Scott Morrison is one of those blokes who simultaneously giggles and threatens. So what funny things, and what scary stuff, are vying for his attention under that baseball cap?
You might find a clue or two in this short narrative that I’ve pieced together from reporting in the Guardian, Newsweek, Overland, Labor Senator Penny Wong’s question in Parliament late last month, and other public sources. I’m not making any of it up.
It’s about a couple who are good mates of the Prime Minister and his wife.
Lynelle Stewart and Jenny Morrison have been friends since school days, and they were each other’s bridesmaids. The two couples have been close social pals for decades, and in August this year the PM hired Lynelle to work in his Kirribilli House (Sydney) office. It was not a job that required advertising but it does require her to pass a security clearance, and that’s been delayed on account of what’s put the Stewarts in the news lately.
Fruit Loops galore
David Hardaker at Crikey.com recently described Tim Stewart as ‘a 51-year-old family man, Cronulla Sharks supporter, one-time operator of an online health food venture called Fruit Loop…’
The issue is that he’s also Australia’s most prominent supporter of an online movement that believes a great ‘Storm’ or ‘Great Awakening’ is coming, in which Trump’s enemies, from the Deep State to Obama’s dog, will be destroyed – and Tim’s online posts suggest that this predicted fate for non-believers thrills him no end.
Stewart tweets as ‘BurnedSpy34’ about an American-based conspiracy theory promoted by a mysterious character (or a cabal) called QAnon who posted on the far-right 8Chan website until it was taken down after the Christchurch Mosque murderer used them to live-stream himself shooting 51 people dead. QAnon drops clues on 8kun as it’s now called, about how Pres. Donald Trump and his gang are conducting a ‘masterfully coordinated, slow but consistent pantsing (sic) of the deep state’, according to the Stewarts’ 22-year-old son Jesse who is also a ‘QAnon-fan’. Stewart also tweeted about how Julie Bishop must be involved in a paedophile gang, because she wore red shoes when she quit parliament.
It would be disturbing if, say, gullibility, ignorance and poor judgement of character were making Morrison stand by his man Stewart, but there’s more to it than that.
The PM’s office and Tim Stewart have reacted to reporters asking about their relationship by insisting Stewart never tried to influence Morrison’s decision-making. Clearly, however, he did try, and he succeeded.
In October last year Morrison delivered the nation’s formal apology to the survivors of institutional child abuse to a packed Parliament House.
Just slipped in
‘…men and women from… every part of our land [have been] crushed, abused, discarded and forgotten,’ he said – so far so good – then added, ‘The crimes of ritual sexual abuse happened in schools, churches, youth groups, scout troops, orphanages, foster homes, sporting clubs, group homes, charities, and in family homes as well.’
The word ‘ritual’ was not in the Royal Commission’s conclusions, and it passed everyone by in that emotional moment in Parliament, until it was noted by a conspiracy-debunker and became a global issue.
Tim and Jesse Stewart and other Q-fans campaigned to get our PM to include that word in his ‘apology’ because it is at the heart of the QAnon conspiracy. Q-fans believe that the elites, including Hillary Clinton and many other top pollies kidnap, rape, murder and eat the bodies of women and children, in rituals that are detailed on Q-fan websites. One YouTube video consists of Aussie conspiracist Fiona Barnett’s account of a pregnant women being cut to pieces on a stage in Bathurst 34 years ago, the ritual sword being wielded by cricket legend Richie Benaud, and the master of ceremonies being former Labor leader Kim Beasley Snr. This would be far too preposterous to mention if it weren’t for the fact that the video-maker Barnett was, according to a former pal of Tim Stewart, the person who started the push to get ‘ritual’ into Morrison’s speech.
That claim is contained in a recently-posted statutory declaration by another Australian conspiracist named Peter (or Eliahi) Priest who swears that Tim Stewart repeatedly claimed he passed Q-related letters and suggestions to the Prime Minister, most dramatically on the subject of ritual sexual assault.
Police descended on Priest’s home last February asking about his social media posts on Morrison-and-Stewart; this was long before anything on Stewart’s Q connections was publicised.
Priest claims in his stat dec that the cops who grilled him were dispatched by the Queensland Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC). Like I said up top, I made none of this up. There are FTACs in NSW and Victoria now, and they can force you to take a psych-test and to take anti-psychotic medicines of their choice. Priest says the QFTAC was alerted to go after him by the Prime Minister’s security team.
♦ Phillip Frazer posts without god on his side at coorabellridge.com.