MUNGO MACCALLUM. Morrison falls into a dunny and smells like a rose.

How lucky is ScoMo? Once again our miraculous marketer has fallen into the dunny and emerged, if not covered in diamonds, at least with  a passable array of bling.

Last week was not looking promising. The fallout from Tuvalu,, with our prime minister’s rejection of the pleas of Pacific leaders to do something about climate change, was characterised as arrogant and condescending – a conclusion reinforced when  Morrison’s deputy Michael McCormack suggested that the recalcitrants could always come and pick a bit of fruit.

The climate change denial flowed through to the news that Australia’s emissions were still rising (which for the Energy Minister Angus Taylor  was a source of exultation) and that the Great Barrier Reef was in even worse shape than we had feared.

The cruel and unnecessary deportation of a Tamil family outraged even the permanently belligerent Alan Jones, and then, as Morrison prepared to go to Timor l’Este for what was supposed to be a celebration, the vindictive persecution of Bernard Colleary and Witness K over the bugging of the Timor offices on behalf of Australian commercial interests produced a backlash in both  countries.

But then right on cue, the smoking volcano of the NSW Labor Party erupted with a Krakatoa-like detonation, and Morrison was able to slide back into his silent communion with his quiet Australians.

It was a story that had everything: shopping bags full of unmarked currency, conspiracies alleged from both former and current top political operatives,  and their lawyers, and sinister Chinese billionaires as the master manipulators or illegal donations.

It has already cost the state secretary Kaila Murnain her job after a panicked and futile attempt at cover up and there are now demands for a complete clean up of the branch, including the removal of party headquarters from its natural habitat, Sydney’s Chinatown. Send in the administrators, came the call. Well, perhaps it’s worth a try, but it’s been tried before, and it didn’t work last time.

In 1970, Gough Whitlam and his allies determined to break the autocrats of the right in New South  Wales as a quid pro quo to get rid of the real enemy – the antediluvian Victorian left who had kept federal Labor in opposition for most of the last 20 years. After much negotiation and angst the reforms went through – the remorseless power of the machine was halted, and a new sharing arrangement introduced.

The Victorian branch was tossed out, allowing Whitlam win the next election – the next two, in fact.  and New South Wales was forced into a compromise that gave the  left a voice. But it didn’t last: the four horsemen of the right, Paul Keating, Laurie Brereton, Bob Carr and Graham Richardson swiftly restored the status quo and the Sussex Street mafia was back in charge.

It gave us, among others, Eddie Obeid, a lineal descendant of the nineteenth century despot John Macarthur, the architect of the rum rebellion. And now it has hit ScoMo on the arse with a rainbow.  With opponents like that, who needs friends?


Mungo MacCallum is a veteran political journalist and commentator. His books include Run Johnny Run, Poll Dancing, and Punch and Judy.

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4 Responses to MUNGO MACCALLUM. Morrison falls into a dunny and smells like a rose.

  1. Avatar Charles Lowe says:

    My considered opinion is that the only way the Labor Right will be removed from power both in NSW and Federally is for ordinary NSW Labor Party members to move collectively for a policy of adopting the electoral funding laws passed by the Andrews Government in Victoria in 2017.

    The reason: the big Right Wing Unions (especially the SDA and AWU) are able to keep bribing the NSW Branch in particular to maintain their illegitimate power, despite the Leftist orientation of some 80% of their human membership. Eradicate their ability to maintain their institutional power by the hugeness of their electoral donations and you get a thorough democratic cleansing of the whole Party.

    I am very disappointed that Mungo has not yet described this deep obstacle. I value his accuracy and expressivity ( try this: “the smoking volcano of the NSW Labor Party erupted with a Krakatoa-like detonation, and Morrison was able to slide back into his silent communion with his quiet Australians.”)

    That’s the sort of communicative talent that such a difficult reform needs to have applied to it.

    Come on Mungo – ‘solidarity’ is so last century; have (another?) look at the U. S.’s Progressive Democrats if you doubt me.

  2. Avatar Richard Ure says:

    We might hope that the embarrassment for Labor will lead to reform in its ranks and that, with the urging and oversight of the Centre for Public Integrity the resistance to the establishment of an effective federal ICAC will vanish.

    It may not prove to be a good week for the PM after all. Can his luck last forever when the other issues remain and may well deteriorate?

  3. Avatar Lorraine Osborn says:

    An excellent report of the miracle of Morrison, thanks Mungo. The second coming is nigh. Not sure how wonderful it’s going to be though.

  4. Avatar Barry Reynolds says:

    I firmly believe Labor is now a lost cause. The party originally rose from the union movement. Maybe it’s time the union’s once again strive to create a political party that will actually do something for workers. The current Labor party want to distance themselves from unions. Unions should take the chance to cut the umbilical cord and let Labor go its own way.

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