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Byron Shire
October 3, 2022

Thus Spake Mungo: Finally, the beginning of the end

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Scott Morrison’s launch was, ironically,  the last of the big set pieces. The remaining mad (and largely irrelevant) days will be spent scrabbling over a few  marginal seats in which the vast majority of those who have not already voted will have already made up their minds.

Morrison’s big pitch was said to be low key, in the style of the unfortunate effort of Billy McMahon in 1972, where the doomed leader addressed a carefully picked studio audience to plead for another chance. At the time it was almost embarrassing; I commented that during a brief glitch in transmission, it was hard to see whether the fault was in the television or in the Prime Minister.

Morrison was almost as embarrassing in his own way: he foreshadowed what he said was to be a direct conversation with the Australian people, but instead harangued a hand-picked Liberal cheer squad in one of the biggest venues in Melbourne outside the MCG.

And like McMahon, he barred his predecessors but dragooned as many of his ministry as could be persuaded into the front pews – even the elusive Melissa Price was sighted. They emerged, blinking from the darkened rooms in which they had been confined for the last four weeks and dutifully applauded.

And mercifully ScoMo avoided Billy’s climactic message, which was that he had been peerless, but his team had let him down – perhaps he is saving that for next week.

The lead up acts were nothing to raise the temperature: Michael McCormack, on whom Morrison had tried in vain to bestow the user-friendly name of MickMack, was, as always, boring. Josh Frydenberg took the role of long-suffering treasurer, a part Morrison had previously made his own.

Just look – mum is a woman, the wifey is a woman, the daughters are female. What’s the problem?

And then, after a long and cringe-worthy advertising break trumping the solo effort from Chloe Shorten, the entire extended Morrrison family was wheeled out, with flowers for Mothers Day. There is a problem with women in the party? Just look – mum is a woman, the wifey is a woman, the daughters are female. What’s the problem?

And  eventually ScoMo climbed the stage to embark on what he would be an  intimate and personal conversation with the voters, assuming that any of them were still listening. It wasn’t about the team, nor the party, and certainly not about a detailed policy for  the future: it was about me, me, me.

He began with a long list of people he had met on the hustings, none of whom appeared to be present. And unusually there was a brief attempt to be positive: ‘My vision is to keep the promise for all Australia.’ Or perhaps: ‘My promise is to keep the vision for all Australia.’ Whatever.

And then it was back to shouting about the need to kill Bill.

Which is precisely the problem. Shorten’s agenda has dominated the campaign – all but monopolised it. His plans for change have been long established and far-reaching – too bold, some would say, even foolhardy. But they have had something to offer, while Morrison has stuck, of necessity, to his dubious record, a plea for more of the same, and a raft of scares about the risks of changing course.

Labor’s program is undeniably ambitious and could well involve unintended consequences

And of course there are risks – Labor’s program is undeniably ambitious and could well involve unintended consequences. But Morrison’s inertia is hardly risk free. As the Reserve Bank confirmed last week, the economy is virtually moribund, with the overly optimistic growth forecasts in April’s budget already halved and the near certainty of the prospect of more interest rate cuts in a desperate attempt to try and revive the failing patient.

Even the Murdoch press has started to hedge its bets after a hysterical crusade that even one of The Australian’s own senior journalists, Rick Morton, has dubbed ‘craziness’.  Pope Paul Kelly, for instance, has admitted that Shorten is ready to govern, and has started to speculate about Morrison’s life in opposition.

The real nutters, naturally, remain unreconstructed: Chris Kenny is preparing to die with his boots on for the Liberal party and will continue to put them into any lefty head he can find to kick. But when the mogul’s empire starts to crumble, then surely the end of the world – his world – is nigh.

And the other big event of last week was the long awaited Labor costing, as delivered by the impeccably impartial  Parliamentary Budget Office. This was not only far less frightening than Morrison and his crusaders have pretended; it was actually good news in the form of greater surpluses to contain the local and international threats of a downturn.

And the figures have not seriously been challenged: the best Morrison could do was to label them ‘fishy’ while his treasurer, Josh Frydenberg simply dismissed them as ‘unbelievable’. Well, perhaps he chooses not believe them, but that is par for the course: at least half his party colleagues do not believe climate change, some do not believe evolution, and there are probably a handful or so who do not believe the earth goes around the sun.

The hard fact is that the coalition, after nearly six years of divisive dithering over policy has even run out of that

But denial, delusion and defiance will no longer cut it. The hard fact is that the coalition, after nearly six years of divisive dithering over policy has even run out of that. Daggy dad ScoMo has been reduced to the level of the friendly stranger who has just moved into the neighbourhood and spends his time asking passers-by to come to his house with the offer of a bag of lollies and a refuge from the bogey man. And we all know how that story ends.

