Oh dear – our new PM is not up to the job

We know Scott Morrison has held several portfolios, immigration and treasurer the most important. The electorate might have hoped that these experiences would have endowed him with a modicum of general knowledge about how government works, some feel for how international diplomacy is carried out, some notion of what to say, to whom, and when. But, after just a few short weeks, we are left disillusioned. Our accidental PM seems to have learned almost nothing of these crucial political skills – every day he shows he’s not up to the job.

His proclivity for incessant talking, too often before putting his brain into gear, has landed him in hot water. It’s almost as if he’s become overawed with his recent elevation, and can’t adjust to the high office of PM, where common sense, balance, perspicacity, knowing when to speak and when to shut up, are essential attributes.

Of course his exaggerated sense of his own importance, not a recent phenomenon mind you, exacerbates his verbal diarrhoea, which we see every time he appears in the media. He’s always got an answer, always confident that he knows best, his words always accompanied by his all-knowing smirk.

We knew he was terrified at the prospect of losing the Wentworth by-election. With his one seat majority, a Wentworth loss could lead to loss of government. So it was unsurprising that he took every opportunity to shore up the LNP vote, throwing tidbits to the voters, many of whom are Jewish, in the hope of gaining another vote or two. This is the only rational explanation observers could find for his recent off-the-cuff comments about recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and re-locating the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Did he for a nano-second think that while these thought bubbles just might appeal to Jewish voters in Wentworth, they would attract worldwide attention, hearty applause from Israeli PM Netanyahu and President Trump, and equally voluble condemnation from the Palestinians, much of the diplomatic world that is hoping for an eventual two State solution, and fury from Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation, which insisted that such moves would threaten an important trade deal being negotiated, which if negated would leave Australia much worse off?

Shadow Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, said that the move Morrison floated was “a position that was not held by Alexander Downer, was not held by Julie Bishop, was not held by Malcolm Turnbull - and guess what, wasn’t held by Scott Morrison just a couple of months ago…He’s floating a change in Liberal foreign policy … just to try to hold on to the seat of Wentworth. And does anyone actually believe he’ll carry this through?”

So here we have our amateur PM angering half the world and threatening our economy, all in one fell swoop. And what’s more, he was scarcely aware of the damage his words had done. His attempts to ‘play down’ the consequences of his actions underscored his naïveté, amateurishness, and just plain stupidity.

Not satisfied with the grenades he had already thrown, he also announced:

  • Australia would vote against a motion on the Palestinian Authority taking the chair of the Group of 77 of developing nations.
  • The government would “review without prejudice” Australia’s support for the Iran nuclear deal, to determine whether its current policy was still fit for purpose.
  • Australia and Israel would strengthen their defence and security co-operation with the appointment of defence attaches in their respective embassies.
And it wasn’t as if he was not warned: An ASIO bulletin, marked secret, Australian eyes only, circulated on 15 October, the day before his announcements, noted that the shift in policy would ”Attract international attention…any announcement on the possible relocation of the Australian embassy to Jerusalem or consideration of voting against Palestinians in the United Nations may provoke protest, unrest and possibly some violence in Gaza and the West Bank.” It also warned that it was possible Australian interests could be the target of protest activity following such an announcement, and noted that “attacks and violent protests” have occurred at times of heightened political tension. The bulletin noted too that Australian diplomatic facilities in Iran could also be the focus of protest activity if the Morrison government withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal.

The bulletin also highlighted the possibility of protests within Australia, although it says domestic protests are unlikely to be violent. It said ASIO was not aware of specific threats to Jewish interests in Australia, although it said that Israeli and Jewish interests remain “an enduring target of extremists globally…While a small number of Australian-based individuals maintain a violent Islamist extremist ideology that includes a strong anti-Semitic element, we are not aware of any specific or credible terrorist threat to Israel or Jewish interests in Australia.” In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Shaath, a former foreign minister, said Morrison’s announcement was a hostile action that destroyed the chances of peace. “This doesn’t really help. It might increase the chances of the government winning Wentworth in Australia…but if this is the way you do Middle East politics in order to win a by-election, then please allow me to be very negative towards this policy…it will bring nothing but ruin.

As if his own diplomatic blunders were not enough, his accident-prone environment minister, Melissa Price, piled on with her own when she insulted the former president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, who was dining at a restaurant in Canberra with: "I know why you're here. It is for the cash. For the Pacific, it is always about the cash. I have my chequebook here. How much do you want?". Sarah Hanson-Young nailed Price with "She dismisses the science of climate change, and she now dismisses the views and the very heartfelt advocacy of leaders in the region."

