Scott Morrison

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A suburban dad Nero who plays backyard cricket in his Kirribilli mansion as the nation burns.
—Jordan Shanks[1]

Scott Morrison (1968–) a.k.a. "Scotty from Marketing" ("Scotty from Skidmarketing" works too!) is a theocratic kleptocrat an Australian Liberal Party politician and the Prime Minister of Australia from 2018-2022. On 23 May 2022, he was succeeded by the incumbent Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

He is a Pentecostal (despite most Australians being agnostic) and social conservative, noted for tough policies on immigration and welfare.[2] He's essentially the personification of the Liberal Party's policies since 2013, combining the righteous cruelty and incompetence of Teutonic Knight Tony Abbott with the indifference and ineffectuality of the poster child for erectile dysfunction, Malcolm Turnbull. Everyone expected him to lose in the 2019 election (the Coalition was trailing in the polling for almost three straight years), but Morrison had a shocking upset win instead, with a 3-seat majority on the backs of better-than-expected showings in Tasmania and Queensland.

He may or may not have shit his pants in a McDonalds in Engadine,[citation needed] but it doesn't matter. After a disastrous second term as Prime Minister rife with scandal, the looming federal election likely has Morrison shitting his pants more than the 1997 NRL Grand Final ever could.[citation NOT needed]

In May 2022, Morrison and the Liberals finally lost power after nearly a decade, with both Labor under Anthony Albanese, the Greens, and the Teal Independents (pro-environment moderates) all taking seats from the Coalition. Morrison conceded the election and resigned, paving the way for Peter Dutton to replace him as Opposition Leader.

Bio[edit]

Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1968, he worked as a tourism official for New Zealand (traitor!) and Australia (popularising the quintessentially Australian advertising slogan "Where the bloody hell are you?"[2]). Before entering politics as a Liberal Party official in 2000 and winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 2007. In 2013 under the Abbott Government, he served in government as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, where he was tasked with ensuring that helpless refugees either get sent back to their respective war-torn country or drown in the Timor Sea. After a cabinet reshuffle the following year he served as minister of Social Services, the perfect job for someone who used to make a living off the deaths of asylum seekers. In 2015 he became Treasurer (finance minister) of Australia, and remained in this position for the next three years.[3]

After serving in the Liberal–National Coalition government of the previous Liberal Party PM, Malcolm Turnbull, Morrison became premier on 24 August 2018 following a convoluted but not unprecedented sequence of events. Turnbull was challenged for leadership by Peter Dutton, and called a leadership contest ("spill") to see if he was still top dog, and won — Dutton was offensive even by the standard of Australian politicians, noted for mocking suicidal refugees and boycotting an apology to the Stolen Generation,Wikipedia aboriginal children taken from their parents.[4] The Liberal Party's representatives then held another vote expressing their desire to replace Turnbull, and Turnbull quit. A two-round contest followed to choose a new leader, with Morrison up against Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop; Morrison came behind Dutton in the first vote, but in the second vote, sans Bishop, the slightly more moderate Morrison won 45 to 40 over Dutton.[3]

Views[edit]

Government Corruption[edit]

Due to Australia's lack of a federal anti-corruption body, federal government corruption has always been difficult to combat.[2] However, despite there being great public support for one, Morrison has dismissed such a body as a "fringe issue".[5] This lack of care about government corruption, combined with numerous questionable actions, such as alleged attempts to privatise social security by implementing a cashless welfare-card with the company of a government donor[6] or allegedly giving $444 million dollars to a group closely associated with the governing Liberal Party of Australia[7] have greatly degraded people's trust in the current political process. In fact, there is a petition with 180,000+ signatures calling on the current Governor-General (the representative of the British Monarch in Australia) to dissolve parliament and start from scratch.[8]

Climate change[edit]

In November 2018 he criticised schoolchildren for protesting about climate change, saying "What we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools" and "Each day I send my kids to school and I know other members' kids should also go to school but we do not support our schools being turned into parliaments".[9]

Notably, while serving as a Treasurer for the Turnbull government, Scott Morrison walked in with a lump of coal and asked "Are you afraid of a little lump of coal?"[10] It is unclear whether this was the secret love child between Morrison and the Australian coal industry.

