I was so incensed with some politician’s behaviour that I opined online that they were “as genuine as a black snake”, an old simile from my younger days. Someone retorted that snakes are lovely and to use that phrase is unfair. I replied that it was all I could think of at the time, as I was typing with my fists. They seemed to accept that. Snakes don’t frighten me because, being a geologist, I have bumped into them when doing field work. However, I tend to give them a wide berth, just in case they perceive me as a threat and get a bit aggressive.
Morrison demonstrated faux sympathy for Brittany Higgins but could seemingly only do so when relating it to his own daughters. Such ‘sympathy’ was not because he is human, but because he is a father of daughters; it is all about him1. However, there was little sympathy for Christian Porter’s accuser, where Morrison effectively called her a liar when he exonerated Porter, by declaring him “innocent”. Morrison also said that Porter would remain in his post as Attorney General2. Then there was the March For Justice by many tens of thousands of people, overwhelmingly women. Morrison’s Trumpian non-appearance at that march on the pretext of ‘security issues’ went over like a lead balloon, especially when juxtaposed against the attendance of then Prime Minister John Howard at a rally of gun owners whining about the post-Port Arthur gun control measures. Morrison asked a delegation from the March For Justice to meet him in Parliament House. The organisers of the march wisely refused, because they realised that it was all about Morrison wanting to take control of the narrative by getting a small delegation to meet him and his minders where he could call the tune and, if necessary, intimidate them3.
The attitude of the government to this march and its causes was exemplified by the fact that even the part time ‘Minister for Women’, Marise Payne, did not attend the march. This non-attendance of Morrison and Payne was such a glaring error of judgement, that something had to be done. So, what did Morrison do? More window-dressing. He has elevated Liberal MPs to ‘Minister for Women’s Safety’ and ‘Minister for Women’s Economic Security’, and all women in the ministry will now form a ‘women’s taskforce’. In an extraordinary demonstration of Morrison’s tone-deafness, Marise Payne, one of the few moderates remaining with any power, was referred to as the ‘Prime Minister for Women’. However, after a female journalist pointed out that Morrison’s position would then be ‘Prime Minister for Men’, Payne’s position was quickly amended to ‘primary minister for women’4. I wonder if this new title will make Payne more likely to attend the next March For Justice; for there will be more.
The reason I believe this is simply window dressing is because that is, in part, all Morrison does. He lies, obfuscates and does things solely for appearances. I suspect he doesn’t want to be seen to be doing anything serious for the betterment of women, because men who have his sort of archaic attitudes to women are one of Morrison’s target demographics.
So, maybe I’ll stop insulting the much maligned Pseudechis porphyriacus and use Morrison’s name instead.