Scott Morrison has well and truly put his foot in it after the Liberals‘ electoral defeat in Wentworth overnight, likening the spirit of his party to that of the Invictus Games, in a speech which has since been slammed as “shameful”.
Conservatives had held the seat of Wentworth since federation, but yesterday, voters turned on them, choosing independent candidate Dr Kerryn Phelps over Liberal Dave Sharma, and wiping out the government’s one-seat majority.
For reasons known only to himself, the Prime Minister decided that his concession speech would be a great time to draw a comparison between his party and the games, in which wounded army service personnel and veterans compete.
Per Nine News reports, he told supporters:
“I come with indomitable spirit of Liberals all across the country. Tonight I had the great privilege of joining those, and I don’t want to make a political point of this, at the Invictus Games but Invictus is all about the indomitable spirit. But you know we’ve got an indomitable spirit in this party.”
No matter how you try and interpret that statement, it’s a pretty wild comparison to draw. The Invictus Games, which derive their name from the Latin word meaning ‘unconquerable’, are meant to honour the triumph of wounded soldiers over adversity. The Liberal Party, on the other hand, are a bunch of craven opportunists who literally knifed their own leader just weeks ago, and have made such a mess of the government that their own biggest supporters have now turned on them. There’s not a whole lot of common ground there.
Needless to say, Scott Morrison was quickly slammed for his comments. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, soon to be Phelps’ colleague on the back bench, reacted with sheer incredulity, saying:
“Beyond disgraceful that the PM likened the Liberal Party challenge after the Wentworth by-election to the Australian Defence Force veterans in the Invictus Games. A deeply shameful comparison.”
Beyond disgraceful that the PM likened the Liberal Party challenge after the Wentworth byelection to the Australian Defence Force veterans in the Invictus Games. A deeply shameful comparison. AW #auspol #politas
— Andrew Wilkie MP (@WilkieMP) October 20, 2018
The Liberals’ Wentworth defeat has means that we now have a hung parliament, potentially making it tricky for the Morrison government to get legislation through the House of Representatives. Whatever happens from here, we’re probably in for a bumpy few months,