Then, on the eve of the by-election, idiot Nationals decide it’s time for another leadership scrap, and Barnaby Joyce pokes his florid face above the parapet announcing he’d be happy to be leader again! Morrison has no control over these morons – why would they listen to him anyway?

Whichever way our clumsy PM turns, he makes the wrong call, upsets those he ought to be fostering, talks incessantly but says nothing, thinks he’s an oracle but is perceived as a fool. He is an embarrassment to his party and to the nation.

The result in Wentworth captured the intense disillusionment that voters feel, not just in that electorate, but across the nation too – disillusionment with the Liberal Party, the Coalition, and in our newly minted PM. No leader can escape the ignominy that inflicts the party he leads. Yet in facing Liberal supporters afterwards, Morrison, truculent as ever even in the face of a humiliating outcome, gave us a pulpit-thumping dose of evangelical claptrap. Channeling his Pentecostal mentors, he extolled the resilience of true-blue Liberals, whom he insisted would rise from the dead – Phoenix-like from the ashes of the appalling Wentworth result. We can expect even more of this.

But it doesn’t alter the fact that Scott Morrison is a rank amateur in the PM arena, is not up to the job, or to use one of his favourite phrases, is ‘not fit for purpose’. Using Aussie vernacular though, he is simply a dud. Oh dear, we really do have a dud PM.

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paul walter

22/10/2018

Tin ear, clanky Robbie the robotic. Blinkered world view, faulty memory and logic chips.

lawrence winder

23/10/2018

How degraded this country has become under this IPA managed ruling rabble....it will take years and years to return it to some semblance of integrity.

Ad Astra

23/10/2018

paul walter

An apt description.

lawrence winder

In my view the Coalition cannot return to a well-functioning parliamentary party until they flush out the likes of Abbott, Dutton, Joyce, Morrison and the ultra-conservative malcontents. That would leave the party bereft of talent - an emaciated skeleton with little hope of recovery.

bruce bilney

23/10/2018

Why am I so despairing of Australia's future? It's not the economy, nor how climate change will affect us, it's the society itself.

What sort of people are we, that yesterday in Parliament, the entire LNP Government to the last individual refused to applaud *J*U*L*I*A* for calling the Child Abuse Royal Commission, at the same time shedding crocodile tears for the victims? And worse, to know that about half my countrymen would support them, the way more than half my countrymen supported Kerr's Coup on Whitlam in 1875, and more than half my countrymen supported the Chappell Brothers' action in bowling the Grubber to a Kiwi batsman to ensure NZ couldn't win a game by hitting the necessary Six.

Always about half of us. Enough generally that hatred and stupidity and greed are usually enough to trump social progress. We could have been New Zealand ourselves, decent, progressive, avowedly independent, had Whitlam not been coup'd. But now the poison is so deep in our society that I can see no antidote ever reversing the damage. Some of this is on a physical level: the deliberate destruction of what could have been a fibre-based NBN, the careless destruction of huge swathes of native scrub, the heedless destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. The Murray-Darling disgrace.

But more terrible is the effect on people themselves: so many of us are anti-science, watchers of SKY by night, bigoted, uncaring, greedy, and very very *Christian*. Send kids to private, mainly religious schools to give them education for privilege. This cannot be undone, ever: Aristotle: “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man... https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/709859-give-me-a-child-until-he... 

Ohhh, you know I could go on and on, I won't. But the point is, I can't see how even the best of Labor Governments can undo the damage, both physical and social, that this dreadful venal Government has already done, especially since the Abbort victory in 2013. They play to the worst in our people: our ancient prejudices from White Australia times of Menzies, the duplicity and willingness to break long-standing protocols of decency of Fraser, the ignorance- &- bigotry-driven successes of Jo Bjelke-Petersen, the Howard "WE will decide who comes here …" speech; Reith's outright lies about "children overboard"...

But Yes, Ad astra, What a dud, what a horror, is this man Scummo. Hypocrisy as only a *Christian* could ever do. Well I do hope and believe that Labor will kick these creeps out, but they will still be there, supported always by about half the people. And that is why I despair.

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The apparently awful Labor vote in Wentworth has several causes no doubt, but the most interesting is that the canniest Labor rustedons realised that to beat the Lib Sharma, Labor had to come in third, and that meant voting direct for Phelps. Note that Shorten didn't campaign in the electorate at all. My brother Gordon ALP, defending his seat of Kingston in 1990 from the worst challenger of all, Janine Haines of the Australian Democrats, faced a similar, if inverted situation. Gordon knew that he would have easily the biggest first-pref vote, but that if Haines came in second she would get enough Liberal second-prefs to elect her. So to the utter dismay of his faithful Electorate Committee, he pleaded with them to vote 1 for the Liberal who had run so dead that I can't even remember who it was. To the confounding of ALL the pundits, the Liberal came in second, eliminating Haines whose preferences then helped elect Gordon. The Australian Democrats imploded terminally from that moment.