In the end Morrison’s final message appears no less effective than Billy McMahon’s derisory reply to Gough Whitlam’s ‘It’s Time’ juggernaut: ‘Not Yet’. Which made his launch less of a rallying cry than a farewell – famous last words.

And it was fitting that the last Newspoll, which has played such a devastating role in the long decline of the coalition should provide its epitaph: 49 per cent is never enough.

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  1. Scott Morrison’s launch was, ironically, the last of the big set pieces in the flotilla with sailing boats and other craft all around. Will Scott be still floating as head of the nation or cut adrift after Saturday?

    • Clearly Len, none of the above. Scepticism survives, for now, til the next generation at least as they grapple with the fear and and anger foisted upon them.

  2. Morrison looks like a ventriloquist’s doll.
    The operator being the regurgitated “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign writer of decades ago.
    If there’s enough dumbos out there to bring this globally toxic puppet back, I for one, will not feel any semblance of being an Australian anymore.

  3. I noted that Barnaby was touting his credentials for future leadership of the Nationals at the weekend, too.
    Not that the nation needs him to stuff up the countyside again.

    Locally we have the Clayton’s Cross-bencher Kevin Hogan campaigning on his’integrity’ and claiming to say ahat he thinks and belives.

    We can assume that he has not thoughts or beliefs about Climate Change, the future of the ABC, Adani and sundry other items of nationla importance.
    He does believe in bridges and ice cream(of the NORCO variety) as well as sporting oval upgrades…….

    It is certainly time to vote out the worst government(s) since Billy McMahon’s.

  4. Mungo again nails what is wrong with conservative politicians in Australia, they are rigidly bound to ideas long since gone and replaced by ideas that will take us into the rest of the 21st century and beyond.
    If only Scott Morrison had the brain power to match that of Bill Shorten.

  5. Without a doubt it time for Morrison’s bubble to be burst. Lets hope the stench that fills it can be cleared quickly and the hangover of chaos from the last 6 years disappears faster than all those government ministers when the election was calls.

  6. I always love to read Mungo for its sheer literary craft and wit but if I want to know about the election I ignore Newspolls of all types and go straight to my Sportsbet account which currently has Labor on $1.16 and the Coalition on $4.50. The exciting one to watch is Dickson (Potato-head’s) electorate……he is trailing the Labor candidate $1.77 to $2.00…..All sane Australians will applaud the loss of that particular Neanderthal from public office…….oh and Kooyong is looking a close match too…..wouldn’t we all love to see the wisdom of Julian Burnside in federal politics. The future shows a glimmer of light.

    • Please David !! The hypocrisy from this man …Mr Burnside…one of his policies if voted in ..was to bridge the Gap between the wealthy and the poor …!! Then in in the next breath asks the less fortunate than himself, to donate his cause for the greens .with donations …for his campaign…expect no less from this person…during the election!! ..his estimated property portfolio and wealth is upwards of 20 million…not to mention his relentless support for the Refugees who have living conditions that the 117. 000 homeless could only dream of in Australia !!! .and not to mention his membership at the mens only club he has been a member at for decades…yes for decades…and only decided to leave when it was exposed by the mainstream..media .. the hypocrisy from this Man …and the greens policies of Gender equality …yes i repeat mens only club ..no Females…..YES David ..”Knowledge Comes But Wisdom Lingers “

  7. No Mungo… the Flat Earth isn’t going around
    the sun. It’s regurgitating Morrison’s mind-
    setting Mantras. All will be well soon.

  8. Great stuff Mungo, some things never change though Rupert Murdoch still giving ALP hell and a pat on the back to backward facing moribund conservatives,only now climate change bears down on us whilst ultra conservatives don’t even credit it. Here’s to an ALP win on Saturday.

  9. As usual well spake, Mungo!
    I just hope we have a decent number of independents to modify the conservatives of both ilk.

    I might not like the Lib/Nats, but find Labor sometimes just as arcane.

    May Oakeshot be a kingmaker yet again!

  10. Well well well as usual, the usual members to the party of subserviance. Let’s forget that a 5kWhr solar array keeps the fridge going and that’s about it. On good days a few bytes go into the system. And in 5 years the optimal repay degrades, and then the whole array will be obsolete anyway. Another array made in China, not a problem. It’s not the end of the beginning, the end is nigh we’re told. A whole generation of upcoming voters taught to believe it, without reading a single book. The age of pampheteers, again.

