Prime Minister Scott Morrison commenced his election campaign amidst a barrage of friendly fire from his own side. Now he has to worry about his own plans backfiring as a new poll reveals his support of anti-trans candidate Katherine Deves may cost him seats.
A poll conducted by the RedBridge group for Equality Australia finds political candidates attacking trans women, gays and lesbians lose twice as many voters as they gain. Additionally, less than 2% of voters see trans women in sport as a big issue.
Morrison’s own goal in personally selecting single issue anti-trans candidate Katherine Deves as his captain’s pick for Warringah is looking more and more like causing collateral damage. Zali Steggal will retain Warringah. But meanwhile, the Libs now risk losing at least Wentworth and Parramatta.
Morrison announced the election shortly after the involuntarily departing Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells condemned him as ‘unfit for office’. She also called him a bully with ‘no moral compass’. She accused him of using his religion as a ‘marketing advantage’.
We can assume much of that advantage dissipated when the PM’s self-declared friend and mentor Brian Houston departed Hillsong under rather unseemly circumstances.
Prime Minister Morrison already copped buckets of criticism during his second term. His secret overseas holiday during the bushfire crisis. Then the government’s lackadaisical response to sexual misconduct allegations. The treatment of Brittany Higgins. His feud with Australian of the Year Grace Tame. The vaccine strollout. And on and on.
But in recent times, it’s been friendly fire that’s really wounded.
It perhaps dates from when French President Emmanuel Macron called him a liar and former PM Malcon Turnbull rushed to agree. Then the text messages exchanged between a senior serving cabinet minister and former NSW premier Glady Berejiklian. The unnamed minister labelled Morrison a ‘horrible, horrible person’ and a ‘complete psycho’.
Next up, leaked texts from deputy PM Barnaby Joyce calling his boss ‘a hypocrite and a liar’. About the same time as the Fierravanti-Wells spray, NSW Liberal MP Catherine Cusack quit the party, accusing the prime minister of using the ongoing flood disaster as a political tactic.
The friendly fire continued in recent days with always disgruntled LNP Senator Matt Canavan announcing “net zero is … dead”.
Climate change presents a thorny problem for the coalition. Not dealing with it — that’s no problem. No one believes they will. But getting the messaging right to attract votes from middle Australia.
The LNP has been up and down like a toilet seat on climate change since John Howard suddenly embraced the issue in an effort to save the baby, bathwater, and Bennelong during the 2007 election campaign.
Canavan’s intervention on climate change is about as helpful to the coalition as Peter Dutton‘s various statements on national security. Who would listen to the defence minister on whose watch China signed an unanticipated pact with the Solomon Islands?
I imagine it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees in midst of an election campaign. But while declaring extreme positions and making outlandish claims worked for a while in the United States, it seems unlikely to win the middle ground here.
Our current government needs to seriously consider governing for all Australians — not the fallaciously named silent majority which in truth is just a very f_cking loud and entitled minority.
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