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Thus Spake Mungo: Morrison soft pedals on Hanson 

Photo Eve Jeffery

Scott Morrison would have been happier and clappier than usual when he went to his Horizon Pentecostalist Church last Sunday. 

The Prime Minister had almost as much riding on the NSW election as did Gladys Berejiklian. 

But where Berejiklian boasted that she was incredibly proud about everything, but also incredibly humble (although she didn’t look it), ScoMo was just incredibly relieved. 

A few weeks ago, Malcolm Turnbull advised him to call an early federal election to give Berejiklian clear air for her fixed term poll – in effect to put down his own moribund regime to save a more viable government in Macquarie Street. 

Morrison declined; he was not planning to give up just yet. But a loss in NSW, his home state, would have been a disaster. Instead, his captain’s pick has for once been vindicated – and in a way which may even encourage his own near suicidal followers. 

Turnbull’s reasoning was that following the Victorian wipeout the same backlash would prevail north of the Murray – the resentment over his expulsion would continue. But it appeared that it didn’t; allowing Morrison to dare to hope that the Turnbull effect, or the leadership churn, or whatever you choose to call it, has run its course. 

Indeed the only Liberal seat definitely lost on Saturday was Coogee – the only seat in which Turnbull campaigned. And so just perhaps the marginals in NSW at least could be saved – there was even the delirious fantasy that he could pick up a couple from Labor. 

The point of the preferential system is not necessarily to deliver the most popular candidate, but to avoid the most disliked

Of course this overlooks the fact that Bill Shorten was not expecting to win a lot of seats in NSW – the  real prospects are in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. But hey, a win’s a win, savour it while you may. 

But the real worry for Shorten is not the result, but how it came about – largely through preferences. In past elections, the vote for minor parties and independents was generally regarded as a protest vote – most of the anti-government swing comes back to the majors. 

This is how pollsters calculate the two party preferred vote; they look at what happened in the past and extrapolate to the future. 

But last weekend the preferences did not come back – a large proportion of them remained with the outliers. 

And if this trend persists in the general election in May, Labor will not be the shoo-in most currently assume, even though optional preferential system in NSW will give way to compulsory preferences in the national poll.

The point of the preferential system is not necessarily to deliver the most popular candidate, but to avoid the most disliked. So if you can’t get your first choice, you can at least try to get rid of your most loathed. 

Morrison soft pedals on Hanson – she has never pushed racism when she has talked to him, he avers. Well, surprise, surprise – he is well insulated in his Canberra bubble

And this is why Scott Morrison is being disingenuous about whether his Liberal Party will actually put One Nation at the back of the pack in his how to vote card. 

Of course the card is not compulsory – it is entirely up to the individual voter how to select preferences. But the party how to vote cards are more than an incentive: they are a clear indication of the party’s priorities. 

If, as Michael McCormack and many of his fellow Nationals apparently believe, the Greens, with their espousal of renewable energy rather than fossil fuels, are more dangerous than the strident and divisive anti-Muslim and anti-Asian agenda of Pauline Hanson, they are perfectly entitled to put their how to vote cards where their mouths are. Every man for himself. 

But there may well be consequences – the Nats may hold on to a couple of seats in Queensland, but risk losing many more coalition seats around the rest of the country. After all, that’s what happened in Western Australia, and given the mood in Victoria after that state election, it could easily happen again. 

And this is why ScoMo is ducking and weaving, obfuscating and misleading. 

He says there will be no deals with One Nation – although he and his ministers have connived in many to massage otherwise unpopular legislation through the senate. 

He will not, he insists virtuously, do any formal preference swaps. 

But he will not confine them to the bottom of the pile – there may be more obnoxious people yet to nominate. The decision will be taken in due time. 

As always, ScoMo’s protestations have absolutely nothing about principle and very little about truth. There is more wink wink, nudge nudge than fair dinkum.

But by whom? By him, through a captain’s pick – the kind of call John Howard did in 1996, or Bill Shorten has already done this year? Or by the Liberal federal organisation? Or the state organisations? Or by the candidates themselves? Morrison will not say. 

And vitally, he will not guarantee that they will be placed below Labor, which is what actually matters.