  11. A recent ABC piece on Lingiari in the territories fielded responses from electors in the far-flung parts of NT, the most articulate of which said how they would just like the chance to talk to the candidates. Lingiari covers 99% of the territory so talking to everone is clearly impossible, but his point was right. If the candidates talked to just 0.1% of those people, the word would get round, as it does in the country, and knowledge begins to exist. The ABC talked to four, at least something. Then an electorate also owns a responsibility. Our reps can’t represent us either way, if they don’t talk, or if we don’t search them out as well. Activists make a clamour in the street because that’s the most efficient way of making a message, it makes the press. Usually, our candidates have a number. Why do we want to undermine this system with absolute cynicism about everything that is basically democratic, when maybe we electors are just as much to blame, for trumpeting the cynicism. Our political system is as good as it gets. If not, we change it, we have that right. North Korea does not. And China is still marginal. Let’s support our Western systems for heaven’s sake, not plunge into uncharted seas.

  12. While Labor has always been in a winnable position in the House of Reps for over 50 News polls.
    The real battle this election is in the Senate!
    Please everyone, talk to your friends and neighbours.
    Stop these crazy climate deniers, religious zealots, racists and other assorted loonies from the Liberals, Nat’s, Palmer United, Hanson One Nation, Fred Nile Christian democrats, Bernadi Conservative wackos, controlling our Senate.
    Vote Senate, Labor/Greens and nothing else in between, or we may never again share that Australian Dream, we all long for!

  13. I have a few things to say about our potential parliament: when we vote we vote for a candidate in our electorate. this is a person, not a party. Hopefully that person will follow the track that was formulated when they spoke to the electorate. Unfortunately, some parties dominate their elected members to blithely follow the ´party line´, so some votes go against the views held by the elected representative (as an example, Malcolm Fraser seemed to hold much more reasonable views than when in parliament). Some issues I would suggest could be in this league would be the recent Marriage equality & Climate change.
    Climate change is very relevant in the current election & is of particular interest to the young. My feeling is the young will vote for representatives that will try to do something about climate change. There is also a general perception that the major parties are not really looking at making the changes that might be required in the view of the voters worried about Climate change, & the future of the planet for our children & future generations. (The world will continue, & eventually repair, but there might not be humans involved, at worst case.)
    One step in the changes required to address climate change is to use renewable energy instead of burning fossil fuels. There have been studies made in Australia that show that Australia can easily generate enough energy for all the energy requirements for Australia, as well as potential for export. This transition will take some time (up to 25 years until the last Gas powered generation could be obsoleted). The advantage for Australia is that we have the resources to easily achieve this goal. It will not be without some teething problems, as well as some inadvertent wrong turns. This transition will be similar to the change from wood to coal a few hundred years ago, or the change from Horse transportation, to fossil fueled transportation over 100 years ago.
    The change to renewable resources will be different to the current energy generation in that the generation will be distributed. There will also be storage required: batteries (& Supercapacitors) for frequency stabilisation & short term power supply, then other stored energy such as Hydro, Biomass, & other possibilities such as Hydrogen for longer term stored energy supply. There are already Solar & wind projects that can supply energy to our grid, but much more is required (such as the Solar farm proposed for the old Port Augusta Power station site: a polluted site ideal for this use after some remediation). There are sufficient sites in Australia to store water for pumped Hydro (some 5000 sites identified, but not all viable of course). There are sites in SA for Hot Rock generation if the new interconnector runs close enough to make the projects viable. All that is required is that finance is available, government regulations do not change like the wind, & the market allows investors to invest securely. All the required technology is currently available, but of course the development continues, so there will be new options in the future. The economics will force some from the market (as is now happening with Coal fired generation).
    So, the change is happening. It requires considered management, but no government interference (as has happened in the last 6 years!) There will need to be some assistance, particularly in the rural areas to assist the introduction of alternative transport: the fossil fuel powered cars, truck & trains will be replaced by other forms of powered transport such as EVs. (EVs will quickly become cheaper to run than fossil fuel powered vehicles, but rural adjustment will be required to enable their use country areas). Australia no longer produces cars, so if overseas manufacturers are not making fossil powered cars, they will not be available in Australia! Some countries are set to outlaw new fossil powered vehicles by 2030, so this will impact on vehicle availability in Australia. Fossil vehicles will also increase in price due to the lower numbers sold.
    As to Robots assertion about Solar systems, I feel the comments are way off the mark for a reasonable quality system. The cheap systems are a real issue, because often the panels & inverter are lower quality, but also the installation can be inferior too. I have seen many systems installed with shading on the panels, which reduces output, inverters installed on western walls which reduces reliability, as well as poor quality installations where AS3000 is not complied with. However, a professionally installed system with Tier 1 panels, installed with a good quality inverter, with appropriate design will potentially perform for 15 to 25 years. As an example, my personal system will pay for itself in about 4 years & should last at least 15 years. Renew energy, & the Solar Quotes sites are good resources to research about Solar energy & local storage:

    I feel that Australia cannot continue mining Coal for Gas, or coal for burning in the future. Australia can continue exporting energy in the form of Aluminium, as well as Hydrogen in the form of Ammonia. Australia will also export energy to SE Asia via undersea cable (from the Pilbara). Australia also has the potential as a manufacturing hub because of our cheap renewable energy. All that is required is a government with some vision: something sadly lacking in both major parties.

