After the Christchurch massacre, Waleed Aly (on The Project) delivered a magnificent and emotional editorial regarding the massacre and the fact that he was not shocked at the occurrence; just as he was not shocked at the massacres in other mosques, synagogues and churches. He also related some of the disgraceful words used by Senator Fraser Anning, on parliamentary letter head. To hear them, and realise that they have come out of the mind of a person elected to this nation’s parliament, is sickening. He also notes that one member of the government maintains that Australia made a mistake allowing Lebanese Muslims into Australia and that another member, now Prime Minister, said that his party should use community concerns about Muslims failing to integrate as a political strategy1.
After this broadcast, Morrison apparently went ballistic and accused Waleed Aly of spreading “a disgraceful smear and an appalling lie” and threatened to sue Channel Ten and The Project for defamation, although he later backed down and said he would not sue2. Morrison again denied the assertions that he had suggested this as a strategy, in response to a question from Michael Rowland (ABC). However, Hamish MacDonald (The Project) again stated that the report of the shadow Cabinet meeting was detailed by Lenore Taylor, and that Taylor stands by her story. Perhaps most damning was the report that current Health Minister, Greg Hunt recently told the newspaper The New Daily that Scott Morrison never made the comment. However, at the time (2011), Greg Hunt acknowledged that he was not at the 2010 shadow cabinet meeting. At a press conference yesterday, Samantha Maiden, from The New Daily, asked Scott Morrison about the report and mentioned Hunt’s claim as being ‘on the record’ (which Morrison repeated with apparent glee), that Morrison had not said anything like it at all. Maiden then reiterated that Hunt was not at the meeting. So Morrison shut down the press conference and walked off3.
The original article which reported Morrison as saying that the Liberal Party could use community concerns over Muslims failing to integrate as a political strategy, was, as stated above, written by Lenore Taylor who, at the time, was writing for the Sydney Morning Herald4. If it had only been a single report, one could be excused for wondering if it was indeed true. Journalists do occasionally make mistakes. However, at the time, Andrew Probyn, of the West Australian reported the same story about the December 1 shadow cabinet meeting and stated he had confirmation of the story from several sources5. Furthermore, Peter Hartcher, also of the Sydney Morning Herald, quoted a member of the then shadow cabinet as saying: “We had all been asked to come up with potential issues we could run with. Scott said, ‘What are we going to do about multiculturalism? What are we going to do about concerns about the number of Muslims?’ He put it on the table like a dead cat.”6
So, it is clear that the people on one side of this story are lying. It is either three senior and respected journalists or a Prime Minister who has a reputation for lying, and has indeed used Muslims as a scapegoat for the best part of a decade in attempting to garner votes from the knuckle-draggers in society, much as reports said he suggested in that December 1, 2010 shadow cabinet meeting7,8,9,10, and enthusiastically supported by the Murdoch media. Who would you believe?