MUNGO MACCALLUM.-There is no reason to believe that Scott Morrison is becoming a serious Prime Minister

He is only confident when attacking his opponent.

Our Pentecostalist Prime Minister may have been a little disappointed by Christmas.

No wise men showed up bearing gifts – ScoMo probably didn’t need a lot of frankincense and myrrh, but a bit more unearned gold would always be handy, although declaring it as a foreign donation might be a bit awkward.

And hordes of caring worshipful shepherds did not flock to his side – as usual, he had to make do with his usual army of mediocre minders and slippery spin doctors.

The ever-reliable choir of angels from the Murdoch press sang his praises as they always do, but even they could not muster much enthusiasm for tidings of great joy hallelujahs and hosannas were a bit sparse over the festive season..

They will not desert him, of course – he is their man, at least until a more effective candidate comes along, preferably one even further off on the lunar right. But after a year of gaffes and dithering, even they are being forced to acknowledge that Scott Morrison is not the messiah.

And on the other side of the ideological divide, it has become clear that he is not just a very naughty boy, either – he has now been revealed as a dangerous incompetent, an opportunist populist combining policy vacuity with a reckless opportunism and a political tin ear.

He has already done real damage to the body politic in sins of both commission and omission, and there is plenty more to come, because Morrison is utterly unrepentant – he thinks he can talk his way out of anything, so there is no reason to believe that he has any interest in becoming a serious prime minister.

No leader with an ounce of caution or integrity would have surreptitiously left the country in a time of national crisis, And then to express regret not for his uncaring arrogance, but because he knew Australians were anxious that he should return, was so vain and delusional to defy reality.

Australians were and are not anxious, pining for his presence; they were and are angry about his uncaring negligence. And the excuse that he could not hold a hose did not help. A number of them have had to learn the hard way and heck, how hard is it anyway? Even Tony Abbott can do it. Perhaps it is time to check whether Morrison can tie his own shoelaces without help.

The lack of empathy is compounded by the silliness – and nothing has really changed since one of Morrison’s first captain’s calls, his counter-productive demand to move the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He was talked out of that one, and presumably was similarly persuaded to limit the fall out from his latest gaffe by returning to Australia as soon as he could find a suitable flight – it was not clear whether he was waiting for an upgrade to first class for himself and his family.

And his return, rather than being celebrated near and far as he apparently expected, was greeted with resentful indifference, a mood which is starting to settle in over an electorate which was hoping for rather more than the inertia which has gripped the government since the last election.

It has now become obvious that Scott Morrison is simply not up to the job – that the miracle had failed. This is not really surprising; he wasn’t up to his last job either, having being fired as head of New South Wales Tourism. But there was hope, although not an expectation, that new leadership might cut through the malaise which bedevilled five years of the dysfunctional coalition.

Instead, Morrison has only coasted on the result of his unforeseen and unlikely victory. He had not prepared an agenda for it, and it has shown – indeed, it now seems that he is not really interested in agenda, even if he is capable of devising one.

He has been labelled a transactional prime minister, as opposed to a conviction prime minister, but even that is selling him too high; Scott Morrison is the archetypal reactive Prime Minister, bereft of vision, immersed in adhockery and negativity.

Even in the bushfire crisis it showed; for days, even weeks, Morrison insisted that everything that needed to be done was being done, both the professionals and the volunteers were getting all the help that they required. But in the wake of his aborted vacation, he belatedly responded to Anthony Albanese’s plea to at least offer more paid leave for his commonwealth public servants out in the field. Which, of course, left the problem of the weary volunteers who work in the state and private sectors;

Morrison urged employers to do the same for them, but it might have been smarter to have set up a deal in advance. But that would have taken planning, putting forward a sensible and considered program, something of which is ScoMo is manifestly incapable.

Like Tony Abbott, he has no real concept of public administration – he is only confident when he is attacking his opponents. And so far it has more or less worked. He has spent the best (or worst) part of a year living on the kudos of his election win, and his quiet Australians remain quiescent, either content with his schedule of masterful inaction, or resigned to the fact that this is just the way it is, there is nothing they can do about it and it’s not worth trying to change it.