    So please consider who your vote goes to in this election. The senate is particularly important, as a house of review. You grandchildren may thank you in the future for a well chosen vote in this election!

    • As I said, interesting. Aluminium cld be important, presumably, because of possible new battery technology, the problem being reversing a redox reaction, lately thought impossible. Don’t feel embarrassed if you have to look this up, I had to – I’m a simple robot – but this kind of conversation beats all the emotional reaction hands down. Let’s not feel inferior because we explore, or seek understanding, maybe just an objective male thing, but women do it too. Curie, Mrs Einstein, my own Patricia.

  14. When Councils were giving away mini fleuros 25 years ago, they said they wld last 15 years. And they didn’t mention the mercury. Just as few mention the near UV with LED lights. If you paid 4 to 5000 for a top flight 5kWh solar array, it was manufactured in China, Japan or Singapore and not with renewable energy. We cant throw millions of spent batteries into a hole; they have to be recycled, a technology involving at least a dozen carcinogens, such as arsenic and hydrochloric acid, and with no real profit margin. If private enterprise saw profits in renewables they would do it, with or without government, no law against it. An electric harvester might last an hour before needing charge. Tesla’s electric trucks carry a fifth of what a road train can, and could not be expected to cross the Nullabor, or even the Hume Highway. Biomass is a fancy word for charcoal. And pumped hydro is just dumb. This is just common sense, I’m not a scientist or technician. Of course the next hundred years will see changes in our technology, we only have to look back a hundred years. Only at this moment, we’re facing possible economic catastrophe because it’s like a race, not a thought out plan. The industrial revolution was like that and caused a mile of mischief. Spain got to 70% renewable energy they claimed and is a basket case. And noone mentions nuclear warheads anymore, one nutter and the potential for total destruction. Not the flavour of the month now.

  15. Robot, I’ve been talking to the Senate runners one on one
    [via email] from all over for days now. About 3 or 4 [I find]
    really believable. However I believe I probably know them
    a mite better than they know themselves. Activism must
    not ever wear blinkers. I’d also like to suggest you slow
    down harping at the students. Big Brother tactics are
    not needed. The young have earned the right to feel
    fear & anger with this government & Aussie slack-offs.
    Have a good day, hey!

  16. Robot – a wet sock attitude is of no help to anyone.
    NO NUKES means just that. Since the early 1980’s
    we’ve been working with the UN, Amnesty & the
    Peace Groups to try & get ‘super galoots’ to quit
    their obsession with Nuclear Weapons. We’ve
    made a little headway but nowhere good enough.
    Sure the Aussie lot [2 of mine] helped the cause
    by creating an international group & we took out
    [unknown to us at the time] The Nobel Peace
    Prize in 2017. We will persist. Meantime, how
    about dealing with Climate Change… over-
    reacting by implying a change-can’t-work
    opinion is a cop-out. A Backbone’s needed now.

  17. Stefanie, your reply to my criticism is basically reactive without taking into account what I submit as putative facts. I stand by at least 80% of what I say. I haven’t implied change won’t work. But change is being foisted on the country without much discussion, mainly because media from both sides of the spectrum are taking a greater part in policy making, or suggesting it, or even demanding it. The main difference in the two main parties traditionally has been about response to current issues: The Left has tended to react immediately whilst the Liberal response has been more cautious. That’s gone. Now down to Dad and Dave and Spot, it’s all about the now. And this has been a pretty clear indicator of how environmental issues go, too, whilst they claim to have the science. I do not suggest there is no future for renewable energy, nor even a reasonable desire for less pollution. But the most avid environmentalist would have to admit that many of the things we have now, such as plane flight and ships, are impossible without fossil fuels. And then they should admit they know that and explain what their real Utopia looks like. The first time i nticed this notion of 100% renewable was about 8 years ago, on a lone placard at a demonstration. I thought it an oddity. How oddities accummulate. As for students not even out of school, they posit a protest, they can not really expect no reaction. I accept your reaction. But I am tiring of all this reaction, like a game of Monopoly played on steroids.

  18. As for no nukes, good on you. The only problem is all countries with them could dispense with them, and then one remake them, a problem of real politic. We do live in a game of Monopoly, and all the ploy involved. To end nukes we have to end war or the potential for it. Good luck with that!

  19. And thanks Doug, despite my reaction, words and possibilities to consider. I generally agree the world is at a nexus, would just suggest it’s not down to days.

  20. Yes. Tim – I do not feel Australian at all right
    now. A voiceless Labor shot itself in the foot &
    fed the dumbos & those who’d sell their soul for
    a dollar or two. Jo’s Qld., is here to stay so ‘Don’t
    you worry about that!’ Now – let’s do our best to
    help support those who were too young to vote.


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