Labor’s Bill Shorten offered pretend congratulations to Scott Morrison for his solo election launch today.
“A one-man show, every child actor’s dream,” he told news.com.au, referring to Mr Morrison’s long-passed career as a juvenile performer.
It wasn’t showbiz Mr Morrison had on his mind at the launch but the business of political campaigning. He was centre stage because he had little choice. No acting skill
could hide that.
Mr Morrison has had to carry the bulk of the Liberal campaigning because the ranks of senior colleagues available to help him has shrunk since the August leadership battle.
Or they are busy protecting their seats?
Scott Morrison has shown he has been good at flying solo, and his energy has been extraordinary. But the role forced on him by circumstances has fitted into one of the remarkable features of this campaign: the relegation of a party as the font of authority for a candidate.
Labor has not reflected this and its launch a week ago was firmly tied to the ALP’s history and character.
Scott Morrison’s launch was patently different. The Liberal Party was given only a support role and its recent history was not mentioned.
Political parties are not only suspect in the estimation of many voters, they are unwanted baggage for high profile candidates. The important factor for votes now are a big personalities, not big party machines.
In large part it is a lesson learned from Donald Trump, who arguably could run for re-election without the help of the Republican Party. And it explains the unprecedented number of independent candidates, who would ordinarily be members of some party.
The emphasis on the spot-lit individual over a collective effort has long been the case with serial political opportunists, like Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer.
We know One Nation is all about Pauline and that the United Australia Party is merely window dressing for Clive. They wouldn’t exist without her or him.
Another feature of the cultivating of personality dominance is the adroit use of platitudes which sound good but mean little.
Clive Palmer’s multimillion-dollar advertising campaign uses this tactic almost to the total exclusion of specific policy.
Scott Morrison certainly has specific policy but today his social media output echoed Mr Palmer with this offering, “It is my vision for this country as your Prime Minister to keep the Promise of Australia to all Australians.”