Aboriginal rights[edit]

One of Morrison's first acts was to suggest the appointment of former PM Tony Abbott as an envoy to indigenous peoples, which didn't go down well among those who remembered Abbott's offensive remarks and cuts to Indigenous programs. Morrison supported the amendment of the Native Title Act to make it easier for mining companies to get rights to indigenous peoples' land. He has spoken of a desire for Australia to look to the future rather than focus on the past ("How good is coal?"), and expressed admiration for James Cook, praising his "amazing empathy and respect for his own crew and the people and lands he visited".[11]

Immigration[edit]

As opposition immigration spokesman and then Coalition immigration minister, he supported tough treatment for illegal immigrants and refugees including offshore detention and was prominent in calls to "stop the boats", a policy of turning back boatloads of refugees.[2] In 2011 he was exposed as pressing for his party to pursue an anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant agenda as a way of winning votes; this included complaining about the cost of funerals for migrants drowned at sea, for which he was later forced to apologise (or at least, he apologised for the "timing" of his comments, a classic politician's non-apology).[12][13]

Religion[edit]

Morrison is an evangelical Christian, a regular parishioner at the Horizon Pentecostal megachurch in Sutherland, Sydney.[2] He received strong support from conservative evangelicals including Warwick Marsh of the Australian Christian Values Institute, Adam F Thompson from Voice of Fire Ministries, and Adrian Beale from Everrest Ministries.[14] Marsh said of Morrison's victory in the leadership contest, "Many people here in Australia of faith believe this was a miracle of God, as Mr Morrison has a strong faith in God and has made a stand for Christian freedoms and has promised to do so in the future." Marsh followed this endorsement by requesting that his acolytes "pray that truth and freedom would win out in the high court case against exclusion zones around abortion clinics".[14]

LGBT rights[edit]

See the main article on this topic: LGBT rights

He opposed same-sex marriage in a 2017 vote.[2]

Women's rights[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Feminism

He is viewed by evangelicals as a voice in their struggle against abortion.[14] He has expressed opposition to late-term abortion.[15]

Scott Morrison does not...[edit]

... hold a hose[edit]

Tell the Prime Minister to get fucked!
—Paul Parker, NSW Firefighter[16]

Australia has always been particularly susceptible to bushfires, but late 2019-early 2020 brought on a series of truly devastating bushfires that ravaged the rural areas of states such as New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Now the scientists and experts were attributing these bushfires to the effects of climate change, namely the record-breaking drought.[17] How's that climate-change denial going, Scotty?

Never mind. Scott had bigger problems of his own. First, he copped a lot of flack for grabbing the kids and fleeing to Hawaii on holiday while half the country was on fire[18] (so sure, he never inspired his hero, The Don, but at least he showed Ted Cruz a thing or two). Much like Cruz, Scotty was dragged back to Australia to give a half-assed apology, before visiting a fire-stricken village in New South Wales and making an absolute ass out of himself by trying to force grieving victims to give him a handshake (no, really).[19]

One of the biggest effects of this scandal was that it demonstrated Scott Morrison's default response to any crisis, which is to ignore the problem until the media backlash is so severe, at which point, he turns on that marketing charm. In this particular case, Morrison responded to increased backlash about his inaction during the bushfires with a cheesy 50-second marketing video about how he was deploying the military to help out. Now look, a lame video might not be the reassurance that bushfire victims who have lost both their loved ones and their homes need, but at least it's something. However, the Liberal Party also added a donate button to their website which misleadingly led to a donations page for the Liberal Party itself, rather than bushfire relief.[20] That's so Scotty.

... listen to women[edit]

This is a vibrant liberal democracy. Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets – but not here in this country. This is a triumph of democracy when we see these things take place.
—Scott Morrison, on how Australian women should be grateful they aren't being gunned down in the street[21]

The Liberal Party has never been seen as champions for women's rights (you mean to tell me that the party that graced us with Tony Abbott as the minister for women's rights might have a hint of misogyny in it?). But 2021 was about to drag that into the spotlight in a way that nobody in the Liberal Party could have foreseen.

It all began with a public rape allegation made by Brittany Higgins, a junior staffer for the Liberal Party who was assaulted by a co-worker in Parliament House in 2019.[22] Allegedly, Scott was unaware of this event until the 12th of February, 2021. He issued an apology, stating that his Government mishandled the response and announced an independent review into the workplaces of federal parliamentarians and their staff, as well as ordering an internal review into workplace culture and complaints handled within the Liberal Party.[23]

He also bizarrely stated that it took his wife reminding him that he was a father of daughters for him to actually seriously respond to the incident (as opposed to it being his literal job). You don't really need experience in marketing to see how this is probably not a way to engender confidence in the women of Australia. Thank Scott's pentecostal God that his wife gave birth to women. If only she could have given birth to every other demographic that has been grossly abused by Liberal Party policy too.

