Where is Scott Morrison & why is it a secret?

18 Dec


We awoke this morning to another day in which Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s whereabouts are unknown to the public, with his staff declining to enlighten us.

This isn’t the first time an Australian PM has gone missing: in 1967 Harold Holt went swimming and has never been heard of since. It’s unlikely Morrison has met the same fate, but we live in times when all things seem possible, generally not in a good way.

The secrecy surrounding the PM’s location is bizarre. Leaving the country in the midst of a national emergency with bushfires out of control and soaring temperatures threatening to elevate the danger to another level altogether is, in itself, an odd choice of timing. Shrouding his destination and the length of his absence in mystery only adds to the sense that we are in the hands of a very peculiar individual indeed. The man is already copping serious condemnation for clearing off,  why conceal his destination as well?

I’m trying hard to think of any other world leader who has simply disappeared from his country at any time, let alone when that country is in the crisis we’re currently experiencing. We’ve never had a PM who buggered off when there was a national disaster. They’ve all had their flaws, some of them major, but nobody ever buggered off and left the country rudderless and burning.

Rumours have placed Morrison in Hawaii, enjoying a summer break with his family. More rumours suggest Hawaii was merely a stop over in a much longer journey to New York, where his Pentecostal mentor, Hillsong’s Brian Houston, has just opened a church in a multi-million dollar property recently acquired by Hillsong in Manhattan. I couldn’t possibly comment. Well, actually, I could.

Many of us have been a bit slack about taking seriously Morrison’s commitment to his Pentecostal cult. Their beliefs are so wildly beyond anything any rational or even mildly irrational being can endorse, we’re inclined to laugh them off. This is a big mistake. Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought at the University of Queensland, Philip Almond, has explained five aspects of Pentecostalism that we need to familiarise ourselves with if we are to understand where Morrison’s faith will take us. Here you are.

There is also this piece in The Monthly by James Boyce titled The Devil and Scott Morrison which is a longer read, worth undertaking if you want to know how the PM’s religious beliefs influence his politics, particularly his attitude to deadly, rampaging bushfires and apocalyptic heat, as well as beliefs on poverty and god’s preference for the wealthy.

During the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009 Morrison, then an ambitious young Liberal MP, attacked Victoria’s Police Chief Christine Nixon for going out to dinner while her state was in crisis. He found her decision shocking, and not one a senior figure in public life should have made. However, not only has Morrison now buggered off in this current crisis, he’s gone overseas with no forwarding address giving no indication of how long he’ll be gone. Every criticism he made of Nixon must now be applied to him, tenfold.

In Morrison’s absence Emergency Leaders for Climate Action, a group that includes no fewer than 29 former emergences services chiefs, has announced it is prepared to take over if the government remains “missing in action”on the matter of future planning for emergencies similar or worse to the one we are currently experiencing. Group spokesperson Greg Mullins is the former NSW Fires and Rescue Commissioner. These are serious people with decades of experience. Mullins is still on the front line fighting fires.

There is, the group states, a “leadership vacuum” in Canberra and they will go ahead with planning for future emergencies whether Morrison is involved or not. I cannot remember a precedent for this in Australia or anywhere else, except when there’s a military coup. Essentially, the experts are declaring that the government is not functioning in these matters, and they are stepping in to take on responsibilities the government has declined to shoulder.


We are in interesting times. I have no idea how this will end, and neither does anybody else. Good luck, fellow travellers.

20 Responses to “Where is Scott Morrison & why is it a secret?”

  1. dickybeacholdalbion December 18, 2019 at 11:35 am #

    dont forgot the 6 days he went missing at the start of the national fire emergency, #haroldholt was trending on Twitter. He showed up with the wedding ring gone.


    • Barbara Farrelly December 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm #

      Bring back the opinion polls so we can watch Morrison’s numbers in freefall.


  2. aloysiustheodoreursus (@aloysiustheodo1) December 18, 2019 at 2:31 pm #

    Pentecostalism has its roots in the religious schisms of the 16th and 17th centuries in the UK. The famous ‘Pilgrim Fathers’ to the US were driven there by the intolerance of the Catholic-lite James 1st of England (generated years before by successive waves of Catholic v. Protestant to-ing and fro-ing, and burning and torturing), and that’s where they kept on schisming, added to by religious misfits from Europe over the course of the next 200 years, voodoo and Caribbean religions (yes, really: where do you think talking in tongues and snake handling comes from?) and sundry other traditions. However, it became more and more white, in response to Southern racial tensions, and more and more insular, whilst paradoxically professing its universal inclusiveness. Associated sects such as the Mormons and SD Adventists established themselves firmly as organisations, buoyed by religious freedom provisions in the US Constitution and legal code.
    A sense of (historical?) aggrievement and ‘special dispensation’ makes the doctrines of these organisations more and more particular to themselves, self-censoring and self-enforcing, and more about organisational order than any beneficial effect on the world, apart from the expansion of their own power and influence.

    The parallels to medieval monastic orders is an interesting one.

    When you allow a church to become a de facto business, you entrench its secular power (contrary to any direction in the New Testament). Connections to earthly power become more important, as does the polishing of its public persona an ever more seamless surface and image.

