The sensitivity and compassion of a termite
Even One Nation said he went to far on this one…
This is The Illawarra Mercury cartoon from a day or two ago:
The destructiveness of a termite
How can anyone in their right mind so threaten the harmony our country has been thus far achieving in comparison with most other countries one could name? But that is what he is doing in his mad point-scoring on asylum seekers’ funerals and no, even worse, his willingness to cash in on the most ill-informed and most paranoid attitudes to Muslims in Australia.
THE opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about ”Muslim immigration”, "Muslims in Australia" and the "inability" of Muslim migrants to integrate.
Mr Morrison’s suggestion was made at a meeting in December at which ministers were asked to bring three ideas for issues on which the Coalition should concentrate its political attack during this parliamentary term.
The Herald has learnt several colleagues, including the deputy leader, Julie Bishop, and the former immigration minister Philip Ruddock, strongly disagreed with the suggestion, pointing out that the Coalition had long supported a non-discriminatory immigration policy and saying it was not an issue that should be pursued.
But after Mr Morrison’s comments this week on the cost of asylum-seeker funerals and his role in the controversial decision to cut a Howard government program to fund schools in Indonesia, colleagues are privately questioning whether he is trying to pursue an anti-Muslim political strategy unilaterally.
Even though the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, initially backed his stance on the cost of the funerals, Mr Morrison apologised yesterday for the "timing" of his comments, saying it was "inappropriate" and "insensitive" to make the remarks on the day the funerals were taking place.
Sources say Mr Morrison told the shadow cabinet meeting on December 1 at the Ryde Civic Centre that the Coalition should ramp up its questioning of "multiculturalism" and appeal to deep voter concerns about Muslim immigration and ”inability” to integrate.
The sources say Mr Ruddock, the shadow cabinet secretary, was particularly "blunt" in his rejection of the suggestion, saying a well-run and non-discriminatory immigration policy was essential for nation building.
Others said they had picked up on strong anti-Muslim sentiment in their electorates but thought running a campaign against Muslim immigration could be ”misconstrued”.
Mr Morrison declined to comment on the discussion.
I am glad so many of his colleagues could see something very wrong in his approach.
I think they should go the whole hog: bump him off the shadow front bench. He does not deserve to be anywhere near serious policy making in this area.
Dis-endorsing him at the next election would be a good move too. Come on, Shire people, how about it?
I commend my own post Inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style revisited to anyone wanting reasons to object to Morrison’s position.
Just in case you think I am biased…
Which I may well be.
However, you may be surprised to learn that I turned off Q&A on Monday night because I found John Pilger insufferable…
Pilger, Morrison and I do have something in common: we are all SBHS Old Boys!
On a lighter note
The Sydney Morning Herald’s political nostalgia showed up in a delicious typo earlier this week. See if you can spot it.
… and yes, I am in the Library at the moment.
In case you wondered.
Scott Morrison has denied the “gossip” in that Herald report, claiming it does not represent his views. This does not explain his crass politicking of the funeral issue, however.
And I am not sure I believe him either.
Looking at his age I thought he might have been in one of my most memorable classes at SBHS — 1986 — but I could not recall him, but it turns out he was 1985.
I was educated entirely at public schools, including Sydney Boys High where I completed my HSC and then went onto the University of NSW, where I received an Honours degree in Applied Science, studying economics and geography. Growing up, I was heavily involved in sports and enjoyed the local beach lifestyle. Today, I am a regular kayaker on Port Hacking.
I have also been highly active in church life from a young age. My Christian faith remains the driving force for my family, beliefs and values. My family and I are members of ShireLive Church, at Sutherland.
Prior to entering politics I worked for 15 years as a CEO and senior executive in various industry bodies and government agencies, both within Australia and overseas, including Managing Director of Tourism Australia and State Director of the Liberal Party.
Today’s Herald follow-up: Abbott ‘losing control’ in split over Muslims.
…The Labor MP Ed Husic, the only Muslim in Parliament, was not prepared to give Mr Morrison the benefit of the doubt.
Mr Husic was the victim of a racial smear campaign when he stood in the western Sydney seat of Greenway in 2004. At the time, Mr Morrison was the state director of the NSW party and ”I never heard him say out loud ‘this was unacceptable’,” Mr Husic said.
Citing shadow cabinet confidentiality, neither Mr Abbott nor Mr Morrison explicitly denied the report that Mr Morrison had urged shadow cabinet to capitalise on growing concerns about Muslim immigration, Muslims who were already in the country, and their ”inability” to integrate.
”The gossip reported today does not reflect my views,” Mr Morrison said. Mr Abbott said the claims were ”an absolute travesty of Scott’s position”.
”There’s no one who is a more decent and a more compassionate and a more sensitive person in public life,” he said.
But several shadow ministers insisted Mr Morrison had said the Coalition should target disenchantment with Muslims.
The opposition spokesman on finance, Andrew Robb, confirmed that Mr Morrison had discussed Muslim immigration at the meeting but said he had done it in a positive way…
See The 7.30 Report last night.