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'Something has shifted': Morrison senses a tipping point is at hand

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16.09.2019

When Scott Morrison stands next to Donald Trump in Washington later this week, he may find himself feeling envy for the American President’s ability to blithely say things with no concern for their relation to reality. Well, envy is one word – nostalgia might be another.

There was lots of noise in Parliament last week, but the most significant event, I suspect, was the long-overdue snapping of the elastic tying the words of government MPs to political consequences.

Replay

The first instance occurred when David Littleproud expressed ambivalence about man-made climate change. Not long ago such views might have been noted then allowed to slip away, seen within the context of a dying, conflict-prone government. This time, someone with authority clearly gave Littleproud the news that expressing such views as the minister responsible for natural disasters was not OK. Within two days he was exhibiting the zeal of the converted.

The second involved Liberal MP Gladys Liu. After she offered, in an interview, a series of confused answers about China and her membership of various China-related groups, someone thought it simplest to distribute a written statement. The statement was in Liu’s name, just as Littleproud was the one to declare his backflip, but nobody really believes they wrote their own........

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