By the time Morrison entered a jubilant party room on May 28 to address his fellow MPs, his language was tinged with an undeniable evangelical fervour. He seemed to be falling into prayer as he promised to “govern humbly” and place Australians “at the centre of our thoughts, each and every day”. “We must burn for the Australian people,” he told them. At this point, I felt myself burning too. I was tired of Morrison’s paternalism and the utter banality of so many of his protestations in defence of the “quiet Australians”, the people he patronisingly described as “too busy” to take an interest in politics, those who either couldn’t be bothered or preferred to cling to their disdain for politics and bed down with the eternally disaffected. “But they turn up every three years at elections and they take a good, close look at what the options are.” And then, like sleepwalkers, they vote for the Coalition or the more extreme parties that send preferences its way. It’s an old recipe in a faintly new guise, but its dangers for our body politic and for Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party are clear.
In a year’s time, if it has put the stench of one of the most inept campaigns in Australian political history behind it, Labor may be empowered to ask some pointed questions – and possibly dream of a reversal in its fortunes.
It may even be in a position to “burn’’ Morrison politically, if not biblically.
Naturally, Labor’s shock loss has left the party reeling. But Scott Morrison, too, should heed the warning it sends for his party’s third term.
Morrison has no policy to control electricity prices, no convincing policy on climate change, no policy to halt the rising cost of health insurance, no policy response to any downturn in the economy, no solution to “cost of living pressures” and no plan to increase wages except yet more waiting.
The day may come when he decides winning the election was the easy bit.
It is an odd party that so loudly proclaims it will form government, yet has fewer detail in its policies than many other independent candidates.
Strange too, that Palmer’s candidates reportedly have to pay back their high advertising costs should they win a seat, but desert the party.