Anyway, the floodgates opened. Higgins spoke out about how she was made to feel as though her career was in danger if she pursued the matter of her own assault further.[24] Political figures such as former PM Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and even Peta Credlin weighed in, casting doubt on Scott Morrison's supposed ignorance of the incident. It was even revealed that Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds, Higgins' boss at the time of the incident, had referred to Higgins as a "lying cow" in a move of utmost class.[25]

There were more accusations of sexual harassment and assault, including a disgusting incident in which Liberal Party staffer Nathan Winn masturbated on the desk of female MP Nola Marino.[26] The most notable of these accusations were levied against Liberal MP Christian Porter, in which it was alleged that he had assaulted a woman in 1988.[27]

In short, the women of Australia had every reason to be absolutely infuriated. While Scott Morrison, nor the Liberal Party are single-handedly responsible for the culture of misogyny within Parliament, this wave of scandals really highlighted how little was being done to address it. On the 4th of March, thousands of women conducted a march on Parliament house in order to demand better treatment for women, in particular calling for the government to respond to a 12-month-old report by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which examined the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

Not only did Scott Morrison not attend, he made the infamous "being met with bullets" comment. He was quickly (and rightfully) condemned for responding to a women's march against gendered violence by hinting that women should feel grateful that their march is not being met with violence.

But words are... well... just that, words. What actions did Scott take? He re-shuffled his cabinet, although he still chose to keep Porter and Reynolds, to which one would ask what the fucking point was. He added an extra female MP though, so there's that. He did announce a task force on women's equality and safety. Although, not content with letting the women have all of the fun, he himself decided to co-chair the committee (appointing Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Simon Birmingham to speak in the committee as well, presumably in a move out of the Abbott handbook).[28]

He also blew up at a journalist during a press conference on sexual misconduct.[29] Now, while it's not hard to believe that Sky News has a culture of misogyny in their workplace, it's probably not becoming of a Prime Minister to respond to the accusation that he has lost control of his party to rampant misogynists with "I know you are, but what am I?"

Clearly, Scott's still got work to do.

... manage a pandemic[edit]

Australians will be among the first in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine...
—Scott "it's not a race" Morrison[30]

Of course, who could talk about a world leader in 2020-2021 without bringing up their response to the COVID-19 pandemic? While many were struggling to stay afloat amidst harsh lockdown conditions and a pervasive general uncertainty, a lot of conservative politicians were very quickly learning that it was a bad idea to try and use the virus to score political points (just ask Trump, who arguably still could have been President if his attitude towards COVID-19 didn't kill off a significant portion of his voter-base).

Good job, Scotty[edit]

To Scotty's credit, his Government was quick to introduce travel restrictions as more infections started to appear rapidly around the world.[31] Ask anybody, and they will commend Morrison for at least doing that.

His Government also implemented financial aid programs such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker once businesses were forced to close, resulting in a large number of job losses.[32][33]

However, it was revealed that treasurer Frydenberg conveniently overestimated the cost of Jobkeeper by $60 billion.[34] That's awesome, right? That means we can keep going with Jobkeeper, right? Never mind, it was ended after a year (despite still being very much needed).

In fact, Australia's Government agency responsible for welfare known as Centrelink started ordering people to pay back their wage subsidies that they received through Jobkeeper, which is more than a little overzealous when you consider that the pandemic that is displacing people and making it difficult to find a stable income is still very much raging on. However, if you're a large business that received millions of dollars in Government subsidies despite recording a profit in 2020 (such as Harvey Norman), you didn't have to pay any money back, which is curious.[35]

Bad job, Scotty[edit]

However, that's more or less where his usefulness as a Prime Minister came to an end.

Strike One: Quarantine[edit]

Fun fact: quarantines are a federal responsibility, as outlined in the Australian Constitution.[36] What happened was that each of the individual heads of state agreed to implement their own quarantines respectively (as well as foot the bill). While they were using hotels to quarantine any infected Australian citizens returning from other countries, the federal government was supposed to be looking for a broader solution in the event of any major outbreaks... like, say, the construction of dedicated quarantine facilities? Perhaps ones where staff can be trained in containing a deadly contagious virus?

Never mind, cue Scotty doing nothing. Okay, that's not entirely true. His government oversaw the development of an app that, instead of using Google or Apple's own contact tracing network,[37] used the much bolder strategy of just flat out not working.[38] This app cost millions of dollars, by the way, and it would eventually get phased out by QR codes that were not only easier to use, but also more effective for contact tracers.