TalkTurkey

23/10/2018

Just testing my name, relax.

Joe Carli

23/10/2018

Bruce Bilney...Yes, it is a frustration to see the community divided into approx' 50/50 for support of the LNP and it's cruel policies. In effect, it is a few percentage points less than that both ways..so let's say the divide is 45/45 LNP / Labour...leaving a necessity of 6 min to be gained by one side to win an election.

This is the LNP "bad guys" have a greater advantage than the "good guys" : Labor. Because if we agree that a cunning, criminal intellect will not blanche at using corruption to gain its ends, as a good soul must balk at using devious means, but rely upon the honesty of their intent to win the day, and taking that many citizens are in dire need of and so can be lured to accept, pork-barrelling that will make their lives a bit, if temporarily easier, then the "bad guys" will promise the earth just to win votes...while the "good guys" have to appeal to humanity's better nature and honest social policy to glean those important percentage points.

Cynicism being in the nature of the human condition, and self-preservation being one of the major inclinations to lean one way in a situation, the "bad guys" know only too well that a few percentage points can be gained by the most gross act of bribery that can be easily denied after victory..as we have seen from the LNP leaders in any number of elections.

I say be thankful the result in Wentworth slapped the face of the LNP..if only temporarily, at least it puts a fear and panic into their ranks and gives doubt to their future plans to both bribe and use Murdoch's influence to swing the election their way. Both now seen as failures.

We can but hope and stick to honest policy.

TalkTurkey

24/10/2018

I meant to say yesterday, for Australia especially, but for much of the Western world, the single unifying factor in fomenting chaos, hatred, ignorance and every other evil in society, is one man. He is the same age as Ad astra, and he was born right here in Adelaide. While still at uni, my brother Gordon worked with him, one-on-one, on Saturdays, together creating a shortlived newspaper called the Sunday Advertiser. Since then he has expanded his horizons to cover the whole world, and by choice and influence he is no longer an Australian citizen but a Yank. He has more practical power than any US President or other Western leader in history for he owns them too, and his influence on their policies washes over to the other two superpowers, who respond by trying to counter his warmongering and culture of lies.

He is at the very core of every global mischief, from the Middle East to the middle of Australia. He is to blame for strife and poverty every. He is the very Devil. 

Perhaps Scummo is right, and the world is about to be scourged by the Lord's return in power and great glory, while the holy few are lifted clear of all his wrath during the Rapture. That's what it's going to take to undo the hatred and conflict created by this one horrible old man. 

But if the Lord is indeed motivated by Love and Goodwill, Scummo won't be one of the Rapt.  

 

paul walter

24/10/2018

I notice the despair in  the comments as to the future of this country and I just want to let those people know they are not alone.

Joe Carli

24/10/2018

Talk Turkey...I remember as a teenager back in the sixties standing on Morphett St. Bridge one night watching the old North Terrace site of News Corporation going up in flames...it was one of the biggest fires ever seen in Adelaide....some said it was an accident started in one of the old printing machines...others said it was an "insurance job" I don't know if they ever got to the bottom of the cause, but we do know that Rupert went from strength to strength on the back of it!

I hope the slimy bastard is buried here in the state for no other reason but so organised tours can be arranged to take people to the site so as to be able to urinate on his grave!

Ad Astra

24/10/2018

Talk Turkey and Joe Carli

May I thank you for your comprehensive contribution to this post. Like paul walter, many who comment here will be in agreement with the views you express, in particular the malicious influence of the Murdoch media.

This morning on ABC Melbourne radio, Jon Faine interviewed Kevin Rudd, who is launching another book: The PM Years. Among Rudd's comments was a similar condemnation of Murdoch and the pernicious influence he still exercises through his worldwide media. He said Rupert's successor, Lachlan Murdoch, would be no better than his malevolent father, so no relief from the Murdoch scourge is in sight.

The Rudd interview will be available as a podcast tomorrow.

Joe Carli

24/10/2018

Kevin Rudd....it's a pity he couldn't take his loss with the dignity and closure that Julia Gillard has...and today we saw the unveiling and placing of Julia Gillard's portrait upon the Parliament House wall..A most dignified result...: "Strength in beauty" I label it.

and then there's this ...: https://twitter.com/JAYSEE423/status/1054927119006916613

Joe Carli

26/10/2018

Time to bring a new perspective to governance with an old tried and true skills-set...Time for The Tradesman's Return. https://twitter.com/JAYSEE423/status/1055639598087327746

I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?