Scott Morison has some good qualities and he’s a country mile better than his predecessor but, you’ve got to admit it, essentially he’s a dunce.
You may remember that his ascension to the top job was marred by accusations from a number of female Liberal MPs, eg Julia Banks and Lucy Gichuhi, tacitly supported by Julie Bishop and Kelly Dwyer, that the overthrow of Turnbull was facilitated by ‘bullying’. No details were forthcoming but this narrative eventually morphed from a putative scandal confined to the leadership spill into a general culture of bullying of women throughout the Liberal Party. Ann Sudmalis, member for Gilmore, weighed in on this claiming she was bullied by her challenger for pre-selection. She then announced her decision to retire, ostensibly because she could take no more, and took off on a three month sabbatical to New York, courtesy of us.
Next it emerged that the ‘bullying’ (let’s call it lobbying) of Julia Banks was actually at the hands, not of the dreaded right wing supporters of Peter Dutton, but of ‘liberal’ supporters of Turnbull who were afraid a vote for Julie Bishop (Banks’ choice) rather than Scott Morrison, would split the anti-Dutton vote. Naturally, nobody at the ABC bothered to point out this inconvenient truth, so the general perception remains today that the Liberals are rife with ‘bullying’ – whatever that means.
So you would think the last thing a Prime Minister on a knife edge would need is any more distractions such as a re-emergence of the ‘bullying’ meme. You’d think he’d crawl through verbal barbed wire to avoid using the word ‘bullying’. But no, here he is parachuting Warren Mundine into Gilmore and accusing Grant Schultz of ‘bullying’ Ann Sudmalis. Morrison was walking on thin ice over ruling the decision of a local Branch but he had a better reason for it than punishing ‘bullying behaviour’ – that would be his estimation that Mundine has a better chance of holding the highly marginal seat than Schultz. So why not just say it?