Can the perfect storm be repeated?

Can Scott Morrison recreate the perfect storm that swamped the Labor Party last election just as it was about to enter the safe harbour of government?

The category-five event was whipped up by many factors: the never-ending personal attacks on Bill Shorten’s character, already seriously damaged by an expensive taxpayer-funded royal commission witchhunt and years of vicious attack in Question Time, a litany of lies about Labor’s policies to hide the fact that the LNP had bugger all of their own except a pitch to the greed of voters who would get to keep more of their own income taxes, a compliant mainstream media that ignored the economic failures and corrupt practices of the first five plus years of LNP power since 2013 and an unprecedented $100 million cross-platform, anti-Labor ad blitz by the worker-hating Clive Palmer.

And only now do we know that storm was strengthened by at least one category by the rorting of billions of taxpayer dollars – some of it most likely criminal – in industrial strength pork-barreling of community grants funding that the likes of Gladys Berejiklian now finds perfectly normal politics.

The chances of that perfect storm being repeated are enhanced in some ways; diminished in others.

Intensifying it will be an even more compliant mainstream media than two-and-a-half years ago – hard to believe, I know – and a cashed-up Palmer who’s likely to spend up big again.

His unprecedented intervention was the main reason why the good ship Labor foundered in 2019 just as one online bookie had paid out on its prospects of docking safely.

The election will be as late as possible, so the pork-barreling part of Morrison’s successful template for whipping up that perfect storm is yet to come. Plus the $500 taxpayer-funded “how good have we been!” prepoll ad blitz.

What won’t be the same? It’s too late to use public funds to besmirch Albanese. Labor has also made itself a small policy target. And the public is now much more aware that Morrison is a lazy skipper of his own ship, one that now has a helluva lot of barnacles that need scrapping away.

One key thing Smoko could be missing next election is the luxury of a daily photo shoot of him behind the wheel of a truck, throwing a hay bale off a trailer and kicking a ball around while the mainstream media pillory poor old Labor with demands to know how much combatting climate change is going to cost.

That played very well for him last time. Shorten fumbled that ball. Someone like Hawke might have calmed the waters quickly with a “I don’t give a fuck how much it costs” snarl.

Smoko’s new dilemma comes about by the startling news that the Dirty Digger, aka Rupert Murdoch, now thinks net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is a good idea. The cunt must have finally cottoned onto the fact that coal’s fucked. Or sold his shares in that sector.

Smoko had been looking good. He’s thrown some wishy-washy words about that made Peter Hartcher and others wet their pants but a familiar course was there to be steered: drink a beer, hit a tennis ball, wave from a truck window while poor old Albo got scuppered by his mates in the media shouting “how much will it cost?”.

Which brings us to the question: can Murdoch have this change of heart and still whip up support for his man with 200 point headings that can turn Smoko into CLIMATE CHANGE MAN!

Vaccine Man (at top) came and went. As did Fortress Australia Man. Smoko is now pretty excited about his new gig as Freedom Man, but one that could easily meet strong headwinds from states he can’t afford to lose any seats in.

No. Climate Change Man could work, with Newscorpe’s help. It’s bullshit of course but when has that ever stopped any Newscorpse campaign?

But here’s the catch and it’s a doozey. With so many climate-change deniers in Smoko’s coalition ranks, that’s going to require marketing and people-management skills from Smoko that I for the life of me have never, ever, observed in the man.

Don Gordon-Brown