Showing posts with label Scott Morrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scott Morrison. Show all posts

Monday, 25 May 2020

No two ways about it - 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison has political egg on his face

In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

Their weapon of choice was China's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had escaped from a research facility in or near Wuhan.

It didn't go unnoticed that this foray into conspiracy theories marched side by side with media statements and outlandish ant-China comments being tweeted by a hypocritical* US President Donald J. Trump, whom Morrision professes to admire and with whom he consults during this pandemic.

Morrison's actions in particular raise the suspicion that he wanted to be seen as a 'world leader' that month because emerging domestic economic news was not encouraging and he saw the need for a political diversion.

Why else would he eschew normal diplomatic channels? Channels which would have allowed him to privately discuss his concerns directly with the Chinese Government.

Well, he certainly got that diversion.

It came in the form of an effective loss of Australia's barley export market in China due to the imposition of 80.5 per cent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties and limitations on beef exports impacting 35 per cent of the beef trade with China.

But hey! The World Health Assembly issued a resolution eventually signed by 136 co-sponsors out of a total 194 WHO member countries.

Unike the Morrison-Dutton-Payne rhetoric, this measured document carefully refrains from targeting China and focusses on World Health Organisation (WHO) responses to the pandemic and the effectiveness of International Health Regulations

Resolution co-sponsors included both Australia and China. However, after all Trump's yelling and finger pointing, the resolution did not include the United States as a co-sponsor.

This left Scott Morrison with egg on his face. 

Particularly as three days ahead of the 73rd World Health Assembly Conference and four days before the announcement of that high barley tariff, the Australian public learned that China had increased its imports of barley from the United States and sourced additional beef from Russia

It doesn't matter how much Trump blusters about China's initial response to COVID-19 now - it's all for show, always was. The grain deal is done and the U.S. is moving in on our major market.

It would appear that out of the three principal buffoons leading Western democracies - Donald John Trump, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Scott John Morrison - it is Morrison who is the most foolish when it comes to international relations and the most easily tricked by other buffoons.


* On or about 11 January 2020 China announced the first confirmed death from the novel coronna virus. By 24 January Donald Trump on behalf of the American people was publicly congratulating the Chinese Government on its public health response:

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Tweet of the Week

Quotes of the Week

"Most politicians lie whenever they are uncomfortable or caught in a tight spot. Few lie with the ease and casualness of Morrison." [Journalist Dennis Atkins writing in The New Daily, 16 May 2020]

"USA started out by electing a reality tv show host to run it and now we are all on Survivor." [G. Dixon, Twitter, 19 May 2020] 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Translating Australia's hard right prime minister in 2020

Scott Morrison makes sure his press conferences are transcribed for posterity at the Prime Minister Of Australia’s Media Centre in a manner which meets with his approval.

There is often some hours lag before a version of any particular press conference is posted online. Though sometimes, as occurred on 5 May, Morrison is not happy with how a press conference panned out and subsitutes a media statement instead.

Probably hoping that nobody will remember to report this:

The Prime Minister concedes #COVID19 infection rates will rise in Australia as restrictions ease to get the economy moving. “Of course, you will see numbers increase,” he says. “That is to be expected.” ⁦[National Affair Editor Hugh Rimington, @10NewsFirst, 5 May 2010]

Due to the time lag at Morrison's media centre, mainstream media usually fills the gap on their own online platforms.

These are the opening paragraphs of a news report on the press conference of Tuesday 5 May 2020.

SBS News, 5 May 2020:

Addressing the media on Tuesday after a historic national cabinet meeting that featured a brief appearance by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Mr Morrison reiterated that one million Australians had lost their job in a single month as a result of the pandemic.

"We now need to get one million Australians back to work, that is the curve we need to address," Mr Morrison said.

"As long as these restrictions are in place, they are costing our economy some $4 billion each week ... it certainly puts enormous pressure, as it should, on the timetable as we seek to move Australia back to that safe economy."…..

For some of the growing number of people who are irritated or angered by the Liar From The Shire’s carriage, demeanor, opinions, obfuscations, downright untruths or chronic refusal to answer journalist’s questions, this barebones news reporting sometimes suffices.

For others, real time social media descriptions of Morrison’s press conferences are preferred.

Here is one example…...

Ingrid M @iMusing, 5 May 2020, Thread commencing at approx. 2:29pm:

prime minister is up. He is focusing on the topic of “getting Australia back to work” today. Heavy breathing. Opening spiel is as usual self-congratulations.

a million out of work, says Morrison. He tips a nod to the Treasurer. Lies that “children are unable to go back to school”. He means many children are not *in classrooms*. The $4 billion a week cost of restrictions figure is going to do a lot heavy lifting here.

getting a million Australians back to work, more than a million Australians have had their claims for jobseeker processed. So given eligibility requirements and the number of pre-roni unemployed people, there are well over one million unemployed now.

