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Scott Morrison is no progressive and he's going to change the country

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07.07.2019

I have twice recently committed the sin of political optimism. The first was when I thought Tony Abbott would grow into the role of prime minister. The second was when I made the same mistake about Malcolm Turnbull.

So, I'm fallible, no surprises there. The broader lesson is this: the prime ministership doesn't miraculously change those who hold it. It's a job, and like any job you can get better at the nuts and bolts. But you come out the same person you went in. Abbott, for example, stayed a daffily old-fashioned boofhead.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

Turnbull, too, remained himself. His woeful political instincts stayed woeful. He waffled luxuriantly. The most important element of continuity - overlooked amidst the disappointment - was that he ended up being what both his fans and enemies expected: a Labor prime minister with some Liberal leanings.

His largest legacy might be embedding Labor policies, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Gonski school reforms. He acted on childcare and renewables. He tried to do something on climate. The marriage plebiscite was awful, but the result - marriage equality - was undeniably progressive. He played an historically important role, if not for the reasons his colleagues hoped.

Has it not occurred to anyone that Bill........

© Canberra Times