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The government Australia left behind

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07.12.2018

Australia is moving around and ahead of the Morrison government, leaving it as an historical artefact making angry arguments, a roaring dinosaur in primordial mud.

It's so irrelevant that one in four Australian voters don't event know that the federal government is, in fact, the Morrison government.

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Nearly three months after Scott Morrison assumed the prime ministership, a quarter of voters weren't able to recognise his name, according to a poll conducted on November 18 for the Australia Institute.

So much for the feverish over-interpretation of every move inside Parliament House, where every comment by every politician is minutely examined for its implication for the government's fortunes.
With 75 per cent of people able to recognise his name, he wasn't even the most recognised member of the government. That title went to a mere backbencher, Julie Bishop, with 82 per cent recognition.

The government's preoccupations with ideology and internal strife mean that it has failed to solve real problems in its introspective irrelevance. The country has given up on it.

"With that last leadership change, the response I saw was different" to the public's response to earler coups, says qualitative pollster Tony Mitchelmore of the research firm Visibility.

Illustration: Jim PavlidisCredit:

"They don't care about ScoMo versus Dutton versus Turnbull versus Abbott. They just didn't care. It was just like, 'whatever'," Mitchelmore tells me. "This has been building for almost a decade – this sense of being fed up with politics, of changing leaders, of talking about themselves, about self-interest."

In one of Mitchelmore's focus groups, a man said, "Can't we outsource our government to New Zealand?"

Morrison is the chief personal beneficiary of the latest leadership upheaval, yet he is also a victim of the syndrome at the same time. He is Australia's prime minister, and nobody cares.

"The response," says Mitchelmore, formerly a Labor Party pollster, "was, 'What's the point? We're just getting on with our lives.' "

And so we are, at every level. The live sheep export trade, for instance. This week the industry announced it was suspending itself for three months. With the government still flailing around trying to properly respond to years of scandals and........

© The Age