28 April 2021

Bernard Keane argues that Scott Morrison’s speech to the Australian Christian Churches Conference “provides perhaps the best insight into Morrison’s core ideology, and in that sense is one of his most important speeches. … That core ideology is deep confusion… a tension between his conceptions of individualism and communities. … [W]hich are we? Unique, free individuals or community members obligated to one another to provide support? You can be both in practice, but it’s hard to articulate an ideology that links both in theory, especially when you’re trying to base it in moral reason. Morrison’s confusion trips him up when he turns from lauding communities to attacking ‘identity politics’… Identity politics, Morrison thinks, undermine community and self-worth. So having lauded the idea of individuals forming communities and reaching out to others, Morrison turns on a dime to attack those who form communities. The very problem with identity politics for Morrison is that people do what he wants — ‘keep building communities’ — but not communities he likes (Pentecostalist communities). Or, for that matter, communities like the shire, which he pauses his critique of identity politics to jokingly laud as a form of identity politics he can endorse. It’s funny because it’s true, Scott, but not in the way you mean. Much of the criticism of Morrison’s actions as a political leader is that, ultimately, he believes in nothing… Perhaps it’s more accurate to say he does believe in some kind of ideology, but it’s so self-contradictory that it offers no guide for anything — and thus, inevitably, a justification for everything.”