He is still obviously acceptable to the electorate, but the there are signs that early gloss is wearing thin, and that Albanese, though a long way from being embraced, is showing the beginnings of being seen as a viable alternative..

Christmas provided a little welcome rain – probably Morrison, Barnaby Joyce and their fellow evangelists even believe that their thoughts and prayers were effective, But there is a long way to go . The current fire season will come to an end and at least some of the angst will be abated, but there are two more fire seasons to be negotiated before we are due before the next election.

And by then, pleading to the heavens, and slagging off at Greta Thunberg is unlikely to be enough.


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21 Responses to MUNGO MACCALLUM.-There is no reason to believe that Scott Morrison is becoming a serious Prime Minister

  1. Charles Lowe says:

    I diverge.

    Morrison has absolutely stuck to what he thinks his guns are.


    Anyone wish to disagree?

  2. The nihilism of the MSM and the great bulk of the electorate (85% totally disconnected according to the Guardian) combines to make all of this intelligentsia hand wringing redundant. Newscorp, which Rudd calls a third political party in the coalition, sank Shorten long before the “election” – it sold the “Kill Bill” agenda before and during the campaign. As far as the electorate is concerned, some surveys say that 60% don’t even know who is PM, the following quotation is apt and its subject includes, I think, a goodly number of those who comment on even SMH reports which are written at Reading Age 12.4 making them a far more “thoughtful” group,
    “An intelligent man is one who is capable of taking in knowledge until the natural limits of the species are reached. A stupid man is one whose progress is arrested at some specific time and place before then. There thus appears in psychology – and the next instant in politics – the concept of the unteachable. Some men can learn almost indefinitely; their capacity goes on increasing until their bodies begin to wear out. Others stop in childhood, even in infancy. They reach, say , the mental age of ten or twelve, and then they develop no more. Physically, they become men, and sprout beards, political delusions, and the desire to propagate their kind. But mentally they remain on the level of schoolboys.”
    ― H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy

  3. Felix MacNeill says:

    “pleading to the heavens, and slagging off at Greta Thunberg” pretty much describes the entirety of the Murdoch/IPA/COALition repertoire.

    What else was anyone actually expecting?

  4. Fred McGrady says:

    Thanks Mungo,
    You are the voice of the thinking Australians

  5. John jacques ellis says:

    Feckless neophyte

  6. Rob Stewart says:

    Amen, Mungo. Morrison is the perfect example of don’t just stand there, do nothing! Unless it’s kicking the weak and vulnerable around. He’s good at tough love for others, no Hawaii holiday for the undeserving. He seems to be pretty good at self love too.

    Good, mature, sensible and balanced, well considered decisions, require doing nothing, in a very statesmanly, cool and measured prime ministerial way. Going totally berserk and screaming and squealing like a banshee is fine, but only by way of response if the other bloke has the temerity to say something.

    I think you’re too optimistic about Albo though. He’s actually too scared to say anything.

    Two more fire seasons shouldn’t be a problem though. By the time this fire season is done there won’t be a stick left to burn anywhere. The Government will be able to claim credit for the next two years, if there are no major fire emergencies. And the fuel load won’t replenish until after the next election. Bonus!

    Looking forward to SmoKo ceremonially ushering in the “lump of coal” at the opening of the 2020 parliamentary year.

    Utterly disgraceful, absolutely useless, totally unforgivable shambles.

  7. Malcolm Crout says:

    Blame Shorten’s overcooked macroeconomic plan. The tragedy of course, is that such a dazzling reshaping of negative gearing rules and franking credits wasn’t even needed. It was the typical drover’s dog election and they bungled it absolutely. So we ended up with this numbskull and his useless hangers on ……… and then I look over at Albanese and think whaaaaat! Let’s face it. The talent pool in both parties is at the level of a kangaroo’s meat and veg, so why don’t we save the agony and just toss a coin?
    Meanwhile the climate across the ditch is looking quite rosy by comparison.

