in an insurgent’s electorate, might consider voting ABAI (Anyone But An Insurgent).

    Mr Rudd waged a sly, careful war against Ms Gillard.
    Mr Abbott promised not to snipe and fulfilled the promise by using heavy artillery at all times, never a sneaky rifle.
    Mr Turnbull is Doing It His Way.

    Pass the popcorn……

  17. I am offended by this know nothing arrogant chauvinist idiot of a politician.

    BilB, the first time someone mentioned climate change to ScoMo he admitted that he’d never thought about it. In some ways Turnbull was worse, because he knew he was spouting rubbish, especially about renewables, SA and that ruddy great storm.

    For the same reason, you can never take Frydenberg at face value about anything.

  18. Brian

    Now I’m wondering if that foolish Frydenberg fuss over the small South Australian storm, all the hyperventilating and “reliable energy” guff, exposed here time and again as arrant nonsense, was actually aimed at the National Party Rump/Liberal Climate Dinosaurs, in an attempt to drag them into the 20th century, and persuade them that something like the NEG was their only hope as a faltering Coalition???

    Trying to talk to them over their street barricades, via the voters??

    Or is that too cunning a plan to have been hatched by Greg Hunt, Malcolm Turnbull and Minister Josh?

    We await Mr Turnbull’s memoirs.
    Meanwhile The Oz claims Mr Laundy has asked Mr Turnbull to STFU.

  19. Turnbull is looking the happiest he has been for yonks. Maybe he is more suited to commentating than the hard graft of making things happen.
    He needs to be careful though. Some commentators think Craig Kelly’s survival was the result of Turnbull saying he should be got rid of.

  20. I wonder whether Mr T couldn’t care less about being careful?

    Perhaps he has borrowed something from “The Insurgents”TM , a desire to blow the government up?

    You never know, he may become a more effective wrecker than Mr Abbott.


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