As we watch so many cherished liberties being swept away on a tidal wave of identity politics and Covid lockdowns, our defender of the faith, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, is missing in action.
Four years ago he resisted reforms to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and gave the impression that the right to act, speak and think, free of oppressive restrictions imposed by others, is not that important. His view was that it ‘doesn’t create one job, doesn’t open one business, doesn’t give anyone one extra hour. It doesn’t make housing more affordable or energy more affordable’.
It appears for him, the two propositions are mutually exclusive. This is dangerously at odds with the convictions of those Australians who, immediately after the second world war, along with authors from eight other nations, drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They knew, too well, how disrespecting fundamental liberties can lead to ‘barbarous acts which…. outraged the conscience of mankind’. Yet, incredibly, in just one lifetime, today’s prime minister repeatedly shows more concern for spurious United Nations emissions targets than the known existential threat feared by the UN General Assembly in 1948.
So when Victorian police broke into the home of a pregnant pyjama-clad woman and, in front of her terrified children, dragged her off in handcuffs, Scott Morrison was silent. And he remained silent when a Melbourne man was crash-tackled in his home and arrested, after his front door was battered down. These young people were not suspected terrorists. They were merely alleged to have posted messages on Facebook ‘inciting’ peaceful protests against the draconian coronavirus lockdown laws of the Andrews government.
Not even the heavy-handed arrests of accredited journalists, lawfully covering demonstrations, visibly move this prime minister. True, Victoria is a sovereign state, but the brutal actions of its police should be abhorrent to all Australians and should have been immediately condemned in the strongest terms by the national leader.
Maybe, the Prime Minister secretly empathises with the Victorian premier’s dictatorial management style? He and his large media team are certainly touchy about opposing views. When the Liberal member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, publicly expressed opinions based on solid scientific evidence that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are effective in the early treatment of Covid-19, Mr Morrison ‘hauled’ him in ‘for a face-to-face dressing down’. Kelly’s views obviously conflicted with the party line and shutting down debate was considered preferable to educating the public and potentially embarrassing the government and its advisers.
Again, when state premiers, on the pretext of a few Covid infections, deny Australians their constitutional right to travel freely across borders, Mr Morrison, rather than mount a legal challenge to determine if these actions are lawful, complained to his National Cabinet that the restrictions hurt the agricultural sector and supply chains.
Most recently, he made it clear he’s not interested in the debate about Australia’s growing ‘wokeness’. Harking back to his 18C comments, he acknowledged ‘there’s a lot of talk about all this… and, if (people) are woke enough or they’re not woke enough or, they’re too woke … who cares, I just want people in jobs and I want them healthy’.
Noble sentiments to be sure, but inherently contradictory. What is missing is that for an economy to grow sustainably with secure employment and upward mobility not dependent on connections, it must be a component of a free and open society. Yet, the Prime Minister seems unconvinced. When Treasurer Josh Frydenberg instanced former British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher and US president, Ronald Reagan as inspirations for economic reform, the Prime Minister was quick to distance himself. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Mr Morrison lacks faith in the imperatives of freedom itself and sees a free society as an optional extra.
His ‘Closing the Gap’ speech to parliament last year confirms this judgement. He referred to the white man’s ‘ingrained way of thinking, passed down over two centuries and more’ which led to the belief that ‘we knew better than our Indigenous peoples’. Rather than insist on the inevitable compromises and sacrifices required to integrate a proud ancient culture into a modern, democratic, society, he appeased his woke critics by perpetuating the failed utopian socialist experiment of segregation, communal land ownership and welfare dependence. Condemning so many Aborigines to misery because of limited freedoms and assertions of grievance seems not to register.
Mr Morrison’s nonchalant attitude to wokeness is alarming. Born of critical race theory, it is a fascist-left ideology which, with malevolent intent, divides society into two classes: white oppressors and the oppressed. It preaches that oppressors enjoy unearned privileges, while various minorities suffer victimhood and injustice. This is a postmodernist religion where sin is redefined and history rewritten. It is a sinister, authoritarian movement which, having captured big business, now seeks to completely reset our economic and cultural norms. It is an existential threat, the magnitude of which Mr Morrison seems to constantly underestimate. In so doing, he cedes the moral and intellectual high ground to the growing number of wokeness advocates.
Of course for them, the Prime Minister can never be woke enough. They know, each concession gained, each freedom withdrawn, each statue toppled, brings them nearer to ‘The Great Reset’, at which point, the Human Rights Declaration will be cast asunder.
It is a terrifying prospect and it will be of no consolation to future generations to know their birthright was sacrificed on the altar of expediency. Unfortunately for them, when it counted most, this prime minister lacked the political will and necessary belief in our history, culture and values, to lead the fight for them. Martin Luther King was right. ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’
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