Morrison has a slide show. Babbles out a list of sectors and jobs figures. Arts and recreation services, hospitality and food services, the agricultural sector, restaurants and cafes are closed. Note the absence of humans from this rhetoric.

oops, spoke too soon. The grower and the chef got a mention. Morrison says the job losses will be greater in Victoria because the restrictions are stronger so now we can begin to see where that $4 billion a week is. How unpolitical of him.

confidence. I love it when some economist explains the confidence variable to politicians. They never get it, as a predictive nor explanatory factor. Astrology for white dudes.

Christian Porter is up, as IT minister today. Workplace “safety” legislation is his brief, an area the Liberal Party is renowned for deliberately dismantling - see the double dissolution election Turnbull called using the ABCC bill.

babbles a bit about a dynamic and fluid environment whatever. The safe work Australia website is being re-built? Expanded. It will provide a “granular level of detail”. Porter has swallowed a buzzword list today.

I guess the queries function and info on the safework Australia website will be as efficient as jobkeeper application processes ie it will work for applicants whose application is consistent with Liberal Party ideology and political objectives and a clusterfuck for everyone else.

next up is covid committee chair and mining industry CEO Nev Power. Maybe no construction giant grifters whose greed kills workers were available to speak on workplace safety today.

unions are the main repository of workplace safety expertise btw but we have a business guy and couple of politicians from the party of business here instead.

the Morrison goldfish gulp and malapropic garbling is worse than usual today. Why is he so tense?

questions. Who is Greg? He starts with the fucking nonsense the Trump administration is spewing to try and cover for its monumental public health failures.

Morrison obliges by repeating the semiotic anti-Chinese racism terms a number of times.

schools. Morrison says “not opening schools fully is costing jobs and it does cost the economy”. So he has stopped lying about using schools for his political-economic objectives, at least.

Power adds lots of words and not much meaning on businesses adapting as restrictions are eased. Recall the vast majority of businesses - outside hospo - were not closed by official roni restrictions but by going to the wall (or into “hibernation”).

K Murphy asks about the trans Tasman travel bubble and contextualises with federalism - state and territory border closures. Morrison is very defensive. He is essentially telling premiers and chief ministers to open the borders. He *forgets* the trans-Tasman part of the question.

after being reminded, Morrison pretends to answer the trans-Tasman travel bubble question. But other than fetishising the alleged firstness (it isn’t) of the NZ PM being at National Cabinet, there is nothing specific to announce. “We are working co-operatively together” he says.

they have a stronger biosecurity regime and so do we? says Morrison. What does that mean?

Coorey. He is told this is about a covid safe economy (there’s the slogan for the near), Morrison tells him. The $4 billion a week gets another outing. Grattan. Gets a stream of self-congratulatory gibberish. We have tripled our ICU capacity. Okay.

Probyn: you have talked about pubs and restaurants.
Morrison: no I didn’t.
Probyn: well Neville was. When can the two Andrews, I mean the two Dans, legally have a drink together?
Morrison: they can now, just not in a pub. Andrew.

Nev and I, says Morrison quickly. Subtext: don’t wedge me, mate. Andrew.

PvO. His friend was stood down today.
PM indulges some bullshit federalism rhetoric. National cabinet has more to discuss about easing restrictions. Flattening the curve has come at a price.

Looks like no agreement on anything at all was reached in national cabinet today.

asked again about schools, Morrison says it wasn’t on the agenda today. He is happy to “encourage non-state schools by bringing forward funding”. The Premier of Victoria can make decisions about state schools, that’s his bailiwick.
Yes, Morrison said bailiwick.

asked whether he was against Barilaro contesting Eden-Monaro because Barilaro would have been a destabilising force if he won (the Sunday Savva thesis) Morrison says no and no.

okay I’ve had enough. Tl;dr: national cabinet was an unproductive and discordant session today, Morrison is therefore delivering a set piece with his biz CEO mate, which is essentially gaslighting workers and babbling bullshit.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

222 economists advise that lifting COVID-19 restrictions too soon will not help the Australian economy. But will Scott Morrison listen?

The Conversation, 20 April 2020:

In recent weeks a growing chorus of Australian commentators has called for social distancing measures to be eased or radically curtailed.

Some have claimed the lives saved by the lockdowns are not worth the damage they are causing to the economy.

Others have claimed the case for easing is strengthened by the fact many of the hardest hit by COVID-19 are elderly or suffering from other conditions.

Some might expect economists, of all people, to endorse this calculus.

But as economists we categorically reject these views, and we believe they do not represent the majority of our profession.

