MUNGO MACCALLUM.- The trolls at The Australian and SmoKo

Dec 23, 2019

They just can’t help themselves. Even in this season of peace and goodwill the belligerent lunar right remains determined to charge into the culture wars, as they like to call their grubby vendettas against any who dare challenge their self-interested agenda.

For weeks they have been chiding anyone who mentioned the bushfires and climate change in the same breath. It was inappropriate and unfeeling, we were told; there may or may not be a time and a place to discuss such matters, but for the moment what was needed was thoughts and prayers for the victims and the heroic firefighters putting their lives on the line.

Nothing must stand in the way of their selfless efforts. Well, as long as they shut up and went on firefighting. It may be permissible for them to demand more resources, but certainly not to tell the truth about the underlying causes of the disasters and what needed to be done about them. So when an ex-fire chief, the well-credentialed and widely respected Greg Mullins, pointed out that climate change was the driving force and accused our prime minister of being a moral vacuum on the issue, he had to be terminated with extreme prejudice.

The trolls of The Australian were sent on the job, and discovered that, shock horror, Mullins was involved in the Climate Council, the crowd-funded organisation headed by Tim Flannery. And since Flannery is a sworn enemy of the Murdoch jihad, this made Mullins views entirely worthless. End of story.

But perhaps not quite; there were some rumblings about the fact that Morrison and his family had taken off for an overseas holiday while the bushfires were at their height. The peerless prime minister must, of course, be defended at all costs: he needed a break, he deserved a break, and in any case there was nothing he could do at the fire front.

This last at least was true, but hardly consistent with the baying at The Australian when other leaders – Labor leaders – had offered the same rationale. In 1974 Gough Whitlam was in Greece at the time of the Darwin cyclone, an unforgivable omission – especially as he was appreciating Classical Greek culture rather than sunning himself at the swimming pool as real Australians do.

And then, to compound the sin, he was still away when a ferry ran into the Tasman bridge in Hobart, admittedly Whitlam’s exasperated response – that the master must have been drunk – did not help his case, but the piling on of hate and loathing from the national daily was still awe-inspiring.

SmoKo’s hedonism in his secret destination in Hawaii was not only forgiven but applauded. Morrison himself followed his usual intransigent formula — never apologise, although he did say he regretted any offence.

And he gave a sort of explanation; yes, he was on holiday during the emergency, but he had to take his vacation in December because he would be busy in January and in any case he would be coming home really soon – presumably to do nothing useful, as he had promised. There are those who would prefer he got wiped out in the Hawaii pipeline and never came back, but they don’t count either.

If not crushed yet, they will be. How good is Christmas?

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