Sunday 17th of January 2021

scotty of marketing knows a few spins or two...


Scott Morrison is governing in the worst of times, but he doesn't have a nickname for nothing.

The pandemic is the worst of times to be governing but Scott Morrison is determined to make it the best of opportunities to be seen to be doing things.

It's also the most difficult period to be in opposition. In contrast to Morrison, Anthony Albanese is struggling to find any political chances.

The Government has used the past nearly three weeks to launch a tsunami of policies in the run-up to Tuesday's budget. We're seeing a reform agenda, although it's not big bang stuff.

Labor complains about particular measures and keeps calling for "a real plan" for recovery, but it is not cutting through.

In theory, such an age of anxiety could play for the Government, or for its critics. In practice, it has elevated Morrison (and premiers too) and swamped Albanese.

The recent policy announcements include a clutch of initiatives on fuel storage, energy and emissions reduction, upgrading the NBN, a digital business plan, relaxing restrictions on credit assessments, a revamped insolvency regime, and a manufacturing plan.

Intervention and deregulation

There are several key takeaways from this hyperactivity. Morrison favours both intervention and deregulation. He's big on "road maps" (in energy, manufacturing), but wary of tying himself to long-term destinations. He's untroubled by what was previously said and done by his own side.

Morrison hasn't been called "Scotty from marketing" for nothing. Policy releases are carefully controlled. They're given to the newspapers in the afternoon on an embargoed basis — no comment can be sought.

They then dominate the morning headlines, surf through the news day and are usually on that night's TV.

The $1.5 billion manufacturing blueprint Morrison announced yesterday selected six areas for special assistance. In terms of sectors, it is unashamedly picking winners.

The energy policy embraces one big controversial winner — gas. "If you're not for gas, you're not for jobs in our manufacturing and heavy industries," Morrison says, in bold overstatement.

Specific new and emerging emission-reduction technologies have also been nominated for encouragement.

The Government's preoccupation with removing what it sees as excessive regulation stretches from environmental approval processes to borrowing to buy a house.

Last week's decision to free up access to credit by easing the checks banks have to make on borrowers aims to help stimulate the economy. The Government brushes off fears it could lead to people financially over-extending.


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Sack scotty. 

it's a gas...


A street artist has “censored” his own mural depicting federal Liberal and National politicians smoking coal using ice pipes after complaints from locals and a Coalition senator.

Instead of glass pipes, the mural now shows Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ministers Angus Taylor and Peter Dutton and backbenchers Barnaby Joyce and Craig Kelly inflating balloons and using party blowers.

Artist Scott Marsh was flown back to Adelaide from Sydney this week to alter the mural in Port Adelaide after complaints via the City of Port Adelaide Enfield.

The council commissioned Marsh to paint the mural as part of its Wonderwalls festival in March.

He said feedback at the time ranged from “very positive” in person to “super positive” online.

“The idea was to use meth addiction as a confronting kind of statement about the [federal] government’s addiction to coal and how it’s kind of blinding them and changing their decision-making to move away from any type of climate action,” he told the ABC on Thursday.

While the council told the ABC complaints came in almost immediately, Marsh said the urgency appeared to have “dialled up” after an emailed complaint that copied in Liberal senator Alex Antic late in September.

Senator Antic said he visited the mural in Cannon Street and considered it to be “offensive and in very poor taste”.

He then followed up with the council’s chief executive last week.

“There are a number of childcare centres in the area and the depiction of people smoking pipes would be difficult under any circumstances but the fact it was the Prime Minister and others added to the level of the standard which is being depicted,” Senator Antic said.

He said a resident of the street told him she thought it “brought the area into disrepute and it wasn’t the image that she was looking for in the area”.

“I don’t have any problems with it from the purpose of a political statement – people are obviously quite free to express their views about all matter of political issues as they want,” he said.

“The problem I had with the mural was strictly related to the use of illicit – or what appeared to be – illicit drugs.”

Jaye Osborne used to work at a drug counselling service nearby and said clients did not like it.

“I am not saying that anyone I know put in a complaint, but I do know my clients saw it and made comments that methamphetamine use is already so stigmatised that jokes about ice pipes located outside a drug and alcohol service was not great,” she said.


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The mural before:



and the "pink batts disaster"...

pink batts