Thursday , December 12 2019
Home / Latest News / PM must control his gut feelings

PM must control his gut feelings

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had a really lousy week in Parliament. From a policy point of view, he will rue losing a vote in the Senate on anti-union legislation. But it was his decision to get involved personally in the case of Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s incompetent hit-job on City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore that could do most damage to his image.
It is a mess that raises concerns about the Prime Minister’s judgment, his commitment to due process and his excessive reliance on his own gut feelings.
Unless he corrects course, it could undermine the image he has earned as a decent, stable suburban dad who people can trust.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison listens as Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor responds to a question during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison listens as Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor responds to a question during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday .Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The case goes back to late September when Mr Taylor, who is also in charge of reducing carbon emissions, sent a letter to a Daily Telegraph journalist accusing the environmentalist, Ms Moore, and her allies of rorting their travel budget and wasting carbon.
In fact, it was Mr Taylor who was wasting his time as minister attacking someone in local government. It was a facile stunt not worthy of student politics and it also turned out to be based on a lie. The premise of the letter was a table with some crazily inflated numbers on Ms Moore’s expenses. When Ms Moore pointed out the numbers were way out, Mr Taylor claimed he had downloaded the table from the council’s website. But that explanation is almost certainly untrue.
After an uncomfortable delay, Mr Taylor issued a grudging Clayton’s apology which still failed to give any explanation of who had cooked up the fake table.
It might be that Mr Taylor got the table from somewhere else and neglected to check it, which would be bad enough. Or it might be that he or someone in his staff produced the table themselves knowing it was a fake, which is arguably fraud.
The ALP asked NSW Police to investigate, and this week police issued a statement confirming they had set up a ‘‘strike force’’ to look into the matter.
While the letter seems trivial, it is a scandal with a very clear computer trail which could prove very embarrassing.
Yet Mr Morrison decided he should personally call NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who he has previously said is a friend. It was unnecessary and created the perception that he was trying to use his position and personal connections to influence a criminal investigation.
The Age would argue that Mr Morrison should, in fact, be personally concerned about what went wrong in Mr Taylor’s office.

Loading

Mr Taylor’s explanation so far has been nonsensical and it raises questions about his credibility. If ministers can disseminate fake news with impunity it undermines faith in government.
Many voters will likely not be too concerned about the latest tit-for-tat scandal in Canberra and Mr Morrison probably does not have too much to worry about.
Yet the past week provides a warning to Mr Morrison about how good luck can turn.
The dispirited opposition has given him a fairly easy run since the election but this week has given Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese a few wins.
The answer for Mr Morrison must be to set an agenda and maintain better control of his government and himself.

About admin

Check Also

Storm coach Bellamy eyes end of the road

Asked if he would still be coaching in five years time, Bellamy told Sky Sports Radio …