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Morrison Still Short on Leadership

We ended last week’s session of Federal Parliament with Morrison still in a precarious position and with another week in parliament to come. He has received some favourable publicity from his energetic en tour of some electorates and from his aggressive handling of parliament. However, his request for support from parliamentary colleagues on Thursday night by the raising of hands to a song left a good deal to be desired and he subsequently acknowledged that “the full lyrics … were just not OK” (see report published in today’s Sunday Fairfax and reproduced above in Morrison’s Performance in Parliament) . And the message he (and others) received from Turnbull from New York , which suggested that Dutton’s position as an MP should be checked by the High Court, did not help, all the more so as reports also suggest Turnbull has been leaking about his (Morrison’s) behaviour.

Morrison on Two Horses (14/9)

My suggestion yesterday that Morrison needs to “get over Turnbull” and adopt his own policies was followed by Turnbull’s message from New York to his (?) “friends” (including Morrison) to have Dutton’s legitimacy as an MP checked by the High Court. For obvious reasons, Morrison rejected that but it remains a threat to Dutton because one or two of his “friends” (including former deputy Bishop) could resign and bring on a federal election, which would make it difficult for Dutton (and others) to win his seat in current circumstances.

Morrison Fails to Get Over It

In yesterday’s editorial The Australian concluded by saying that “at some stage we need a serious debate about what we are doing and why” on energy policy (see OZ Editorial on Energy Policy, 12/9). Also yesterday Morrison answered Shorten’s question in the House about why Turnbull has been sacked by telling him to “get over it”. But he is the one who needs to “get over it” – the “it” being Turnbull, who is reportedly still busy from New York telling colleagues to have Dutton’s eligibility to be a minister tested in the High Court. Morrison had no real option but to reject this proposal.

Coalition Goes Backward Under Morrison

One might have thought that the second Newspoll after the election of Scott Morrison as PM would produce something of a lift since the one published a fortnight ago on 27 August. That showed the Coalition on a TPP of 44/56 (and a primary vote of only 33) after Turnbull was dismissed on 24 August. But now we have on 10 September the same TPP for the Coalition and only a one percentage point lift in its primary vote – but, and for Labor too.

Morrison Has Long Way to Go

My last Commentary on 6 September suggested that Morrison has an “in-between” policy on energy and that it was hoped that he would make a broad announcement on policies in a speech scheduled to be made in Albury later that day. Alas, that has not proved to be the case and, despite the abandonment of the Turnbull/Frydenberg NEG, energy policy is worse and as confusing as it was under Turnbull. A quotation from his speech published in the SMH/Age gives the gist of his position

Morrison’s Policies to be Revealed

In last Sunday’s Commentary I drew attention to the lack of any substantial difference emerging in energy policy by Scott Morrison compared with what had been envisaged under the Turnbull/Frydenberg clique. Even though he has been emphasising the importance of reducing electricity costs, that remains the case as there has been no announcement of reductions in the cost-adding policies of reducing carbon emissions and increasing usage of renewable.

Morrison’s Energy Policy

At his first press conference with Frydenbrg (held before Turnbull’s resignation had been effected legally), Scott Morrison said “I want to start by thanking, and he still is the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. I have known Malcolm for a long time, as you know. He has been a dear friend. He has served his country, in a noble, and professional way. Josh and I have watched and worked with him as he has led our Cabinets and the achievements. We have been proud to serve with him as a government, whether it is in the economy, whether it is in all the other areas that Malcolm has outlined today at his earlier press conference. He is a great Australian who has contributed a great deal to this country and our party and our nation will be very grateful for his contribution”

Waiting for Godot?

My Commentary on 27/8 was headed “Better Than Turnbull, but …”. This qualification reflected my concern about Morrison’s decisions on the composition of Cabinet but also about the fall in the Coalition’s 44/56 TPP in the Newspoll. This suggested that he would be unlikely to be given a honeymoon and would need to get going if the Coalition is to “sell” policies which would be accepted at the next year’s election