Please Enjoy Everything That Went Wrong For Scott Morrison This Week
ScoMo's no good, very bad, terrible week.
There’s no other way to put it: Scott Morrison has had a no good, very bad, terrible week. And because it’s good when bad things happen to bad people, let’s recap it!
We’re Here, We’re Queer, You’re Embarrassing Yourself
You’d be forgiven for forgetting that the week started with the government backing down on allowing queer kids to be kicked out of schools, because so much other bonkers shit has happened since then.
But that’s what happened when the public realised that “religious freedom” actually meant “discriminating against gay kids and teachers”. The public reaction to the Ruddock review was so fierce, the PM had no choice but to back down, especially with the looming Wentworth by-election.
After first appearing to defend the right of religious schools to kick queer students and teachers to the curb, the PM actually ended up pledging to increase protection for gay kids.
It’s Ok To Be White (???)
If you did forget about the whole religious freedom thing, it’s probably because on Monday, the government backed a white supremacist motion in the Senate. Hey what now.
Yeah, on Monday, serial attention seeker Pauline Hanson’s motion that it’s “ok to be white” was up for debate in the Senate, and despite the phrase’s long history of deep racism, your government voted with Hanson.
The backlash was so fierce the government quickly backed down, blaming the vote on an “administrative error”, despite several MPs tweeting their support for the motion. In an embarrassing press conference, ScoMo was forced to admit that the vote was wrong. The government literally asked for a re-do of the vote, so they could change their minds. It wasn’t a good look, especially with the looming Wentworth by-election.
What’s the appropriate amount of time to reflect upon the fact that you cheated on your wife with a staffer, destabilised the government, blew up your career, and got paid $150,000 to talk about it? About six months, it turns out.
That’s right. Barnaby Joyce wants his old job back, and he’s set about destabilising the current Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, in order to get. Which means there’s more instability within the government, which is still trying to get over the instability caused just eight weeks ago. It’s not a good look, especially with the looming Wentworth by-election.
Off-Shore Detention In Crisis
The facade surrounding Australia’s horrendous off-shore detention regime is crumbling. People are dying, their mental health is deteriorating, and health services are being arrested and booted off the island. The public knows it, and finally, it seems that even the government knows it.
This week, a handful of Liberal MPs called on the government to get kids off Nauru and Manus Island, and the PM backed down again, hinting that he’d consider allowing them to be transferred to New Zealand. He probably did this because of that looming Wentworth by-election.
Do You See What I Embassy?
So, about that by-election we keep mentioning. Wentworth has a large Jewish population, and the Liberal candidate, Dave Sharma, who is a former ambassador to Israel, supports the idea of moving our Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Without going too deep into the complexities of this issue, moving the embassy would piss off a lot of countries in the middle east, it would piss off a lot of Australia’s Muslim population, and it would piss off one of our closest allies — Indonesia. It would have huge ramifications for Australia’s trade, foreign affairs and defence policies.
But hey, there’s an election to win in 38 square kilometres of eastern Sydney, so fuck it, right? Morrison left the door open to moving the embassy, which did indeed piss off Indonesia.
His decision was criticised by pretty much everyone as cynical and opportunistic.
And The Rest!
The Environment Minister insulted a former Prime Minister of Kiribati and basically implied that he was only in Australia to be given a heap of money.
The PM’s website was hijacked to play ‘Scotty Doesn’t Know’.
Malcolm Turnbull is steadfastly refusing to get involved in the Wentworth by-election, despite the Liberal Party practically begging him to. Don’t blame him, tbh.
Oh, and speaking of the Wentworth by-election, the Liberal party is very, very close to losing a seat it has never lost before. The by-election will be held on Saturday, so ScoMo’s week might still get worse.
Rob Stott is the Managing Editor of Junkee Media. You can yell at him about politics @Rob_Stott.