So the virus spread. The state of Victoria was hit the hardest, particularly with their second lockdown, which lasted 122 days (the longest continuous period for a lockdown in the entire world).[39] The virus devastated aged care homes, accounting for 95% of the approximately 820 deaths. These aged care homes, that were in equal parts underfunded and unprepared for any outbreaks, were federally run (and faced significant cuts with every budget that the LNP ever produced since taking power in 2013).[40]

Now, let's make a couple of things clear. Yes, Victoria should have followed New South Wales' example regarding hotel quarantine security by coordinating efforts between their private security companies as well as law enforcement and/or Australian military personnel.[41] Feel free to criticise the State Government of Victoria regarding that.

However, Daniel Andrews and co. absolutely did the right thing by locking Victoria down for four months. It was difficult, but they had effectively epidemiologically eradicated all traces of COVID-19 from the state.[42] Keep in mind, Daniel Andrews did this while Scotty, Health Minister Greg Hunt and Josh Frydenberg (who asked?) were taking pot shots at him from the sidelines for not ending the lockdowns earlier.[43] In fact, Scomo was going as far as to threaten to withhold Government funding over the matter (something he surprisingly didn't feel the need to do to New South Wales when they entered their indefinite lockdown, funnily enough).[44]

That set the precedent for how the Scomo Government's pandemic response would play out from then on. Morrison would heap praise on New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian[45] while doing everything possible to undermine the efforts of Daniel Andrews and Queensland premier Anastacia Palaszczuk.[46] Never mind the fact that cases from NSW were responsible for outbreaks in both Victoria and Queensland on multiple occasions (Ruby Princess anyone?), and lockdowns were effective methods of curbing those outbreaks. Scott saw an opportunity to shoot down two popular state leaders, and he was gonna take it.

Strike Two: Vaccines[edit]

But states can't keep going in and out of lockdown. There needs to be a long term solution in the form of vaccines. This is where Scomo really shit the bed. It's hard to pin-point where exactly everything went wrong, but a lot of it is detailed here.

The failures of the Morrison Government regarding the vaccine rollout can be summarised as the following:

  • Not ordering enough vaccines
  • Ordering them 4 months later than every other country
  • Ignoring experts who told him to establish mRNA manufacturing production in Australia so we could actually mass produce our own vaccines
  • Distributing the vaccines in a manner that's just weird (i.e. vaccinating aged care residents but not workers, giving vaccines to private school kids in NSW, etc.)

As a result, Australia is really far behind the rest of the world in terms of fully vaccinated people, and its vaccination targets are going to take months to meet. Lockdowns suck. But, unfortunately, they're the only real option when it comes to keeping this virus contained until Scotty and co get their shit together.

Strike Three: Delta[edit]

However, Scotty saw an opportunity to flex those marketing muscles he cultivated in his previous job. You see, it turns out that people don't like lockdowns very much. Sure, not everybody is ready join the masses of loudmouthed antivaxxer dipshits in the CBD humping each other for attention as they cry freedom. But people are just generally restless, and they like the idea of only having to lockdown if absolutely necessary.

Victoria had been through several lockdowns in order to stop the rampant spread of COVID-19. And, every time it happened, Liberal Party members would crawl out of the woodwork at both a state and federal level to try and snipe Daniel Andrews for following health advice and locking down the state; from Scott Morrison himself, to Milhouse Van Houten impersonator Michael O'Brien to Josh Frydenberg (seriously, who asked?).[47] It was a perfect strategy, because it allowed them to push the narrative that Dan was on a power trip while Gladys, who had largely avoided harsh lockdowns, was the calm and rational one.

Then came the delta variant, where things really went tits up.[48]

The delta strain of COVID-19 had reached NSW from India, and infections were starting to pop up in both NSW and Victoria. Victoria did what they always do and had a snap lockdown of the entire state, managing to lower new cases to 0 over the course of two weeks. However, the Liberals in NSW decided to only implement lockdowns in sections of the state, with differing levels of harshness that changed as more and more cases popped up, presumably because they didn't want to emulate Victoria[49]

The results of this hubris are as follows:[50]

  • The delta variant has spread from NSW to other states (and even New Zealand), plunging them all into indefinite lockdowns
  • New South Wales has the record for most daily infections in the country, with the number increasing to over 1000 a day
  • Gladys has all but given up on eradicating the virus, instead she's easing restrictions and relying on the vaccine rollout to curb the pandemic (that's right, ease the restrictions that actually worked in the past and instead rely on the notoriously slow and ineffective vaccine rollout)

And what about Scotty? Well, as you can probably guess, it's blown up in his smug face.[51] That's what you get for trying to politicise a pandemic for brownie points. Maybe next time, try just making good policies or something.