    • Bruce Tindale says:

      Shorten’s economic plan was actually brilliant and more in line with fairness than being overcooked. It wasn’t sold well to dumbed down portion of the electorate and the real crooks were Australians double dipping on franking credits. Shorten is not the most desirable leader but the policies were the best

  8. James O'Neill says:

    Part of the awful truth is that if SM falls under a bus tomorrow what is there to replace him? The bald one from Brisbane.? Would that be an improvement? No, I don’t think so either.
    Have to face reality. A majority of Australians voted for him, so we are stuck with him for at least two more years.

    • Wayne Fyffe says:

      Can’t quite agree with you on that one James. My No.1 “Canberra Bubble” prediction for 2020 is that the political hard heads and numbers men of the Liberal Party will finally, in their despair and desperation, realise that SK (I prefer SmoKo) is such an unsalvageable and feckless Hawaiian holiday “albatross”, that they will throw him under a bus (apologies mixed metaphors) .

      ABSK: Anyone but SmoKo. And yes, I know, we should be careful what we wish for.

  9. Sandra Hey says:

    Scott Morrison has used his unexpected election win to appoint his like minded Pentecostal mate Stuart Robert on to his front bench, between the two of them, they have total control over the Public Service, Government Services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme with the intention of dismantling and trashing in favour of outsourcing to the private sector of which some are American Multinationals and Liberal Party donors. Once Morrison has got his Religious Discrimination Bill and his Union Busting Bills past by the Senate and into statue of Law, Morrison will have achieved his object and like President George Bush Jnr, will have has served their Masters “The Lobbyists” and the Military Power Brokers.

  10. Lorraine Osborn says:

    Just now, ScottyfromMarketing appeared on ABC TV assuring us all resources were being used including the ADF and all was going to plan. Then we saw footage and heard interviews from those on the ground of the hell on earth that is the south coast of NSW and Gippsland in Victoria. Telling lies to Australian’s is not leadership. This is treating the country with a contempt I have never seen in my life from any Prime Minister, including Bob Menzies whose arrogance and self belief was legendary. Not calling this a national crisis, and taking action and mobilising all that’s necessary to deal with it is treason.

  11. Michael Jess says:

    And the truth shall set you free. Absolutely brilliant Mr Macullum.

  12. Jocelyn Pixley says:

    A piece in SMH opinion, 31 Dec, argues Labor must ally with the Independents. I know little about the crossbench’s positions, although if Tony Windsor were there, things could be different. I’m seeing little activity from Independents although, if enough crossed the floor, Morrison would go. Is this likely? Would they, like Windsor and Rob Oakshot [sp?], put sensible demands to Labor? Would Albanese even listen?
    Thinking of lost opportunities for her Medevac legislation, Phelps as MP could have referred Dutton to the High Court, but didn’t. It’s too late now he’ll have “tidied” his constitutional no-no. Any ideas and evidence?

  13. Albert Haran says:

    Please Mungo stop with the endearments (I wont even print it) and call him
    scottno * (*moral compass,* idea, *policies, *mates add your own) or
    scottno from marketing (as all he does is sell lies, deceit and obfuscation)

    He sold “have a go “–) which on analysis is the cruelest and inhumane slogan with absolutely no empathy, as in– if you are down and out and cannot have a go we are leaving you behind. (you didn’t” have a go” and it is all your fault)

    Sad part is it was accepted by the electorate, and is often used in a jocular manner.
    How good was that for marketing.

    How far has humanity come? Away to go yet me thinks.
    Happy New Year to ALL.

    • SteveFromMelbourne says:

      Yep and 2000+ years of church hasnt helped much with social progress as scumo well demonstrates.

  14. Allan Kessing says:

    Has it really only been “… five years of the dysfunctional coalition.”?
    And barely 6 months since the (resel)election of this current shower?
    It seems so much longer.
    To think that we have at least 2 more years of this.
    As with the USA, there is no comfort to be had in hoping for the leaders’ removal when one sees the alternatives – exQld walloper Dutton here or Gilead Pence there.

  15. Keren Lavelle says:

    SM was managing director of Tourism Australia from 2004 to 2006

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