Activists Took An Artist’s Bust Of Scott Morrison Around Melb & Plot Twist, It Was Made Of Coal

A striking new piece of Aussie artwork was unveiled today. It’s a big ‘ol bust of PM Scott Morrison made out of his fave rock: coal.

The bust was unveiled in Melbourne on Saturday as part of a collab between Sydney-based artist Louis Pratt, political activist group GetUp and climate-focused creative agency Rouser.

It was set up at Federation Square, then took a sojourn to Brighton Beach Boxes followed by visits to Federal Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson’s and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s electoral offices.

Louis Pratt’s inspiration for the piece — which weighs a whopping 40 kilos and stands 186 cm high — was Morrison’s infamous coal speech back in 2017.

Back when he was Treasurer under Malcolm Turnbull, Morrison brought a lump of coal into Parliament because he’s earth’s shittest Santa.

“Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared, it won’t hurt you, it’s coal,” he said, passing the lump around in a farce of show and tell.

I’d much rather see people’s shite holiday snaps and favourite beanie baby than Scott Morrison’s comfort coal.

The goal of the coal (bust) is getting climate change at the forefront of voters’ minds in contested seats ahead of the Federal Election. Which, by the way, we’re now halfway through the campaign for. Time is fake.

GetUp’s Climate Justice Campaign Director Kathryn McCallum spoke to PEDESTRIAN.TV about the bust. She pointed out that on the ABC’s vote compass, climate change came up most frequently as voters’ number one issue.

“The Morrison government has no plan to replace burning coal and gas with clean energy this decade, which urgently needs to happen,” McCallum said.

“Scott Morrison’s term has been bookended by two climate disasters in the Black Summer fires and the mega floods in Queensland and New South Wales.

“And he’s failed to step up with any kind of plan that’s going to protect communities.”

The bust itself is not only visually impressive. It also specifically references Scott Morrison’s Parliament speech in more than just its material. Louis Pratt captured the expression on Morrison’s face when he was talking about coal.

“He was laughing. He thought it was a joke. He said, ‘this is coal, don’t be afraid’,” McCallum said.


She believes the bust symbolises how the Government has approached climate change.

“I think having a visual piece that encapsulates all of that — cast in the very material that he has these waved in the Parliament and… the burning of which is heating our atmosphere and harming people through worse fires and floods,” she continued.

“It just brings together a lot of elements into a simple visual statement.”

According to McCallum, members of the public who got to see bust were “quite fascinated”. Passers by were coming up to have a looksee — I mean, how could you not. It’s a big fuck-off bust of the PM made out of coal.

And of course, loads of people took selfies.

“We already know that voters want more action on climate from the Government. But the little interactions people had with the statue were quite beautiful,” McCallum said.

“It looks unusual in [that] context. It’s like a piece of art or a statue, but then you’re looking at it going ‘Something’s weird with this, like, what is it? What is it made of?’”

Over the course of the day, the coal on the bust began crumbling. I mean, not to get all Year 12 English on you, but there’s a prescient metaphor right there about the sustained damage climate change wreaks on our earth. I personally would like to keep living in the world, not on a pile of coal dust.

For McCallum, it’s time for an urgent call to action.

“The political parties want to avoid the simple fact that we need to stop burning coal and gas really as quickly as we can,” she said.

“They don’t really want to talk about it in this election campaign, even though it is so obvious to the public.

“It’s time to step up and get beyond that — and the urgency of that is kind of extreme.”