Senior officials of the federal Labor Party are worried that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is subtly reshaping his public image as “the new Bob Hawke”.
“I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I get the vibe that Morrison’s minders and Liberal Party strategists are trying to recast him in the public’s mind as the new Hawkie,” one worried ALP veteran told The Bug.
“I went to Friday’s public memorial service for Bob Hawke in Sydney and I must say when Scott Morrison took to the lectern (main picture) I had an uneasy feeling that he might just be laying claim to Bob’s mantle as a knockabout, larrikin type of bloke, and a man of the people rather than just another politician.”
The anonymous Labor insider said he had experienced an uneasy feeling about the Prime Minister’s image shift since well before the May 18 election result.
“The campaign Morrison ran against Bill Shorten only made me worry more,” he said.
“The PM was out there interacting heavily with average Australians in the same way Hawkie did.
“He had a go at lots of sports, appeared at otherwise daggy venues like bingo halls and RSL and bowls clubs, he wasn’t afraid to wear silly hats, he had a beer in his hands when appropriate, all of which suggest a Hawke-like approach to governing and campaigning.
“By contrast Bill Shorten was stuck in front of microphones droning on about policy details.
“But there was definitely something about Morrison on Friday that caused me to worry that he may be staking his claim to Hawkie’s mantle.
“I’m still not sure exactly what it was that started me thinking that, but I’m convinced there’s something going on, and that has me and others in Labor concerned.
“I must admit I was impressed by Morrison’s tribute to Hawke at the memorial service, and the personal touches he injected such as when he paused to leer at young women in the audience, how he kept touching his ear and nose when speaking, the drawn-out guttural ‘aaaaahhhhs’ sprinkled throughout his speech, and especially when he interrupted his speech to skoll a yard of beer.”