Scott Morrison’s government has been rocked by a fresh senior ministerial resignation only two months out from the election – and this time it’s Morrison himself.
The PM tendered his resignation earlier this morning to the clerk of the Parliament after “a period of immense soul-searching in the wake of the Christchurch massacres”.
Mr Morrison told Sky News Australia exclusively: “My wife told me I spent a lot of last night tongue talking in my sleep and she asked me what was wrong over breakfast.
“I asked her bluntly: ‘Do you think I came across sincerely enough yesterday when I spoke on the New Zealand tragedies or did I just look like someone cynically hoping to pull some some extra votes out of the sad events over in New Zealand?’
“She replied simply: ‘Sincerity has never been your strong suit, love’, and that’s when it hit me.
“I grasped her hands and said: ‘Darling, is it at all possible, do you think, that because our side of politics has vilified Muslim refugees coming by boat to Australia as ‘illegals’ and ‘criminals’ over the past decade, that those words have had an impact, no matter how infinitesimally small, in shaping the mindsets of these gutless cowards who have committed these heinous crimes across the Tasman? Please, honey, be fair dinkum and tell me the truth.’
“I could see her grappling with an answer to that so I continued: ‘You’d have to agree my government has spent a large amount of time over recent months trying to create the impression that each and every refugee on Manus Island and Nauru are murderers, rapists or pedophiles?
‘And I have spent a lot of time proclaiming that these awful people will never set foot on mainland Australia if I have anything to do with it, no matter how sick they proclaim to be and despite what the laws of the land now say’.
“I could see her grappling with an answer to that as well so I continued: ‘And I did support 100 per cent that arsehole Dutton when he outrageously claimed those refugees were already pushing Australians aside in hospital queues? And that those refugees would also have Australians evicted from their homes’.
“I then said to the missus: ‘Then there was the time in late 2010 when as shadow immigration minister I urged the Opposition to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about ‘Muslim immigration’, ‘Muslims in Australia’ and the ‘inability’ of Muslim migrants to integrate’.
“I squeezed my darling wife’s hands tight as I could see she was still grappling with answers to all these points, when fresh tongue-voices in my head gave me the answer I didn’t want to hear before my wife could say the same thing.
“I said to my wife: ‘I’ve been a total and disgusting prick, haven’t I? I haven’t been very Christian, have I? In fact, I’ve been a lowlife cunt?’ and when she nodded I knew what I had to do.”
Morrison’s resignation has already set the phones ringing as prime-ministerial aspirants line up to contest the Liberal leadership at a meeting expected to be called for Monday.
The winner will be Australia’s sixth prime minister in the past decade and the 32nd since federation.