A PR stunt by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s minders has backfired after a Melbourne department store ordered him out of its Santa’s House display and off its premises.
Mr Morrison’s office tried to downplay the incident but The Bug understands the Myer store management was appalled at the mental anguish Mr Morrison inflicted on the children who visited him while he was disguised as a store Santa Claus (pictured) in what was supposed to be a quick photo op to emphasise the PM’s Christian values and strong family links.
Myer is also understood to have expressed concerns about Mr Morrison’s abuse of the parents of the children.
One mother who did not wish to be identified told The Bug she was horrified at the Prime Minister’s heavy-handed politicking while playing Santa.
“He’s totally ruined Christmas for the children who were only after a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wanted to find under their Christmas tree this year,” she said.
“My Dillenn didn’t want to hear how our family would be out on the streets if Bill Shorten implemented his negative-gearing reforms. And he certainly didn’t want to hear that he should be grateful if he found a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking because it was so good for generating electricity. Dillenn was only asking for the latest i-pad.”
Another mother said: “He reduced my Jorja to tears when he asked her if she agreed with Michaelia Cash and Pauline Hanson that there was something icky about Bill Shorten and it was best to keep your distance from him. She’s two, for goodness sake. Jorja only sat on his lap to ask for the latest i-pad.”
And a Toorak dwarf hired by the store to play one of Santa’s elves told The Bug Mr Morrison had also:
- Reduced a boy, 7, to tears by telling him that Bill Shorten was the greatest threat to the nation’s security in its history and the boy would end up in a Chinese labour camp should Labor be elected so he’d never get to use an i-pad; and
- Made a little girl, 5, hysterical by telling her many of Bill Shorten’s facial moles were serious melanomas and he was unlikely to even be alive to contest the next election. The girl had a mole on her own chin and had only sat on Santa’s lap to ask for the latest i-pad.
A federal government insider told The Bug Mr Morrison’s office came up with the idea of having the PM play Santa.
“They thought it was a sure-fire way to put the PM in a positive light in the lead-up to Christmas,” the insider said. “We know there have been concerns expressed within the government at the way ScoMo has come across to the public in recent weeks.
“He’s looked so desperate to play politics regardless of the venue or event so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to show the PM’s softer, kinder side. Okay, we were wrong. It seems you can’t take the marketing out of the marketer.
“Which is a pity because of the very negative feedback when he visited the Pelligrini’s coffee shop in Melbourne after the death of one of its owners in that appalling terror attack prior to the Victorian state election.
“Scott said and did all the right things until asked if the Libs would win the state election and then he switched straight into his usual over-the-top hardcore politicking and back-slapped the Liberal Opposition Leader who went on the visit with him. What was his name?
“Just this weekend when announcing the nation’s new Governor-General ScoMo couldn’t resist using it as a platform to attack Bill Shorten and Labor. So I’m not surprised by the problems that arose at Myer in Melbourne.”
The Bug has been told that Mr Morrison, dressed as Santa, had not long taken his place on a big chair in Santa’s House within the Myer toy department when the problems began.
A Myer staffer who witnessed the incident said that after one child who already has the latest i-pad asked for a battery-operated toy for Christmas, Mr Morrison went on a five-minute rant about energy policy, reducing the child to tears.
“When the boy’s mother went to comfort him, Morrison grilled her on how she was planning to vote at next year’s federal election,” the Myer employee said. “When she refused to engage with him and began walking away, Mr Morrison launched an anti-Labor tirade in her direction and accused her of being a puppet of criminal communist unions hellbent on bringing Australia to a standstill.
“This behaviour was repeated for other children until one of the mothers complained to management.
“When confronted by store management, the PM lost it completely and stormed out of the toy department, cursing and swearing at the parents and their children and saying they’d pay if he gets re-elected.
“Someone must have reported it all to the police because the next thing I saw were two cops with guns drawn (pictured) telling Mr Morrison to stop, get on his knees, and put his hands behind his head.
“Unless you come from Melbourne you might think that was a bit over the top.
“But you need to remember that this is a city that’s seen several terror and other deadly incidents in its CBD in the past couple of years.
“I totally understand the police response when they were told there was a large bearded man in the store with a clearly padded tummy and muttering unspecified threats,” the Myer employee said.
The Bug understands Mr Morrison was taken into custody but released soon after.
Former Liberal Party Victorian president Michael Kroger defended the PM’s actions: “Politics is a brutal, tough business. You’ve got to take every opportunity to sell your beliefs and promote your cause. So I say to all these mothers: toughen up, princesses! Your kids’ future is on the line here.”
And a spokesperson for Mrs Morrison said her husband’s comments were not unlike those he regularly made while saying grace before evening meals at their Cronulla home.