In a bid to breathe life into his flagging government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finally agreed to a sit-down interview with ABC TV’s national current affairs program 7.30. We present a transcript of the pre-recorded interview conducted by host Leigh Sales and due to air tonight.
Leigh Sales: Thanks for finally agreeing to an interview with 7.30. Can I start by asking why have you taken the decision to go on this so-called “war footing” of yours?
Prime Minister: Leigh, we face problems on multiple fronts in the current and ongoing crisis gripping our nation. I cannot overstate the existential threat we face. This decision will help address the current debilitating problems we are facing.
LS: So the two war cabinets a week are designed to move things along?
PM: Well, basically it’s to share the blame around with the states but while I didn’t think of that, sure, why not?
LS: So if things keep going pearshaped, the blame can be shared 50-50?
PM: Well, I was thinking more 1-8.
LS: One to 8? How’s that?
PM: Well, the federal government and also the six states and two territories each copping their fair share.
LS: That’s fantastic blame-shifting for what is essentially a federal responsibility?
PM: Thank you.
LS: This “war footing” you keep mentioning … it also sounds very militaristic? Amy Remeikis earlier today called it ‘nationalistic bullshit’.
PM: That’s right. It’s largely so I can talk about sovereign risk a lot and appear statesmanlike. Do you know one very senior politics scribe believes I could one day be the best wartime leader this nation has ever had?
LS: Paul Kelly?
PM: No. He’s a journo.
LS: Surely the shift to a “war footing” is all about improving the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?
PM: Huh? Well, I guess that’s be a potential spin-off. I didn’t think of that but, sure, why not.
LS: So, if not the vaccine, what’s the main driver for going on a “war footing”?
PM: Gosh, Leigh, where do I start? Let’s see…. rape allegations. More rape allegations. A female minister calling one of the victims a ‘lying cow’. Blokes jizzing over the desks of women MPs. Bullying allegations. An MP trolling women in his electorate and being caught snapping an upskirt pic. More bullying, sexism, and other misbehaviour allegations. Now I’m accused of bullying the former CEO of Australia Post. Need I go on? So help me Christ! And, by the way, I mean that last bit literally.
LS: So the existential problem you speak about is your own party’s and therefore your own government’s overall, entrenched, and seemingly intractable culture that devalues and denies opportunity and advancement to women?
PM: Pretty much.
LS: So the “war footing” you speak of is just a ploy to divert attention from all of those issues? I mean, at the moment your government is….how to put it politely? An ongoing 24/7 free-range clusterfuck.
PM: Look, I don’t accept the premise of your question.
LS: But it’s a shemozzle isn’t it, and you as leader must take full responsibility, shouldn’t you?
PM: You might use that word but I wouldn’t.
LS: What word would you use then?
PM: I wouldn’t use such a sexist term. Now that I’m more fully aware of the problems women in the workforce face, including in politics, I prefer to say it’s definitely a personmozzle.
LS: So how will things change?
PM: Well, for a start, last night I spoke to my wife Jenny. And she said: ‘You need to……
(Off-camera groans and muffled comments such as “For fuck’s sake” from studio floor crew.)
LS: Sorry to interrupt Prime Minister, but all that women are seeking from you and any government of any political colour is equity. Equal rights and opportunity. Basic parity.
PM: Well, Leigh, I think you know from my record that when it comes to equal representation of women my whole approach has always been based on parody.
LS: Can you just repeat that, just to be clear?
(Mr Morrison pauses for a few second)
PM: Did someone say KFC?
(Mr Morrison stands and flees the studio.)