A nose for political lies

What Australians have learned about Scott Morrison over the last couple of years is that he never takes responsibility for a problem. He always blames someone else. He always goes missing and he always lies. The lack of ethics involved with Morrison’s political lying and the hypocrisy of having a religious Prime Minister has put Australian lives at risk and left the economy in a shamble.

10 May 2022

ALAN HAYES

 

HOW important is truth in politics? Without truth something vanishes from our discourse and instead the seemingly endless aspects of human emotion are taken away from us. And this is what Scott Morrison has done to the nation – he’s stripped us from believing that anything is real anymore.

 

Scott Morrison has invented his own truth, not a factual truth but a political truth in an attempt to convince Australians to believe an alternative that is not based on actual evidence and sound arguments.

 

Ostensibly, all the lies, half-truths, bad governance omissions and in-fighting is the reason the polls now have Labor as a clear leader. A fact that was echoed loud and clear in Sunday night’s second leader’s debate – Morrison’s Trumpian-style behavior just didn’t make the cut.

 

Australians are sick and tied of Scott Morrison’s lies, they’re fed up to the back teeth with his government’s rorts and incompetence and they’re fed up with a Prime Minister who always blames someone else and refuses to accept responsibility for his actions. Why? Because of the decline in political ethical standards and knowing that all political truth has been destroyed.

 

So, the Grapevine has decided to list the top twenty Morrison ‘porkies’ to remind everyone what the Prime Minister hopes that you will forget in the lead-up to the May 21 election.

 

Lie 1

 

Morrison: [Speaking on the subject of the Hawaiian holiday he took in early 2020] “I can only speak to what I have said, as the leader of the opposition will know, because I texted him from the plane when I was going on that leave and told him where I was going, and he was fully aware of where I was travelling with my family.” (1)

 

The truth: “I want to confirm what the leader of the opposition said — that, in that text, I did not tell him the destination of where I was going on leave with my family; I simply communicated to him that I was taking leave. When I referred to him knowing where I was going and being fully aware I was travelling with my family, what I meant was that we were going on leave together.” (2)

 

(1) Question time, November 22, 2021

(2) Questions Without Notice: Additional Answers, November 22, 2021

 

Lie 2

 

Morrison: [Asked about French President Macron’s attack on him] “I see Anthony Albanese backed in the Chinese government.” (1)

 

The truth: There are no statements from Albanese that accord with this. Former prime minister Paul Keating a day earlier criticised both the Coalition and Labor for their attitude toward China, and called for that country to be respected more. Albanese commented to the same interviewer as Morrison that morning “China has changed its posture, that’s the truth. They’re far more forward-leaning. Australia is right to speak up for our own values. And China is the nation that’s changed in terms of their attitude towards Australian imports, for example, and Australian businesses are suffering.”

 

(1) Interview, November 11, 2021

 

Lie 3

 

Morrison: [Asked how he can embrace electric vehicles after campaigning against them in 2019] “But I didn’t. That is just a Labor lie.” (1)

 

The truth: Morrison, Angus Taylor and Michaelia Cash all attacked electric vehicles during the 2019 election. Morrison, after falsely claiming that electric vehicles couldn’t tow boats or caravans or reach camping spots, said “Bill Shorten wants to end the weekend”. (2)

 

A 2019 tweet from the official Liberal Party Twitter account also called out “Labor’s reckless car tax”. (3)

 

(1) Media conference, November 9, 2021. Transcript circulated by email but not posted online

(2) 2019 election campaign media conference, April 7, 2019

(3) Liberal Party tweet, April 13, 2019

 

Lie 4

 

Morrison: [On the submarine contract with Naval Group] “There was [sic] a lot of issues in relation to delays in the project and of course, the costs … it was our concerns over the early delays and the delivery on, particularly on things like Australian industry content, time and cost that had raised concerns in my mind.” (1)

 

The truth: When announcing the termination of the contract, asked about “blow outs, delays, all sorts of complications”, Morrison said “I wouldn’t share your assessment of the project as you outlined it. I’m aware of those criticisms, but I don’t believe they are all founded in what is fact and I’m sure the defence secretary would agree with me.” (2) The defence secretary later told a Senate estimates hearing “they have been terminated because our requirements have changed, not because of the poor performance by either Naval Group or Lockheed Martin Australia”. (3)

 

