By The Bug’s national political editor Arsis Renviellee
Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame on all you heartless cynics out there who believe Prime Minister Scott Morrison is an empathy-free-zone sociopath who deliberately conjured up those TV interview tears the other night when he talked of the effects his coronavirus shutdown decisions have had on him.
The Bug can reveal that the PM, far from wanting to garner popularity through such a show of emotion, was embarrassed by the display and thought it weakened his image as the resolute, wartime leader Australians have clearly embraced.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann strengthened the PM’s resolve to toughen up when he phoned Mr Morrison after the interview was aired and told him to stop being “a soft girly boy cry baby”.
A senior staffer in the Prime Minister’s Office said such displays of emotion were now “a thing of the past” due to a clever little pre-appearance routine the PM had adopted.
“Before each media conference and major interview, Mr Morrison now takes a few minutes alone to look at pictures (shown above) of the Biloela family rotting away on Christmas Island or similar archival shots of forlorn refugees behind barbed wire on Manus Island and in PNG with eyes that clearly show they have lost all hope of ever being freed.
“He also flips through a scrapbook of news clippings from February 2011 carrying stories of his comments questioning why the then Gillard Government was paying the travel costs of family members attending the funerals of the 48 asylum seekers who drowned in the Christmas Island boat disaster a few months before.
“That always brings a slight smile, or at least a bit of a smirk, back to his face, especially the lines where he argued the families of the dozens of deceased were getting special treatment not available to Australian citizens.
“He has also taken to quickly reading through reports from last year harking back to a 2011 Coalition Shadow Cabinet discussion when Tony Abbott was Opposition Leader at which Scott did not urge the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about Muslims and to blatantly appeal to the public perception of their inability to integrate to gain votes.
“The memory of those statement that he didn’t make also cheers him up no end.
“The PM also sometimes pulls off his bookshelf a copy of the November 2014 report by the Australian Human Rights Commission which found that he failed in his responsibility to act in the best interests of children in detention during his time as Immigration Minister and that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seeker children had caused them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays, and was in breach of Australia’s international obligations.
“All of these remind him proudly of how he’s kept our borders secure and his people safe, and gives him the confidence to get through such events without mishap.
“Mr Morrison is acutely aware that British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill never, ever, got emotional in public although he did sob openly whenever he ran out of his favourite single malt in his little art studio at his summer residence, Chartwell, but thankfully no-one was there to see it.”