This piece contains disturbing material. By keeping it brief I hope any mental distress it might cause will be minimized.
Did you see Michael Pascoe’s article in the October 23 edition of The New Daily: What we don’t know: Is our Prime Minister a nutter?
As Pascoe is a balanced journalist, not prone to hyperbole, the title he chose stood out starkly. What did he mean? We all have an idea of how the term ‘nutter’ is used, but to be sure we’re all on the same page, let’s use a common definition: a ‘nutter’ is a mad or eccentric person
Elaborating on his use of this disparaging term, Pascoe went on to query if our PM was attracted to: ”loony ‘QAnon’ fantasies, if he believes Donald Trump is leading a battle against an international 'Deep State', or that Israel is fulfilling a Biblical prophecy to bring on Armageddon.”
If you’ve not heard of ‘QAnon’, and you’re ready to take the risk of reading some really crazy stuff, you might wish to take a look at: What Is QAnon? The Craziest Theory of the Trump Era, Explained
by Will Sommer in a publication called The Daily Beast
. There's an extraordinary video within the article that's worth a look although it runs for about 13 minutes.
But if you want to begin with a more sober account, you may prefer the Wikipedia description
of QAnon’s central belief: ”There is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything. They control politicians, and they control the media. They control Hollywood, and they cover up their existence, essentially. And they would have continued ruling the world, were it not for the election of President Donald Trump.”
Are you startled?
Before you read either of these accounts of QAnon though, you might ask: ‘What’s this got to do with our PM?’ Let me explain via another article in the October 1 issue of The New Daily
by David Hardaker: ‘This is going straight to Scott’: The conspiracy theorist claiming to influence Scott Morrison.
Please don’t question your sanity as you read it. If it’s all too much, do take a coffee break.
Hardaker writes about a close family friend of the Morrisons, Tim Stewart, who claims to have influenced Morrison to use the term ‘ritual sexual abuse’ in his formal address to the victims of institutional sexual abuse at Parliament House in October. Nowhere is that phrase used in the report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
. So why did Morrison use it? Hardaker claims:
Mr Stewart and key supporters specifically wanted Mr Morrison to use the word “ritual” because it introduced the idea of secret ceremonies with Satan’s involvement, which aligns with QAnon’s theory of global threats.
Morrison’s use of the word “ritual” – instead of “systematic” or “repeated”, which are factually accurate – was picked up by an international blogger who specialises in exposing religion-based conspiracy theories, but otherwise was largely unremarked.
For the Stewarts, though, it was a triumph. The Stewarts’ 22-year-old son, Jesse – also an enthusiastic promoter of the QAnon conspiracy – tweeted: “You know #theGreatAwakening is in full swing when the Australian Prime Minister @ScottMorrisonMP mentions #RitualAbuse”.
There’s more. Read The Rapture and the Real World: Mike Pompeo Blends Beliefs and Policy
by Edward Wong in The New York Times
. During a visit of Pompeo to Jerusalem, an interviewer posed a question around a biblical tale about a queen who saved Jews from slaughter by a Persian official
: “Did Mr. Pompeo think President Trump had been 'raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace'? As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Mr. Pompeo said."
Let’s give your brain a rest from this crazy stuff for a while and turn to a recent speech to the Queensland Resources Council by Morrison, this time about climate change protesters who seek to influence those who fund or insure fossil fuel operatives to withdraw their support, in which he brands environmental protesters as “anarchists”
. Claiming that progressives are seeking to “deny the liberties of Australians”, he threatens “a radical crackdown on the right to protest”.
He claims that “progressivism” – which he labelled a “new-speak type term”, invoking George Orwell – intends “to get in under the radar, but at its heart would deny the liberties of Australians”. He goes on:
“Apocalyptic in tone, it brooks no compromise, it’s all or nothing. Alternative views are not permitted.” He pointed to the “worrying development” of environmental groups targeting businesses or firms involved in the mining sector with ‘secondary boycotts’, such as businesses refusing to provide banking, insurance or consultancy services. They are targeting businesses of all sizes, including small businesses, like contracting businesses in regional Queensland.
“Let me assure you this is not something my government intends to allow to go unchecked.”
By the way, I wonder does Morrison likewise categorise as ‘apocalyptic in tone’ the recent statement of 11,000 scientists from 53 nation
s that “declares clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency…that will inflict untold suffering on the peoples of the world”
, and that “to secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live”
. He should.
Speaking on 3AW Radio in Melbourne, Morrison tried to reassure us: “There is of course the right to protest in this country”
, but in now-familiar evangelical mode he went on to claim that recent environmental protests in Melbourne were ‘well beyond the pale’ because protesters had allegedly spat at people in business shirts, adding: “It’s not OK to have secondary boycotts being run by unions … it’s not OK for environmental, well, they’re anarchist groups … to be able to disrupt people’s jobs, their livelihoods, to harass people as we saw down in Melbourne”
Add this to what you have read above, and ask: “What was he thinking as he used those words?’ Are we seeing Morrison adding an Orwellian tone to the conspiracy theories that seem to have afflicted him and his fellow travellers? Are we witnessing him drifting inexorably towards a totalitarian mindset, in tune with his autocratic Home Affairs Minister Dutton?
We’ve seen and heard him expressing his Pentecostal beliefs with fervour. Are we seeing that same religious fervour being displayed in his politics, now overlaid with bizarre conspiracy theories?
This is the Prime Minister of Australia we're talking about. This is the man who has the power to do much good and or much harm. Should we be alarmed? What is going on in Morrison’s mind? Who is influencing him?
Are you sanguine about his state of mind? After weaving together the disturbing threads of this piece, I’m not. For me, it’s been an unsettling exercise.
Are you prepared to take on the challenging of trying to unravel Morrison’s mind? If so, please let’s have your conclusion?
Can you give us any reassurance?