Instead, Scotty wants Australia open by November.

God help us all.

... want the disenfranchised to vote (allegedly)[edit]

The desperation is starting to set in. Having alienated most of the country through his pandemic response and lack of environmental action, Scott is taking drastic measures to ensure he retains the throne at the next election by introducing new laws that force anybody trying to vote to show ID as opposed to just their name and address.[52]

This is, of course, obstructive bullshit. Voter fraud is barely a problem worth addressing in Australian politics.[53] Even if it were, Morrison fails to see the irony of declaring that voter fraud is a problem in a country where his own party has had the longest uninterrupted power streak in federal politics (23 years, to be exact).

Just saying, at least Donald Trump had the sense to lose miserably and also amass a fanbase ready to stage a coup in his honour before he started complaining about voter fraud. Scotty, on the other hand, is hoping that he can win the upcoming election by shutting out the lower class that are going to have difficulty securing photo ID due to factors such as cost. However, someone should probably tell Scotty that disincentivising people from voting is an infinitely harder task in a country where voting is mandatory and the alternative is copping a massive fine.

References[edit]

  1. "Dear Your Majesty…"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Who is Scott Morrison? Evangelical churchgoer behind Australia's tough line on immigration, Anne Davies, The Guardian, 24 Aug 2018
  3. 3.0 3.1 See the Wikipedia article on Scott Morrison.
  4. How the internet saw the great Turnbull-Dutton Liberal spill (part 1), Helen Davidson, The Guardian 21 Aug 2018
  5. [1], Crikey, 31 Jul 2019
  6. [2], Right to Know, 10 Apr 2019
  7. [[3]], ABC, 14 Feb 2019
  8. [4], Change, 7 Jan 2020
  9. Less activism, more learning - Australia's PM rebukes schoolchildren protesting climate change, CNN, 26 Oct 2018
  10. Scott Morrison brings a chunk of coal into parliament - video, The Guardian, 9 Feb 2017
  11. PM Morrison and what he might mean for Indigenous Australia, SBS, 27 Aug 2018
  12. Morrison climbs down in funeral row, ABC News (Australia), 16 Feb 2011
  13. Morrison sees votes in anti-Muslim strategy, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Feb 2011
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 'Darkness' coming if Scott Morrison not re-elected, Pentecostal leader claims, Gareth Hutchens, The Guardian, 7 Sep 2018
  15. Scott Morrison voiced opposition to late-term abortion in 2014 asylum case, The Guardian, 20 Oct 2015
  16. [5]
  17. [6], The Guardian, 03 Jan 2020
  18. [7], abc.net.au, 18 Dec 2020
  19. [8], 03 Jan 2020
  20. [9], news.com, 05 Jan 2020
  21. [10]
  22. [11], 18 Feb 2021
  23. [12], SBS, 16 Feb 2021
  24. [13] The Guardian, 17 Feb 2021
  25. [14], 04 Mar 2021
  26. [15] 27 March 2021
  27. [16]
  28. [17], The Age, 12 April 2021
  29. [18], Bandt, 23 Mar 2021
  30. [19]
  31. [20], ABC, 19 Mar 2020
  32. [21], BBC, 22nd Mar 2020
  33. [22], ABC, 30 Mar 2020
  34. [23],ABC, 24 May 2020
  35. [24]
  36. [25], ABC, 19 Jan 2020
  37. [26], ABC,21 May 2021
  38. [27], 9news, 27 Oct 2020
  39. [28], BBC, 26 Oct 2020
  40. [29], ABC, 21 Dec 2020
  41. [30], 03 July 2020
  42. [31],The Guardian, 27 Nov 2020
  43. [32], 9news, 25 Oct 2020
  44. [33], The Guardian,13 July 2021
  45. [34], ABC, 08 September 2020
  46. [35], ABC, 18 March 2021
  47. [36],The Age,28 June 2021
  48. [37], BBC, 29 June 2021
  49. [38],ABC ,23 June 2020
  50. [39],news.com.au,25 July 2021
  51. [40],Women's Agenda
  52. [41], ABC news
  53. [42], SBS news