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

Sep 2, 2019

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?

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