Prime Minister Scott Morrison has got himself a bus, and it’s currently touring Queensland.
It’s not just any bus. It’s a big, blue-painted bus, with Morrison’s name and slogan on the side, along with his fresh ‘Scomo’ signature. The picture above explains it.
Morrison is currently touring the state to listen to people, (although as Fairfax reports, his bus will be travelling some considerable distances sans Morrison, while the PM jumps on a plane). As Morrison said on social media, “I’m listening, I’m hearing and we’re getting on with it.”
So far, he appears to have heard a message from Mick Fanning’s mum, who gave Morrison a Rip Curl hat. He picked up a large box of strawberries from a strawberry farm and announced the relaxing of work holiday visas. He also announced $200 million to help secure Townsville’s water future.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) November 5, 2018
He’s also using a lot of ‘mateship’ language, if I can call it that. Things in Morrison’s world right now are ‘fair dinkum’ or not, like power — which is apparently ‘fair dinkum’ if it comes from a coal-fired power station — and Australian businesses, which should be ‘fair dinkum’ supported by Australians
And he is, of course, listening.
It might just be that he has a case of selective hearing.
For example, did he hear the message from Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who urged Morrison during a one-on-one meeting last week to set up Australia to take the lead on tackling climate change in the region?
Did he hear or read the message from the 90 scientists who co-authored the IPCC paper released last month, regarding the “urgent transformative reform” the world needs to make in order to avoid the absolute worst consequences of warming?
Maybe he heard a message from the voters of Wentworth, who issued a sweeping push against his party in favour of a candidate who put climate change, and the need to urgently get kids off Nauru, high on her agenda?
Has he read the story after story about the current rate of domestic violence in Australia, and the shocking number of women killed by violence just in the past month alone?
Is he listening to war veterans, asking them what support they actually need before backing an airline’s campaign to roll-out an American-style ‘priority boarding’ system for ADF veterans?
And speaking of attempting to Americanise our culture, is Morrison watching/listening/reading about what’s happening in the United States right now and wondering what leadership he could take in order to avoid such divisive, dangerous, and polarising debate further spilling into Australia?
The PM’s ‘listening tour’ could use some fair dinkum silence. Less campaign slogans. Less marketing jingos, and some time spent actually paying attention to the messages being shared right now.