Scott Morrison’s latest lie (at the time of writing) is that the people who shared Novak Djokovic’s hotel detention before he was deported are not refugees. The follow-up lie is that he never said what everybody heard him saying.
This is Morrison’s standard lie-within-lie behaviour, and he cannot help himself. He is like the man who farts loudly and then denies it while his fundament continues to produce audible bursts of gas.
Echo readers will be well aware that our view of Scott Morrison is not a favourable one.
Liar, bully, hypocrite, crook are just some of the accurate descriptors he has earned during his term as prime minister.
Some politicians have been all of those things without being, in addition, utterly incompetent.
Morrison’s incompetence, however, is epic; it seems to derive from his belief that God has appointed him to rule in these end times, so that it is impossible for him to be wrong.
All that matters is the outward show of government, not government itself. Hence the glib lies to keep up appearances.
Everyone knows the old rule of thumb: if you have to choose between cock-up and conspiracy, choose cock-up every time.
So even Morrison’s harshest critics have assumed that the current crisis of COVID cases, test shortages, hospital overcrowding, supply-chain problems, etc is not an intentional plan but merely the result of his incompetence.
No doubt it is.
But the insanely ill-prepared ‘let it rip’ and ‘push through’ policies of the federal and NSW coalition governments seem to have been timed to coincide with the summer holidays.
If the highly contagious Omicron variant cannot be contained, best to get the wave of infections over when economic activity is at its lowest.
Then there would be three or four months left before the federal election to rewrite the story with Morrison as hero.
Of course such a plan would only avoid disaster if you procured an adequate supply of testing kits for essential workers, to keep supermarket shelves supplied, and a strategy for supporting the medical staff in hospitals and old-age homes, which would come under severe pressure.
As we know, these easy-to-foresee problems were not addressed, because they require competent government, and competent government is not Morrison’s thing.
If you have gutted the public service, its various branches privatised, politicised and atomised so that it serves your party rather than the nation, then planning for emergencies becomes difficult.
Never mind, there are ways to divert people’s attention.
Morrison’s background – apart from being the Messiah of Hillsong – is in marketing, and the tricks of marketing taught him how to play the media.
Although the perception of the prime minister as an incompetent liar is now widespread, it remains unexplored by most mainstream journalists, owing to his skill at feeding, managing and distracting the news cycle.
There is an election coming, quite possibly in May, and to cover up his mendacity Morrison can rely on the loyalty of the Murdoch media, the increasingly rightward drift of what used to be the Fairfax papers, the cowed state of the ABC, and the money mines of Clive Palmer, which will be devoted to telling lies about the ALP.
Nevertheless, it is one thing to lie during an election; it is quite another to believe you can govern with lies.
We will shortly see how the nation views this when a liar presents himself for judgement.
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