(1) Media conference, November 1, 2021

(2) Media conference, September 16, 2021

(3) Hansard, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade legislation estimates committee, October 27, 2021

 

Lie 5

 

Morrison: [In relation to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that Morrison lied to him] “I must say that I think the statements that were made questioning Australia’s integrity and the slurs that have been placed on Australia, not me, I’ve got broad shoulders. I can deal with that. But those slurs, I’m not going to cop sledging at Australia.”(1)

 

The truth: Macron in his remarks went out of his way to say he was not referring to Australians, but Morrison, saying “I have a lot of respect for your country. I have a lot of respect and a lot of friendship for your people.” (2)

 

(1) Media conference, November 1, 2021

(2) The Sydney Morning Herald, November 1, 2021

 

Lie 6

 

French President Emmanuel Macron: [Asked if he thinks Morrison lied to him about the cancellation of the Naval Group submarine contract] “I don’t think, I know.” (1)

 

The truth: Morrison met with Macron in Paris on June 15, 2021 and did not raise the cancellation of the contract despite Australia having already decided to terminate the contract and work with the United States and the United Kingdom. Morrison described the June discussions about the contract with Macron as “a very positive discussion” and praised the “direct role that [Macron] has played in ensuring that we’ve seen a much-improved position come forward from Naval over the last six months.” (2)

 

In response to Macron on October 31, Morrison said he did not tell Macron about the decision because “that was not a matter that I was going to engage in in any sort of broad conversation about”. (3)

 

(1) The Sydney Morning Herald, November 1, 2021

(2) Media conference, June 16, 2021

(3) Media conference, October 31, 2021

 

Lie 7

 

Morrison: [Asked “do you know how much money he was paid?” in relation to Christian Porter’s statement of interests revealing anonymous payments] “That’s included in his register of interests.” (1)

 

The truth: Porter’s statement contains no reference to how much he was paid by anonymous sources. (2)

 

(1) Media conference, September 19, 2021

(2) Christian Porter, Register Of Members’ Interests Notification Of Alteration(s) Of Interests, processed September 14, 2021

 

Lie 8

 

Morrison: [Asked why the government supported Clive Palmer’s High Court action on Western Australian borders] “The member must be misinformed, because the Commonwealth did not pursue that case, and it is erroneous to suggest that that is what the government did. The government did not pursue that case at all. We did not pursue that case. The Labor Party continues to push this falsehood around the country.” (1)

 

The truth: On June 12, 2020, the Australian government solicitor, on behalf of then-attorney-general Christian Porter, filed a Notice of Intervention under s.78A of the Judiciary Act 1903, in the matter of Clive Palmer and Mineralogy v the State of Western Australia and WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson. The Notice states “the attorney-general intervenes in support of the position of the plaintiffs”. Porter stated two days later “the purpose of the Commonwealth intervention is to make constitutional arguments in support of the reopening of the borders”. (2)

 

(1) Question time, August 30, 2021

(2) High Court filings, June 12, 2020

(3) Media report, June 14, 2020

 

Lie 9

FALSEHOOD

 

Morrison: “If the Leader of the Opposition wants to come up with any alternative, he needs to inform himself, and he could start by talking to General Frewen who he has not yet sat down with—not once—since he came into the job. General Frewen is the person who is running the vaccination program for the government, and he hasn’t even bothered to talk to him.” (1)

 

The truth: According to Anthony Albanese: “on 23 June 2021 my office received an email from Nigel Blunden on behalf of Lieutenant General Frewen offering a briefing. On 25 June my office responded, accepting the offer of a briefing. On 25 June, also, the director of the vaccination communication team in the Department of Health responded, saying her team would reach out to start pulling it together ‘next week’. I received no further communication between 25 June and 20 July. A communication then offered a briefing during the first sitting week in August. My office responded, agreeing with this. Subsequently, there were attempts to organise a time which was mutually acceptable, where we were all available. At the end of the correspondence from my office to Minister Hunt’s office, which has been very professional during this, is: ‘I am hopeful one of the following times will suit the COVID-19 task force principals. Tomorrow’ — this is as of yesterday — ‘Tuesday 3 August at 11.30 am or 3.30 pm, or Thursday at 4pm,’ and then an email back from the person: ‘Let’s lock in 4pm on Thursday. Invite to follow.'” (2)

