IPA Today

Morrison: The Spinner That Lost

Written by
6 September 2022
Originally appeared in The Spectator Australia

It is a shame Scott Morrison picked politics over cricket as a profession, as there are only so many ways people will like you for being a spinner.

The much-discussed revelation that Morrison secretly assumed control over five separate portfolios has been seen as a betrayal of the Westminster tradition by some. It allowed Morrison to effectively make unilateral decisions directing federal departments without Cabinet knowledge or Parliamentary oversight.

Morrison’s actions could be perceived as a brazen power grab, not by the executive branch of the federal government, but by a single person within that branch of government.

Now, Morrison is trying to spin away this behaviour like a marketer explaining why his product is dodgy.

The former Prime Minister, on his Facebook page, defended his actions and stated that he became the secret Minister for Health, Finance, and Home Affairs, ‘as a “break glass in case of emergency” safeguard’ to respond to developments during the Covid pandemic.

However, he stated that he became the Minister for Industry, and Energy and Resources for, ‘separate reasons’.

Whatever those reasons may be, Morrison declined to elaborate on his Facebook post. This move is only mentioned in a single paragraph in a post that contains over 1,200 words, mostly about how these powers were vital for the handling of the pandemic.

The only time we are told that Morrison used his secretly acquired powers was to unilaterally reject the PEP-11 license last December. PEP-11 was a proposed ‘petroleum export permit’ to explore gas in an area spanning 4,500 square kilometres of ocean in the Sydney Basin.

According to Advent Energy, a proponent of gas development in the Sydney Basin, there is up to 5.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the exploration zone.

Analysis conducted by the Institute of Public Affairs reveals that this reserve could supply enough energy to power every single household in Australia for over 30 years.

Now, fast forward nine months post-Morrison’s portfolio secrecy, the nation, and particularly the east coast, is facing an energy crisis and a gas shortage.

Scott Morrison’s unilateral action was against the wishes of the actual resources minister at the time, Keith Pitt, and ignored the recommendation of the National Offshore Petroleum Titles Administrator that PEP-11 be allowed.

Instead of putting the national interest first, Scott Morrison, as it turns out he so often did, put politics first and caved into the pleas of ‘modern Liberals’, ‘Teals’, and Net Zero pushers.

It is more than a touch ironic that the ‘modern Liberals’ who begged Morrison to block PEP-11 went on to lose their seats in Parliament running on the moderate, Net Zero platform they saw as their saviour.

According to previous analysis conducted by the IPA, the policy of Net Zero emissions by 2050 will prevent the creation of over 22,000 jobs in the Hunter region alone. A region the Sydney Basin runs along.

It is telling what Morrison stated his motivations for expanding his powers were and what he actually did with them. His Facebook explanation is largely spent emotively explaining this all away as a pandemic necessity;

‘The pandemic has been a difficult time for Australia, although we have performed better than almost any other developed country in the world. There is no guidebook in these circumstances.’

This is disingenuous, as he claims he never used his powers for the pandemic, an unprecedented crisis, but rather used them to support and pursue his ideological goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

This revelation should serve as a stark warning to Australians.

Scott Morrison’s political power trip occurred in a time where government had never had so much control over the daily lives of everyday Australians.

We must remain vigilant as a community on how quickly and easily the political class can attain power and use that power to impose policies on Australians against their wishes.

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