We believe a callous indifference to life is morally objectionable, and that it would be a mistake to expect a premature loosening of restrictions to be beneficial to the economy and jobs, given the rapid rate of contagion…..

Open Letter from Australian Economists
19 April, 2020

Dear Prime Minister and Members of the National Cabinet,

The undersigned economists have witnessed and participated in the public debate about when to relax social-distancing measures in Australia. Some commentators have expressed the view there is a trade-off between the public health and economic aspects of the crisis. We, as economists, believe this is a false distinction.

We cannot have a functioning economy unless we first comprehensively address the public health crisis. The measures put in place in Australia, at the border and within the states and territories, have reduced the number of new infections. This has put Australia in an enviable position compared to other countries, and we must not squander that success.

We recognise the measures taken to date have come at a cost to economic activity and jobs, but believe these are far outweighed by the lives saved and the avoided economic damage due to an unmitigated contagion. We believe strong fiscal measures are a much better way to offset these economic costs than prematurely loosening restrictions.

As has been foreshadowed in your public remarks, our borders will need to remain under tight control for an extended period. It is vital to keep social-distancing measures in place until the number of infections is very low, our testing capacity is expanded well beyond its already comparatively high level, and widespread contact tracing is available.

A second-wave outbreak would be extremely damaging to the economy, in addition to involving tragic and unnecessary loss of life.


Professor Alison Booth, Australian National University

Professor Jeff Borland, University of Melbourne

Professorial Research Fellow Lisa Cameron, Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne

Professor Efrem Castelnuovo, University of Melbourne

Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark, University of Sydney

Assistant Professor Ashley Craig, University of Michigan

Professor Chris Edmond, University of Melbourne

Professor Nisvan Erkal, University of Melbourne

Professor John Freebairn, University of Melbourne

Professor Renée Fry-McKibbin, Australian National University

Professor Joshua Gans, University of Toronto

Professor Jacob Goeree, UNSW Business School

Professor Quentin Grafton, Australian National University

Professor Simon Grant, Australian National University

Professor Pauline Grosjean, UNSW Business School

Distinguished Professor Jane Hall, University of Technology Sydney

Assistant Professor Steven Hamilton, George Washington University

Professor Ian Harper, Melbourne Business School

Professor Richard Holden, UNSW Business School

Professor David Johnston, Monash University

Professor Flavio Menezes, University of Queensland

Professor Warwick McKibbin, Australian National University

Assistant Professor Simon Mongey, University of Chicago

Professor James Morley, University of Sydney

Professor Joseph Mullins, University of Minnesota

Professor Abigail Payne, Melbourne Institute, University of Melbourne

Professor Bruce Preston, University of Melbourne

Emeritus Professor Sue Richardson, Flinders University

Professor Stefanie Schurer, University of Sydney

Professor Kalvinder Shields, University of Melbourne

Professor John Quiggin, University of Queensland

Associate Professor Simon Quinn, Oxford University

Economic Advisor James Vickery, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Professor Tom Wilkening, University of Melbourne

Professor Justin Wolfers, University of Michigan

Professor Yves Zenou, Monash University

Full list of signatories available on the economists open letter website.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Morrison's insistence that NSW public schools are safe places during the pandemic is not an accurate claim

On 9 April 2020 NSW public schools began the school year's Easter holidays.

By that time school attendance was thought to be as low as 30 per cent of all enrolled students in state schools.

Even the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had withdrawn his children from a NSW private school sometime between 9 March and 2 April 2020 and moved his family into The Lodge in Canberra.

Yet he continues to harangue the states and teachers for the distance learning policy put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These teacher expressed her frustration at his attitude and comments.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 April 2020, p.20:

I find Morrison's comments that parents are doing home schooling offensive. What they are doing is assisting their children in understanding detailed, highly formatted lessons that are linked to the curriculum in a way to make it interesting for students. This is not home schooling as parents did not plan and link the work to the curriculum. As a teacher I spent 12-hour days combing the internet for interesting activities and tying it all to the curriculum, as well as running video classrooms, answering student questions and emails. When students were still having difficulties I was calling home to speak to the children to see how to fix the problems. That's not child minding: that's delivering quality remote learning for our students. Give us the protective wear, cleaning products and non-contact thermometers to screen children and teachers will be happy to go back to classrooms. 

 Jennie Kidd, Campbelltown
Morrison continues to insist that public schools are safe places for children to be during a pandemic.

NSW schools that have no hot running water, frequently no additional cleaning equipment and a limited ability to impose social distancing.

Under those conditions teachers were rightly worried about the risk to their own health and that of their pupils.

On 17 April 2020 there were est. 121 COVID-19 cases in NSW where individuals' ages ranged between 0 and 19 years.