 

(1) Question Time, August 3 2021

(2) Personal explanation, Parliament, August 3 2021

 

Lie 10

 

Morrison: [Asked about discussions with the president of France over the Naval Group submarine contract] “It was a very positive discussion we had last night about a whole raft of issues and of course including the contract. We are coming up to important gates in that contract and there have been issues that we have had to address over particularly the last eight months and President Macron and I have a very, very open and very transparent, and very friendly relationship where we can speak candidly to each other about these issues … I appreciate the direct role that he has played in ensuring that we’ve seen a much-improved position come forward from Naval over the last six months.” (1)

 

The truth: Morrison had already decided to terminate the contract in favour of a study of nuclear submarines from the US or UK but kept that secret from President Macron. He later said he did not tell Macron of the decision because “that was not a matter that I was going to engage in in any sort of broad conversation about”. (2)

 

(1) Media conference, June 16, 2021

(2) Media conference, October 31, 2021

 

Lie 11

 

Morrison: [When asked why he said the vaccination rollout was “not a race” but then used Olympic metaphors] “When Professor Murphy and I made those remarks, we were talking about the regulation of the vaccines.” (1)

 

The truth: Morrison and health secretary Brendan Murphy initially used “it’s not a race” about the vaccine approval process in March 2021. But on March 31, Morrison said, when asked about the pace of the rollout, “it’s not a race, it’s not a competition”. (2)

 

(1) Interview, July 29, 2021

(2) Media conference, March 31, 2021

 

Lie 12

 

Morrison: [On the premier of NSW asking other states for more doses of vaccine at a national cabinet meeting] “I mean, that request wasn’t even made at the meeting on Friday.” (1)

 

The truth: Gladys Berejiklian said “National cabinet made their view very, very clear to me on Friday. I argued my little heart out but the position of the national cabinet was very clear.” (2)

 

(1) Interview, July 25, 2021

(2) Media conference, July 26, 2021

 

Lie 13

FALSEHOOD

 

Morrison: “We would also be encouraging the eight-to-12-week second dose to be done at the earlier part of that eight-to-12-week period. That is consistent with medical advice — the TGA approval does sit, and ATAGI advice, on eight to 12 weeks. (1)

 

The truth: The advice in relation to AstraZeneca from the TGA and advisory body ATAGI is: “TGA’s regulatory approval allows the second dose to be administered from four to 12 weeks after the first. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended that the interval between first and second dose is 12 weeks. However, if this interval is not possible, for example because of imminent travel, cancer chemotherapy, major elective surgery, a minimum interval of 4 weeks between doses can be used.” (2)

 

(1) Media conference, July 8, 2021

(2) Therapeutic Goods Administration media statement, “TGA provisionally approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine”, February 16 2021

 

Lie 14

FALSEHOOD

 

Morrison: [On suggestions of favouritism in relation to lockdown assistance for Sydney] “I reject that, I think that’s an absurd suggestion. We’re into the third week of a lockdown. We’ve provided exactly the same support that was provided in Victoria.” (1)

 

The truth: Morrison had announced that in order for NSW people to access lockdown assistance, “the liquid assets test, which is currently applied to that individual payment of $325 and $500 will be waived for access to those payments”. Victorians had been required to comply with a liquid assets test during Victoria’s May-June 2021 lockdown, depriving tens of thousands of Victorians of financial assistance. (2)

 

(1) Media conference, July 8, 2021

(2) Media conference, July 8, 2021

 

Lie 15

FALSEHOOD

 

Morrison: “At no stage at any time in the last 12 months has there been any suggestion that Australia would have reached a level of vaccination at the level we now see in the UK, which I note is not even yet at 65% for two doses at this time. The national vaccination plan that was adopted last year and all of the targets, even on their most optimistic scenarios, which haven’t been realised, none of them put Australia in a position where a suppression strategy could have been lifted at any time, at least by the end of October. So, the suggestion that somehow there was a vaccination rate that would have put us in a different position right now to what was planned last year is simply not true.” (1)

 

The truth: The government’s own, revised vaccine rollout schedule released in March 2021 at a media conference held by Morrison forecast that approximately 20 million Australians would have received at least one vaccine dose, and many fully vaccinated, by early July 2021. The government’s original schedule from February 2021 estimated the entire population would be vaccinated by October, but this was adjusted when vaccine supply problems occurred. (2)