Morrison soft pedals on Hanson – she has never pushed racism when she has talked to him, he avers. Well, surprise, surprise – he is well insulated in his Canberra bubble. 

But perhaps, in the real world, he has heard rumours that she has talked racism for years, in the parliament, in the media – in every platform she can find. 

As always, ScoMo’s protestations have absolutely nothing about principle and very little about truth. There is more wink wink, nudge nudge than fair dinkum.

And there are times when preferences can be the last refuge of a scoundrel. 

Back in the old days in the Northern Territory, there were persistent stories that so called advisers appointed by the long-running Country-Liberal government were sent out to remote communities to help them grapple with the system. 

When confronted by intending Labor voters they devised a simple formula: ‘You don’t like this CLP man? Well, you only give him one vote. Write 1 in the square beside his name. You like the next man a little bit? Give him two votes. But you really want the Labor man? Give him three votes.’

For many years – decades in fact – it worked. 

But of course Scott Morrison would never stoop to such chicanery – if only because he could never get away with it. But these are desperate times – perhaps it could be worth a try ….


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9 responses to “Thus Spake Mungo: Morrison soft pedals on Hanson ”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Before NSW Gladys Gladys Berejiklian accepted the election win at the lectern on Saturday night, PM Scott Morrison stepped up and boomed out over the mic like a pentecostal minister just what the NSW government were doing for the past four years, they were governing for the people of NSW.
    He surely looked very pleased for himself with one election out of the way that stumped and jolted upright the NSW ALP. The PM looked out over the crowd like they were a congregation.

  2. Nicholas Reese says:

    C’mon, given other circumstances we’d be crowing that a female with a non Anglo name just became the Premier of NSW. Oh, sorry, did we all miss that?

  3. Craig P says:

    Mungo soft pedals on Daley !!! Call it out mungo for what it it !! A Racist hate speech… happy to call out one nation for being anti- asians ..or any other party for that matter mungo …now like or not .. these racist comments and Daley’s appalling campaign were certainly the contributing factors in the state election full stop !!! Now i denounce all forms of hate speech and racism it has no place in Australian society’s and should be condemned no matter what political establishment you support… mungo you sure do show some passion for your views regarding all…and do respect this !! Would respect you even more ..if you had called it out in your article… be fair mungo !!

  4. LindyStacker says:

    Don’t think Daley’s stupid comments had anything to do with his loss….people that felt that strongly about his dumb comments would hardly switch their vote to Liberal. If they were going to vote Green or Independent they would do that anyway. Daley made several gaffs but so did Gladys. Daley ain’t no Bob Carr but he did arrive late in the game. Gladys & Daley are as fascinating as watching paint dry. Pity we couldn’t get OUR OWN Jacinda , a woman with guts , intelligence, vision, compassion (an endangered concept within OZ politics) and most of all a heart.

  5. Gordon Haynes says:

    “[…] she was incredibly proud about everything, but also incredibly humble […]

    Reminds me of the elderly woman who, when shaking the pastor’s hand on leaving church, told the reverend: “I liked your sermon on ‘umility, Pastor. I’ve always been ‘umble, and my father was ‘umble before me – and I’m proud of it.”

    Don’t expect to find humility among politicians; it’s not natural to them.

  6. Humidity, Gordon. Glad, the non-Anglo long-name
    person can be & become the state’s boss. It’s her
    Humidity that allows her to throw mega bucks at
    an over priced stadium when the Country’s near
    broke & Daley’s hate-speech is on everyone’s
    mind. The dear old ScoMo just went on smacking
    his lips & looked as of he’d broken a tooth or two
    on ‘Humidity’ its-self.

  7. Doug says:

    Mungo: Breaking News!
    Pauline has been ticked off! Apparently, a tick bit her on the face, then realised the mistake!

    Very ticked off….

  8. tuatha says:

    I lurved Mr Shouty’s prevarication that he is waiting to see whether there are even more reprehensible candidates who should be put last on the how to vote card.
    I thin the smallpox virus is curently available.
    Speaking of which, any word on how the tick is doing? If it survives the toxins it must have imbibed it should be given an AOM.

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