Prime Minister Scott Morrison was in Sydney yesterday. A lot of lingering smoke was too. The Prime Minister used his time in the New South Wales capital to spruik his Government’s new Religious Discrimination Bill, then he got trapped in a building for 30 minutes because the smoke was so bad it triggered a fire alarm and shut down all the lifts. Someone asked him whether volunteer firefighters, all of whom are working virtually around the clock to protect life and land, should be paid for their efforts. He said no.
He dodges the topic, and he stays largely silent, and he seemingly comments more on a volcanic eruption in New Zealand than he does these historic, unprecedented events that are occurring on his own front doorstep. And he does it because all this shit doesn’t really matter to him.
It doesn’t matter to Scott Morrison because he’s still got just under three years until he has to face another election. And electoral results are the only data pool he truly gives a flying fuck about.
Scott Morrison is a unique national leader in that he’s not in the role to act as a political administrator. He’s a marketer whose chief product is himself.
7 months ago the electoral data told him what to give a fuck about: Keeping the retirement fund of ageing upper middle class boomers slushed, doggedly pursuing dinosaur resources exports under the mythical promise of a waterfall of jobs even though all signs point to automation making that a virtual impossibility, and subscribing to a Trumpian personality cult that casts the puddle-thin religious values pushed by a corporate megachurch as omnipotent. That’s a church that is currently so aggrieved by the fact that its paid-up members can’t legally block gay people from buying a cake that they require dumbass legislation granting them that pissy ability, mind you.
That’s what Scott Morrison spent yesterday doing. He rose to his feet in a city where the air quality was about 11 times the level considered hazardous, and rather than addressing the growing crisis around him, he proudly trumpeted a bill that would allow doctors to actively withhold vital hormone medication from trans patients if they “conscientiously objected” to it.
The data doesn’t tell Scott Morrison to consider climate change a vital issue. It’s a fringe topic, to him. Ignoring it gained him 1 seat in Federal Parliament.
Data told him that people like sport. So he swanned about Sharks games with his awful gut out choking down tinnies while trying not to touch anyone. Data told him that the dying mining boom was creating a jobs void, so he held up a lump of coal in Parliament and promised the moon. Data told him telling people climate change could destroy the economy worse than the land would work.
He won the election. The data was, more or less, proven right. No amount of protests, or shouting, or media criticism is going to change his mind. Not until 2022, when the data might be different. Of course by then, it might be too late. It almost is now.
But it doesn’t matter. Right now, none of this matters to him. Scott Morrison, the ad man, has seen the data, and it’s told him he does not have to care.
So he doesn’t.