    A sense of impunity and arrogance often results, which leads to heinous crimes being carried out behind its closed doors.

    ‘The Doctrine of The Elect’ is something that has wide currency amongst various Pentecostal and charismatic churches, a direct inheritance from those religious refugees from Catholic and quasi-catholic Europe. It is a sense that they are the modern Israelites, the cast-out members of gGod’s chosen people, those that will be raised to Heaven in the Last Days (another Revelations-inspired theological improvisation), even after supposedly finding their new Promised Land in the US, they’d be raised from the imperfections and squalor of the material world by some magical means to assume bodily position at gGod’s Right Hand On High. It is an Idealist philosophy, a dim form of Platonism. Crude in- and out-groupism, from a psychological perspective.

    All in all, it’s a particularly unsophisticated and crude method to fool adherents into directing their material wealth (tithe-pledging is usually mandatory) into political programs of the leadership group of a particular church. And if it hoodwinks a particular country’s ‘secular’ leaders into doing its bidding, wel, that is gGod’s WIll working its way in the world.

    But what is missing most glaringly, is that most Christian of values: humility.


    • Anonymous December 18, 2019 at 7:10 pm #

      A mostly splendid analysis.

      However: “where do you think talking in tongues … comes from?” Read Saint Saul’s (I seriously don’t like that so-called saint) Acts of the Apostles.


    • Fiona December 18, 2019 at 8:06 pm #

      Yes and amen – especially to your final paragraph.


  3. Spoon Himself December 18, 2019 at 5:40 pm #

    “I’m trying hard to think of any other world leader who has simply disappeared from his country at any time, let alone when that country is in the crisis we’re currently experiencing.”

    I can think of one – Nero.

    For those of you unaware of Nero’s acts – Nero fiddled while Rome burned. I honestly don’t see how everyone is not noticing the parallels between Nero and Scomo


  4. silkworm December 18, 2019 at 5:59 pm #

    He’s on a Smoko break.


  5. Jane Rayner December 18, 2019 at 7:01 pm #

    I hope all Scum’s smug “quiet Australians” are proud of the choice the made electing this government. Perhaps they’ll chip in a few of their tax cut dollars toward helping the 700 families their hero has abandoned and the exhausted fire fighters.
    But Fraudburger’s got a surplus so who cares? Certainly not them.


  6. Fiona December 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm #

    Jennifer, if I weren’t so angry I would weep.


  7. Patricia Rutherford December 19, 2019 at 2:21 am #

    The lack of #Leadership from #Morrison & the #LNP on the #ClimateCrisis & #AustraliaBurns is truly appalling. To bugger off, as you so aptly state Dr Wilson, is to my memory unheralded.
    We should be so lucky if Morrison met same fate as #Holt. He is not a leader and we deserve better. Trusting that the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action have more success than we mere mortals posting our frustrations on Twitter.


  8. professorsunshine December 19, 2019 at 5:23 am #

    Hiding out and getting briefed by 45*, as to how to ignore & deny climate change.


  9. Sam Jandwich December 19, 2019 at 10:18 am #

    It is interesting how we homo sapiens have a tendency to look for precedents when faced with an inexplicable situation. Are we primed to seek psychological comfort above all else, and does this serve to minimise the level of accountability that whoever is the subject of interest feels they need to have?

    Hmmm well for me the comparison that comes to mind is George W. Bush, whom we might remember wasted his time in office waging an artificial “war on terror” in an attempt to deflect attention from his own inadequacies. I’m remembering that footage of him visiting an elementary school on the morning of 9/11. Similar thing going on with Morrison – the length of his absence perhaps indicating the superiority of his remorselessness.

    But then again, hasn’t the country essentially been running itself since, oh say 26 June 2013, as the Feds have been out to lunch since then.


  10. Allan Macdonald December 19, 2019 at 1:09 pm #

    Unfortunately, the Australian voter have only themselves to blame. Consistently they vote the no hopers in until disaster strikes (WW2)
    And return to there stupid ways as soon as disaster is over so that the conservative politicians can stuff it up all over again. History consistently repeats itself. Oh well not much I can do about it. Just look on and shake my head. 🙀😢


  11. . December 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    There is much historical evidence to suggest that no person of convinced religious belief should be permitted to hold any position of legislative or administrative authority in any secular society.
    Good law-making and efficient administration require sound logical thinking: Religion requires the exact opposite.


  12. thelevinelowdown January 18, 2020 at 8:28 pm #

    Thank you for this great post! I really enjoyed reading it! I have recently published an article on my blog regarding my thoughts on Scott Morrison and his leadership during Australia’s bushfire crisis. If you have time, it would be great if you could check out my post as I would be really interested to hear your thoughts! Thanks 🙂



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    […] decision. Neither did they question the bizarre secrecy surrounding Morrison’s absence, as I wrote here […]


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    […] Never in the history of this country has a Prime Minister taken a holiday in the middle of a natural disaster. For reasons that on the surface appear unfathomable, the majority of the Australian media opted not to question the judgement of the incumbent in choosing to leave at this time. Indeed, they decided to defend his decision. Neither did they question the bizarre secrecy surrounding Morrison’s absence, as I wrote here yesterday. […]


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