Anytime I see anything particularly funny on the internet, my first assumption is that it’s fake. I assume it’s a staged video or a photoshopped screenshot or something someone has made up to get those sweet, sweet retweets. This is not a baseless thing to assume: the internet is a cruel mistress as it pertains to things being made-up or exaggerated. So when I saw a transcription of an exchange between Scott Morrison and an unnamed journalist that perfectly encapsulated the absurdity of Morrison’s ‘bus trip’ through Queensland, I thought it was fake.
I had assumed that Twitter user Andrew Plumley was employing satire, exaggerating the situation to highlight how silly it is. I thought he was mimicking the form of a Clarke and Dawe sketch for comedic effect. I was wrong.
In case you weren’t aware, prime-minister-for-now Scott Morrison has a bus — a bus he is using to travel throughout Queensland and talk to people about the issues. Except, he kind of isn’t. In an incredibly telling story broken by Fairfax, it was revealed that regular-old-Aussie-bloke Scott Morrison would be doing most of the journey by a “Royal Australian Air Force VIP jet“.
Morrison has defended this decision, saying that it allows him more time to spend with Queenslanders, which only really invites the question: Why have the bus at all, mate? Luckily for us, ABC Sunshine Coast reporter Owen Jacques took the question right to him at a doorstop in the Sunny Coast suburb of Kunda Park yesterday. I really cannot stress enough that this is taken from PM’s office’s own transcript:
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’re on the bus tour. Why are you flying?
PRIME MINISTER: Well the bus is going all the way up to Rockie and that’s where it was always planning to go. I mean, it’s a big state and I need to cover as much of it in four days as I can. So we were never planning to take the bus to Townsville, we’d always planned to take that last leg up to Townsville by plane because that was the most effective way to get there and to spend the most time there with people on the ground. I mean, these visits aren’t about sitting on a bus. They’re about actually engaging with small businesses and our supporters and the people of Queensland and listening to them.
JOURNALIST: Then why have the bus?
PRIME MINISTER: Because it gets me from A to B.
JOURNALIST: Will you be taking the bus to Rockhampton from here?
PRIME MINISTER: Yes. The bus will be going to Rockhampton from here. That’s right.
JOURNALIST: With you on it?
PRIME MINISTER: I’ve got to get there earlier than the bus tonight.
JOURNALIST: So you will be flying to Rockhampton?
PRIME MINISTER: I’ll get into Rockhampton tonight and I’ve got a programme tonight in Rockhampton and the bus can’t get me there quick enough so I’ve got to fly.
JOURNALIST: So you’ll be flying to Rockhampton and the bus will catch up with you and then you’ll fly onto Townsville?
PRIME MINISTER: I’ll be flying onto Townsville. And your point is what?
JOURNALIST: I’m just interested in the point of the bus if you’re not on it.
PRIME MINISTER: I am on it, I just got off it.
JOURNALIST: But not onto Rockhampton or Townsville?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well it’s a practical thing. I want to spend as much time on the ground with Queenslanders, and when I can be on the bus and go from place to place on the bus, that’s great. But I’m not going to sacrifice time with Queenslanders, listening to them and hearing them and talking to them about what’s important to them just to satisfy the media’s interest in the timetable for the bus.
He might not have answered the question satisfactorily himself but the answer is pretty obvious. It’s the same reason he unconvincingly wears a surf-brand cap and peppers ‘fair dinkum’ into every sentence he says with a frequency that is, quite frankly, alarming. He wants the appearance of authenticity without having earned any of it. He is, in short, a fuckwit.
You can watch the video below:
Image: Getty Images / Ryan Pierse
So glad I could part of this surreal moment in time. pic.twitter.com/r2Q6YJRN3u
— Owen Jacques (@Owenjay) November 6, 2018