At the end of his government, in the federal election of March 1983, Malcolm Fraser was so desperate to land a blow on the surging campaign of Opposition Leader Bob Hawke that he tried to fire up all the scares at once.
And Hawke humiliated him by dismissing them all at once.
When Fraser told a rally that “people would be better off keeping their money under the bed” if Labor won, Hawke snarked back: “But you can’t put your money under the bed… that’s where the commies are.”
Anthony Albanese could learn from that.
An opponent who’s being desperate and ridiculous can be easily be made to look… desperate and ridiculous.
That’s where Morrison is now, with his latest cunning plan: framing Albanese as the Manchurian Candidate. Or, to make explicit what he’s actually saying, straight up claiming the alternative prime minister is an agent of the Chinese state.
As a plan, it’s got a couple of points in its favour, but just a couple and they’re weak.
1. Even disengaged, low information voters (Morrison’s favourite demographic) probably understand that China has been attempting to corrupt Australian politics and suborn political actors here for at least five years. They might not know the deets. They wouldn’t be able to tell the Ministry of State Security from the United Front Work Department if they tripped over them at Yum Cha, but it’s… it’s the vibe of it… it’s Mabo… and ah, no that’s it. It’s the vibe.
2. And… ah, no. That’s probably it. Unless ‘something, something racism’ counts as a point in Morrison’s tactical favour. And when it’s these fucking guys, it always does.
3. That’s about it.
4. But no! Wait. Now I remember there is one other point. The media, of course. Not just Rupert Murdoch’s obedient dribblers but the Very Serious Pundits in what’s left of Fairfax, who write shit like this:
In a growing sign that Scott Morrison is seeking to elevate national security as a key point of contrast in the lead-up to the election, the Prime Minister said Mr Albanese was the “Chinese government’s pick at this election”. - SMH. Anthony Galloway
You see, another, arguably more accurate way of putting that, might have been:
In a wretched moment of floor-shitting panic and humiliation, Scott Morrison tried to scare a bunch of mouth breathers and numpties into voting for him by pretending Anthony Albanese is a giant mechanical murderbot remotely piloted by Xi Jinping.
But Ninefax likes to pretend they’re ‘independent, always’. So even though Morrison is transparently searching for something, anything to talk about other than last week’s shit show, which was itself a distraction from massively bunglefucking the Commonwealth’s Covid response, they lean into meaningless garbage like “Scott Morrison is seeking to elevate national security as a key point of contrast.” This lazy fake-balance journalism not only accepts the premise of Morrison’s obvious and easily disprovable lies, but presents them to readers as something they might like to consider.
As an alternative, perhaps, just for context, readers might like to consider the sour reek of rancid flopsweat coming off the PM as his pants observably combust while yammering this nonsense.
But, you know, independent, always.
Two men who did prove themselves independent this week were the current and former directors of ASIO, Mike Burgess and Dennis Richardson, both of whom put their heads up to denounce Morrison’s attempts to fit up Albanese as a Chinese agent of influence.
Richardson, now out of public life, was able to speak more freely, calling it one of the grubbiest episodes he’d ever witnessed and putting in his bid for this year’s Nobel Prize for Statements of the Bleeding Obvious when he pointed out that there was no daylight between the Government and Opposition on China policy.
The other point he made, which is worth repeating, is that by trying to slander Albanese as a Chinese agent—and that is what Morrison and Dutton are doing, despite the pissweasel smarm and protestations of innocence—the only net beneficiary of this desperate bullshit is, of course, China.
By deliberately trashing any national consensus on how to deal with an authoritarian hyperpower, Morrison and Dutton significantly degrade Australia’s resilience in the face of a continuing campaign of punitive harassment by that hyper power.
There really is a senior Australian politician who is serving Beijing’s interests in this.
But it’s not Anthony Albanese.
Alien Sideboob is a reader-supported publication.
In the Letters page of The Age earlier this week - a reader made the point that not only are "the Chinese" in favour of Albanese - so too, poll-wise, are something like two-party-preferred around 57% of Australians. Is Morrison arguing we are all dupes or bots of the Chinese Premier? I remember the day Hawke laughed the money-under-the-bed and "commies" out of the paranoia pages of the right's handbook on elections scare-mongering. Thanks for including that tale here, John!
Remind me again how LNP policy deals with the threat of Chinese economic monoculture? Oh that's right. They sell our country's most strategc northern port to them as well as the country's largest coal port, 45% of our water, 18% of all real estate transactions last year etc etc etc!
I thought ScuMo had truly jumped the Prime Ministreial shark by playing that fucking banjo. Recent Sino-paranoia proves me wrong though.