Scott Morrison’s Viagra – an alternative view

At the beginning of the National Day holiday in China, someone I had collaborated with briefly sent me this article entitled Scott Morrison’s Viagra. He was the author of the paper, and it was not long after the announcement of the AUKUS “alliance.”

The Chinese view of Scott Morrison

In short, the author believes that Scott Morrison signing Australia up for Five Eyes, the Quad, and now AUKUS means that he is seeking self-confidence by allying with stronger nations, improving Australia’s security.

He also claims that Australia is kowtowing to America to antagonise China. They refer back to the Century of Humiliation, which has become a significant part of the trends in China towards nationalist tendencies. He looks at areas where Australian leaders have told China to correct its human rights record. as one example.

My view of the article

It is my view that the author has not really dug deep into Scott Morrison’s persona. ScoMo does not really think about China, as his current focus is on domestic politics, where he is struggling right now.

Factual Errors

I do have to point out some factual errors in the opinion piece, though.

Australia joined Five Eyes in 1956, albeit under a different name at the time. Secondly, Australia originally joined the QUAD in 2007 when it was created, withdrew in 2008 and rejoined in 2017. AUKUS is the only new alliance and the only alliance formed with Scott Morrison as the leader of Australia.

I should also point out that the author missed out on the Five Power Defence Arrangements, ANZUS, AUSCANNZUKUS, and ABCANZ Armies. I believe that the author did not do the necessary research into Australia’s alliances with its traditional and regional allies, such as ASEAN Plus Six.

What they accidentally stumbled on

I think the author did stumble on that the current Prime Minister of Australia is desperate to do anything to look good in front of the voting public.

The whole “daggy dad” persona he has been portraying for quite some time does not appear to be working now. He and his government are trying to fight big electoral fires on multiple fronts, including:

  • Aged care reform;
  • Climate change and internal party politics;
  • Corruption and an Integrity Commission (look out for an article about that in the months ahead);
  • COVID-19;
  • Gender discrimination;
  • Health funding;
  • Misbehaving politicians within his own parties; and
  • Welfare reform.

The lack of empathy for people is a significant issue for the government. While that might not be something that people would consider a voting issue, it is something that people can recognise. Previous Prime Ministers can appear to be empathetic. All of the above issues

The line “I don’t hold a hose” will resonate with voters, particularly when people are reminded that former prime minister Tony Abbott was holding a hose during the 2019-20 bushfire season as a volunteer bush firefighter. People might not have always liked him, but he was known for getting out there and doing stuff.

The whole “I don’t…” could be brilliant marketing for a savvy political operator and would deflate Scott Morrison faster than a pin in a balloon.

Right now, he is desperate for approval. The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out was abysmal, and he is being blamed for it. Arguing that the states & territories are responsible for quarantine goes against the Constitution, even if an agreement was formed otherwise.

When it comes to COVID-19 politics, he also faces a complex challenge from the states and territories in opening interstate and international borders. Both Queensland and Western Australia have been operating strict boundaries at both an interstate and international level. They have been very successful at a political level, with Annastacia Palaszczuk winning the 2020 Queensland state election. In Western Australia, Mark McGowan had a nearly 15% swing towards his government and nearly wiped out the opposition. There is talk that the usual separation of state politics could meld into federal issues – this could definitely be the case in Western Australia, where Clive Palmer and the United Australia Party is a highly toxic brand. In previous years, West Australians have shown their disdain for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.

Political Reality

Losing seats in Western Australia is not an option for Scott Morrison. They are already anticipating losing seats in New South Wales and possibly Victoria to independents. The only option is to pick up seats in Queensland, but they are running out of seats there to pick up (only 6 left). Population growth will see Victoria pick up more seats from other states, most likely from New South Wales and Queensland, possibly South Australia.

Laura Tingle pointed out in an article recently…

A journalist noted at the PM’s press conference this week that there were only a few remaining sitting weeks of Parliament left this year, but a very long to-do list.

“You’ve got the National Integrity Commission, you’ve got religious discrimination laws,” the journalist noted. “Barnaby Joyce added to the to-do list this morning by calling for a crackdown on misinformation on social media. Which of these will you guarantee that the government will deliver before the next election?”

The short version of a very long answer was: None of the above.

Laura Tingle, Australia’s very different COVID vaccination numbers are only elevating the political pandemic plays, ABC, 9th October 2021 – https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-09/australia-covid-vaccination-lockdown-opening-federal-politics/100525330

Scott Morrison doesn’t know what he wants to achieve in the last few weeks of Parliament. There is no doubt that they will not do anything to support women, prepare for COP26, develop a credible anti-corruption commission, or do anything that relates to spending money for things that would result in something good for people.

More recently, Paul Bongiorno started a highly insightful article with the following three paragraphs:

Scott Morrison is giving every impression he is paralysed by the fear his government is disintegrating.

With three weeks to go to the Glasgow climate summit attended by more than 100 world leaders, he cannot make a decision on whether to attend or not because he is not sure if his one-seat majority government will still exist.

Two National Party cabinet ministers are running open defiance of the Prime Minister’s stated preferred position to start doing something real to achieve a net-zero emission target by 2050.

The announcement on Friday that ScoMo will be going to Glasgow for COP26 came after Dan Ilic paid for billboards in Times Square mocking the government’s stance on climate change. It is a perfect example of Scott Morrison reacting to negative publicity to do something… or at least appearing to do something. The shift in the Murdoch tabloids on climate change last week came as a surprise to many, but could represent a significant change for politics in Australia, particularly among conservative voters.

However, with weeks to go until COP26, will Scott Morrison get the lift he needs to impress his international colleagues? I think they will leave disappointed with Australia… yet again.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.