If there’s one thing Scott Morrison has proved, it is his capacity to trump an ill-advised publicity stunt with another. What’s next? Who knows!
If you’re a cynic—and believe it or not this is a moniker that I’ve been accused of from time to time—you approach every new announcement by the PM du jour with some measure of scorn.
If not scorn, then a question: what’s this all about? What’s it really about?
Future-former-Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lately been running a few things up the flagpole to see who’ll salute it. One is that in the advent of Kelly O’Dwyer’s decision to quit politics—citing the fact that she’d rather be Mum than a Minister of the Crown (scoff)—in short shrift, and perhaps to distract attention, he pulled a rabbit out of his hat in the form of Warren Mundine to stand for the marginal seat of Gilmore in this year’s election. It’s not as huge news as I was hoping, but only after I Googled him and learned he’s not, in fact, the League player-turned boxer (which would be something, really; I would love to see Anthony Mundine in Parliament: “The Member for Gilmore, ripped as he is, is asked to please put his shirt back on…”).
The thing that kinda ruffled the feathers on the Left is the fact that this Mundine is the former National President of the Australian Labor Party. The Gilmore branch wouldn’t be too thrilled either, given they had already given preselection to someone else. ScoMo probably won’t feature heavily in Grant Schultz’s Christmas letter this year. Talk about winning friends and influencing people. Subverting the democratic process, party rules, process…pulling a stunt which has all the finesse and likely impact of the brass being polished on the Titanic.
Anyhow, so there’s that.
Another thing that got coverage this week is news that they’re spending millions to have the Endeavour replica sail around Australia to celebrate Captain Cook, a man who ScoMo says has gotten a bad rap (can’t imagine why)—one must surely ask: yeah, but why are you really doing this?
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Here me out, because I’m going to get a little bit conspiracy theory-y. The Human Potato Peter Dutton spent much of the Summer cozying up to the Murdoch press in an odd attempt to show the nation that he has blood in his starchy veins and is, in fact, a family man. A good choice for the next future-former-Prime Minister. Perhaps sensing imminent spillage of his blood, ScoMo sees a need to get some of that “colonialism is cool” mojo and has decided to throw seven million of my taxpayer dollars on a boat sailing around the nation in the name of Captain Cook…not that Captain Cook ever circumnavigated the continent…or actually thought very much of it; he lands in Botany Bay, doesn’t see the value of the area (“The Shire”, I’m told it’s known as) and then sails off, only soon thereafter to be killed by Hawaiians.
So, this is a gimmick. A stunt. The community initiative equivalent of the Southern Cross tattoo. “I’m a proud Aussie,” says Scott, “and to prove it, I’m going to devote what remains of my government to celebrating what turns out was little more than an advance party. We’re ‘strayan as, mate, and Cook was ‘strayan-as, too.” (I know…I know. Let us not have a black armband view of history.)
So this leads me to think he’s just playing politics because he really is fresh out of ideas. Kelly O’Dwyer will be one of many who’d rather leave on their own terms, so ScoMo is left wondering what else he can do. Annex New Zealand? Good call. There’s room for it in the Constitution, and say what you will about how they treat vowel sounds, their craft beer selection is beyond compare. What else would Scott think is popular and might save his job? More holidays? Free beer and chicken? Less PC thought, more dirty jokes? Legalising it? How’s about shoehorning in Peta Credlin as the Liberal candidate for Warringah? That’d be awesome. One, because she doesn’t cast a shadow and lives on a diet of bitterness and fresh puppy blood; and two, Tony Abbott wouldn’t object, because he would in all seriousness be too scared to
So, yes, between Warren Mundine and this Fairstar the Funship thing, he really is clutching at straws. It’ll be old news next week, perhaps when Christopher Pyne quits the front bench to pursue a career in jazz ballet. Or Julie Bishop finds the enchanted goblet, drinks from it and is no longer made of stone. Or, God forbid, Scott Morrison thinks that since he actually has but a short time left in the top job, he might do something constructive, purposeful and of some marginal, minimal use for perhaps someone in the nation.
We can dream.