This is an excerpt from a NSW Dept of Health media release dated 9 April 2020 at which point est. 112 individuals in that age range were infected with COVID-19 in the state:

This is another excerpt from a NSW Dept of Health media release dated 4 April 2020, at which point est.101 individuals in that age range were infected with COVID-19 in the state:


Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Two posts featuring Scott Morrison disappeared from Bible Society Australia & Vision Christian Radio websites in March 2020

A similar article to the below one quietly disappeared from a Bible Society Australia website, Eternity News, along with a video.

PM Joins COVID-19 Prayer Effort
Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has joined Christian leaders and believers online to pray for Australia as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak.

The prayer session was coordinated by the Australian Prayer Network, the Canberra Declaration and Pastor Margaret Court.

The Toowoomba Regional Prayer Network reports, the Prime Minister prayed through two Scriptures: Psalm 34:17-19 and Isaiah 58:11-12.

The first Scripture speaks of the Lord hearing the cry of the righteous and delivering them from trouble and the second tells of the Lord’s guidance and restoration from the ruins.

More than 600 people took part in the national Zoom call over a period of 25 hours with Pastor Margaret Court overseeing the final hour of prayer.

The Prime Minister’s participation was reported by Molly Joshi, national representative of the Toowoomba Regional Prayer Network.

She says it was the church at its finest, ministering together without walls.

Photo credit: Kristy Robinson / Commonwealth of Australia [CC BY 4.0 (]

This article has also disappeared from view.

The reason these articles and a video were removed?  Perhaps Morrison decided his prayer had only been meant to be heard by the 600 people taking part in that prayer session or he may have thought his Christian prayer might not be well received by every voter who heard it.

However, little actually disappears completely from the Internet and this YouTube video of the prayer session was posted by Queensland Parents For Secular State Schools on 31 March 2020.

Morrison begins to quote the bible at 2:45 minutes and offers his personal prayer at 3:40 minutes.

Friday, 28 February 2020

If you have ever wondered how Scott Morrison forms his opinions on everything from climate change & coal mining to taxation & punishing the poor......

Scott John Morrison does not appear to be a man with an abundance of intellectual curiosity, his employment history* is lacklustre with most of positions he held lasting less than 3 years and, his work ethic is not strong given he granted himself three holiday breaks in the first full year of his primeministership.

So to whom (besides the Institute of Public Affairs) does Morrison turn to when he is deciding his policy positions?

A clue might be found here......

 Michael West Media, Hon Scott Morrison MP, excerpt, 2020:

Mining Connections
John Kunkel, the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff: before his appointment to his current position by Morrison in 2018, Kunkle served as Rio Tinto’s chief advisor for Government Relations, working as a lobbyist for the multinational mining firm. Rio is one of Australia’s top coal miners. Before this Kunkel was Deputy CEO of the Mineral Council of Australia for over six years.

Brendan Pearson, Senior Advisor for International Trade and Investment for the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) 2019 to present. Pearson was the CEO of the MCA from 2014 untl 2017, where BHP Billiton pressured the MCA over Pearson’s radically pro-coal stances and insistance on government-subsidised coal projects.

Lobbying Connections
Former mining lobbyists who now hold key positions within Morrison’s staff include The Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, Yaron Finkelstein, the former CEO of Crosby Textor (now C|T) a multinational lobbying firm with close ties to the Liberal Party and the mining industry. Other C|T alumni include Liberal Party campaign director, Andrew Hirst and his deputy, Isaac Levido, as well as James McGrath, LNP Senator for Queensland and prominent public advocate for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine.

A further pro-mining lobbyist connection is Stephanie Wawn. Wawn is a
senior advisor to Morrison and was previously employed as a manager for CapitalHill Advisory. CapitalHill’s clients included coal miner Glencore and pro-coal think tank, the Menzies Research Centre.

Media Connections
Another way in which the mining lobby exerts influence is via the Prime Minister’s communications team. Many of Morrison’s senior communications team have long-held ties to the Murdoch press. News Corporation is pro-coal and anti climate change.

Positions taken by News Corp staffers in the Prime Minster’s office include Matthew Fynes-Clinton’s role as speech-writer. Fynes-Clinton was former deputy chief of staff and editor of The Courier Mail. Press Secretary, Andrew Carswell, formerly chief of staff at The Daily Telegraph and advisor Thomas Adolph, formerly with The Australian.


* Jobs held since 1989:

National Manager, Policy and Research Property Council of Australia 1989-95. 

Deputy Chief Executive, Australian Tourism Task Force 1995-96. 
General Manager, Tourism Council 1996-98. 
Director, NZ Office of Tourism and Sport 1998-2000. 
State Director, Liberal Party (NSW) 2000-04. 
Managing Director, Tourism Australia 2004-06. 
Principal, MSAS Pty Ltd 2006-07.

Member iof the Australian Parliament 2007- present.