Hostage to fortune

Political leadership Political ethics Australia

Scott Morrison’s chickens are dawdling home to roost.

In the wake of this month’s Christchurch massacre, Waleed Aly quoted from a 2011 article by Lenore Taylor based on a leak from a shadow cabinet meeting late the previous year. As Aly told viewers of Ten’s The Project, Scott Morrison, the Coalition’s shadow immigration minister at the time, had “urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about ‘Muslim immigration,’ ‘Muslims in Australia’ and the ‘inability’ of Muslim migrants to integrate.”

A few days later the prime minister was on The Project telling Aly that, yes, he had brought up the subject in that 2010 meeting, but with quite a different aim. He had been “acknowledging that there were these fears in the community and that we had to address them, not exploit them.”

The explanation was patently absurd, and believed by not one soul in the country. Even so, the original account of that event eight years ago never really made sense. For a Liberal tactician in 2010 to urge his party to “capitalise” on community “concerns” would have been like suggesting a campaign against the “carbon tax” — in other words, utterly redundant.

Read the full article on Inside Story.

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