 

(1) Media conference, July 8, 2021

(2) Department of Health, COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out, March 14 2021

 

Lie 16

 

Morrison: “There are three things that we need to do … there’s a surveillance legislation amendment which is about identifying and disrupting, and the AFP and the ACIC powers to combat serious crime on the dark web, and in circumstances where anonymising technologies making detection and investigation of serious crime increasingly difficult. We have a law in the Parliament at the moment which does not have bipartisan support … The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment International Production Orders Bill. That’s cross border access to electronic data, enhancing the effectiveness of Australian investigations and protection of prosecutions of serious crimes, including serious terrorism offences. That bill is there. That does not have bipartisan support. (1)

 

The truth: The Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 was before Parliament’s bipartisan Joint Intelligence and Security Committee for consideration when Morrison spoke. It was referred to the committee by Defence Minister Peter Dutton. (2) The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 was referred to the Joint Intelligence and Security Committee by Dutton in 2020. In May 2021 the committee unanimously recommended the passage of the bill subject to amendments jointly recommended by Labor and Liberal committee members. (3)

 

(1) Media conference, June 8, 2021

(2) Committee website

(3) Committee report

 

Lie 17

 

Morrison: “As a government, we believe in the two-state solution. It seems now in politics here in Australia that is no longer a bipartisan view, and I think that’s disappointing.” (1)

 

The truth: On May 13 2021, Labor’s foreign affairs spokesperson Penny Wong issued a statement on the Palestine crisis, saying “we remain committed to a just and enduring two-state solution”. (2)

 

(1) Address, budget lunch, May 14, 2021

(2) Violence in Israel, Gaza and Jerusalem, Penny Wong, May 13, 2021

 

Lie 18

 

Morrison: [On Taiwan] “We’ve always understood the one system; two countries arrangement and we will continue to follow our policies there … One country, two systems, I should say.” (1)

 

The truth: There is no “one country, two systems arrangement” in relation to Taiwan recognised by Australia; government officials briefed journalists that it was a mistake and the prime minister had meant to refer to Hong Kong, where “one country, two systems” has long been accepted.

 

However, the prime minister, when asked in a later interview with SBS on May 12 (the transcript of which has not been published by the prime minister’s office) “did you make a mistake in that comment?”, answered “no” and added “what we know is that we have a situation with China in which we’ve recognised how they see these relationships in the region, and particularly in relation to Taiwan and Hong Kong and things of that nature”.

 

This again misstates Australia’s position, as Australia does not recognise China’s claim to Taiwan, but merely acknowledges that China makes the claim. (2, 3)

 

(1) Interview with Neil Mitchell, May 6, 2021

(2) SBS, May 12, 2021

(3) ABC, May 13, 2021

 

Lie 19

FALSEHOOD

 

Morrison: “Our current target will see Australia — this is for 2030 — reduce our emissions by 70% per unit of GDP on 2005 levels…” (1)

 

The truth: The government’s own documents state: “The emissions intensity of the economy (Gross Domestic Product (GDP)) has continued to decline and is projected to fall by 58% from 2005 to 2030.” (2)

 

(1) Address to the Business Council of Australia, April 19, 2021

(2) Australia’s emissions projections 2020, December 2020, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

 

Lie 20 - Video

FALSEHOOD

 

Morrison: “I want to stress that at no time yesterday did I make any comment about the actions of the European Union, nor did I indicate any of the background reasons for the lack of supply that we have received from those contracted doses. And so, any suggestion that I, in any way, made any criticism of the European Union yesterday, would be completely incorrect.” (1)

 

The truth: Morrison said the previous day about reasons for slow vaccine rollout, “the supply is the major restraint and always has been, whether it’s been the non-delivery of vaccines from overseas, some 3 million that we were relying upon, and we all are aware of the situation in Europe and other places that has frustrated that supply”. (2)

 

(1) Media conference, April 7, 2021

(2) Media conference, April 6, 2021

 

The nation has had three years of Scott Morrison’s excuses for everything and lies that don’t fool anybody. He ‘doesn’t hold a hose’, he ‘doesn’t give a rats’ and he leaves people stranded on rooves, while swirling flood waters continue to rise, all of which cement his failure as a true leader and expose a man whose self-serving interests are paramount above the interests of the nation.

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