With Scott Morrison promising to get his government “out of our lives” if re-elected, he should be careful what he wishes for.
Although no election date has been announced, our very own energiser bunny of a PM has hit the ground running after a less than inspiring few days earning Australia the opprobrium of the world in Rome and Glasgow.
He appears to be in full campaign mode. We have seen a blizzard of high vis, hard hats, beer and blokey back-slapping, food-sampling, hearty handshakes (whether wanted or not), car driving and factory visiting.
What was it that Albo once quipped? All photo op, no follow-up?
Is Scott Morrison right that Labor’s 2019 electric car policy included raising petrol prices to force people to switch to EVs?
❌ That’s false. Labor had no such policy, and any link between its proposals and higher fuel prices was loose at best https://t.co/xIf4GKSjCB
— AAP FactCheck (@AapFactcheck) November 16, 2021
Not to be outdone by Labor, Morrison appears to be workshopping a few slogans of his own as he blitzes an unsuspecting public with his preferred daggy-dad persona. We’ve had ‘technology not taxes’, ‘can do capitalism’, ‘the Australian Way’ and ‘get the government out of people’s lives’ although that last one does not seem to have made it into Morrison’s preferred three-word format as yet.
To be fair ‘do-nothing government’ while accurate, does not quite have the ring to it that I think Morrison is looking for. No doubt there is some under-paid Comms graduate locked in a room somewhere desperately spit-balling alternatives as I write. They have my sympathy, I’ve been there, but fortunately, never for Morrison.
Nevertheless, I think Morrison is quite taken with the Reaganesque flavour of spruiking his preference for getting the government to take a back seat. No doubt he is fervently hoping it can spin ‘I don’t hold a hose, mate’ into ‘It’s entirely up to you if you want to hold a hose or not, no pressure’, or his ‘it’s not a race’ response when asked why it was taking so long to access vaccines for Australia into ‘it’s a race if you want it to be’. Which, given the rapid uptake of vaccines in NSW and Victoria as soon as they were available, we obviously did.
However, let’s put such petty nit-picks aside. There is something to be said for governments who understand where they stop, and other people begin. For example, the vexed issue of a woman’s right to choose whether she carries an unexpected pregnancy – or even a pregnancy gone wrong – to term or not. I am delighted – if a little surprised – to discover that our Pentecostal PM is clearly an enthusiastic supporter of legal, safe, accessible abortion on demand.
I am also looking forward to him taking NSW Premier Dom Perrottet aside and dropping a few words in his shell-like ears about the need for governments to step back and allow terminally ill patients to decide whether they wish to access Voluntary Assisted Dying or not. And, clearly, I must have been misinformed about Morrison’s opposition to same-sex marriage, given his principled stand on the limits of government telling citizens what they can and can’t do, particularly about things as personal and intimate as who they want to spend the rest of their life with.
Obviously, if he continues further along the IPA-approved small government election path, he will be stealing a march on big brother Labor by pre-empting their stated policy to scrap the Cashless Debit or Indue Card. This card restricts 80% of the recipient’s spending to only government-approved retailers and government-approved purchases.
For small-government Scomo, this unprecedented intrusion into many lives – there’s also been talk of old age pensioners being placed on the program – would obviously be an anathema. I presume he’ll also be decriminalising personal drug use for good measure.
Of course, there may be a darker side to Scomo’s ‘let freedom reign’ epiphany. It allows him to let himself off the hook pretty much completely (and what PM hasn’t dreamt of that scenario) for action on climate change, keeping Australian’s safe from whatever catastrophe hits us next, re-building our diplomatic relationships with China, France and the Pacific Islands, or dealing with the sanctions Europe and even the US may decide to place on our exports if we continue to wantonly open new coal mines and ignore our international obligations.
I also have to sound a small note of warning for our ‘nothing-to-do-with-me-mate’ Prime Minister. He may run the risk of being too successful. As tweeter @demirophil put it most succinctly – ‘Lots of people want this government out of their lives for good.’
Careful what you wish for, Scomo.