Friday, August 24, 2018

The man who stopped the boats is PM

The man who stopped the boats is Aussie PM
(Scott Morrison has been chosen by the Liberal party room as Australia's 30th prime minister.
Mr Morrison defeated Peter Dutton 45 votes to 40 in the secret ballot. Leadership candidate Julie Bishop was knocked out in the first round.
The decision capped off a week of turmoil in Canberra that began after Mr Dutton declared his intention to force Malcolm Turnbull from the prime ministership, saying the party needed to make a change if it was to win the forthcoming federal election, due before May 18 next year. (Sydney Morning Herald)

I AM a little saddened Australia’s Liberal Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, perish in a party political skirmish that was largely the result of insurgents in his own party who continually sniped, plotted, and worked both inside and outside the party to bring Turnbull down. At around 1:30 pm, Australian Eastern Standard Time, he stood down.
My disappointment is short-lived to say the least. Scott Morrison, the man who “stopped the boats”  (illegal migrants), is the accidental Prime Minister because 48 hours before the thought did not enter his head as worked all the hours possible to keep Turnbull in office.

I first got to Scott Morrison when he won the Federal seat Cook in Sydney’s south: Sutherland Shire where the locals boast of “God’s own country.” I had edited the local newspaper for 10 years and worked closely with most local politicians. Scott’s predecessor in Cook is the formidable Bruce Baird and with the NSW State Member for Cronulla Malcolm Kerr, these were very special people. They were politicians of the highest order, I was a journalist but none had to give or take an inch.

Scott Morrison (ScoMo, to the enlightened) succeeded Baird in 2007, I had already jumped fence and had taken up a communications (especially emergency response) role with nearby Caltex Oil Refinery at Kurnell. Naturally, I was delighted to work with him and in the very short while I was blown away with his dedication and capacity for work. He bordered on being a workaholic. But you could not but be impressed by this very special man who came took after holding down the Managing Director’s role in Tourism Australia, the premier tourism organisation in Australia.
At first he was not really the No. 1 choice as far as the locals were concerned. He was not sufficiently right-wing, was the argument I had heard.

I would like to think that our admiration was mutual because we also met quite regularly at political-social events. When I quit Caltex, he was among 200 other people who honoured me at my farewell.

But the thing about Scott Morrison is that he is also a very infectious person. He easily won over the people of Sutherland Shire, just as he quickly climbed up the ladder of Ministerial success, first Minister for Social Services, then as the tough, very tough Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and later as the country’s Treasurer.
However, it has not always been plain sailing and he been in many political wars, not the least with certain sections of the media. Some folks would accuse of being a bully, arrogant and over ambitious. On the other side of that coin, the Morrisons are a very Christian family, they have moved from the Uniting Church to the Pantecostal. He privately swears to the “values of loving kindness, justice and righteousness”.
So while Morrison continues to keep faith with conservatism, especially in the area of illegal migration and offshore detention, not everyone will be shouting from the hilltops. Right-wingers, of the moderate variety, will be ringing the bells in celebration. But that is the Australia of today. A big improvement on the dreaded White Australia policy of the distant past.

For the Morrison Prime Ministership to be a success and not be nuked in the manner of his predecessor’s fate, this will not be an easy ride. How will he handle the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott who was himself displaced by Malcolm Turnbull. It is a commonly held belief is that if Tony Abbott does not get his way, then Morrison might suffer the same fate as Turnbull. Even they bury the political hatchet and Morrison brings Abbott into the Ministry what chance is there that he will be a team player.
Malcolm Turnbull, in his farewell speech, quite correctly pointed out that the insurgency and dramas of the past few days had nothing to do with the people of Australia but only with Liberal Party MPs with their coalition partners, the Nationals, watching from the sidelines.

Morrison will overcome all that is thrown at him, or he will go down fighting as is the Liberal Party tradition.

Not too many Rugby League teams can boast that their No.1 ticket holder is the country's Prime Minister. The Cronulla Sharks can.

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