Clare Armstrong, ruperter for Sydney’s Daily Bellylaugh, tweeted: “An Afghan mother and her child were the last people Australia evacuated from Kabul, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison held the final plane for crucial extra minutes so they could board.”1
Part of this story went as follows:
“An Afghan mother and her three-year-old child were the last people Australia evacuated from Kabul, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison held the final plane for crucial extra minutes so they could board. The Saturday Telegraph understands Mr Morrison asked the plane to stay on the ground at Hamid Karzai International Airport for a few more minutes to give officials time to scour the tarmac for her and the child. As they searched, the officials also found an Australian passport holder in the crowd who was able to get onto the flight as well. Once the mother and child were located and loaded onto the plane, Mr Morrison gave the clearance for wheels up, and the flight left…”2
This was outside the Daily Bellylaugh’s paywall (I don’t subscribe to this budgie cage-liner), so was clearly designed as propaganda, and was likely a ‘drop’ from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). I enquired twice of Clare Armstrong if this was indeed a ‘drop’ from the PMO3. There was no reply, so I can only presume that it was such a ‘drop’.
Simon Holmes à Court was rightly sarcastic in his response when he tweeted:
“he didn’t hold a hose. …and he sure as shit didn’t hold the plane. This is a manufactured story [Clare Armstrong], aimed to make #ScottyFromMarketing look like a hero.”4
Brendan Dwyer replied to Simon Holmes à Court:
“So Simon, I am an ex CO of an aviation Regiment. I will go on record as saying that this is total [bullshit]. A PM is not in the chain of command of an operation & NEVER has “operational control” (legal term) of any asset/aircraft. Can this be investigated please.”5
The real story of this last plane out of Kabul can be found in an article written by experienced journalist Tracey Holmes. This read in part: “The group was working out of two rooms in suburban Sydney, a quarantine hotel room in Brisbane, and a home office in London…. This group came together through the sports network, adding new meaning to the well-known Australian term ‘the awesome foursome’”. The people involved were: Nikki Dryden, “a human rights lawyer and former Olympian who bypassed the conversations about how to help and just started doing something”; Human Rights for All founder, Alison Battison who has expertise on immigration law; Human rights lawyer Kat Craig whose non-profit consultancy Athlead works with athletes to use their voice to make positive change; and former diplomat, Neil Fergus, the CEO of security advisory firm Intelligent Risks. They talked directly to the Australian Defence Force people at Kabul airport.6
This pathetic attempt to make Morrison appear to be competent and to actually have some empathy, is risible, and is symptomatic of the desperation of the Murdoch media in their support for the disastrous Morrison government.