Channel 9/60 Minutes
Channel 9’s 60 Minutes section in regards to the prime minister and his household, broadcast on February 13, was political confectionery so laden with sugar as to be a critical hazard to Scott Morrison’s political well being.
It additionally raised questions on 9’s dedication to neutral election protection.
It is a stay situation, on condition that the corporate is chaired by Peter Costello, the long-serving treasurer in John Howard’s Liberal-Nationwide Coalition authorities.
9 is promising an equal program on the chief of the opposition, Anthony Albanese. It will likely be attention-grabbing to see whether or not it seems to be simply extra confectionery or whether or not it’ll include some political fibre.
One drawback is, if it needs to be seen as even-handed, 60 Minutes must dish up the identical schmaltzy fare on him too.
One other drawback runs deeper.
The Morrison program was framed not across the prime minister however round his spouse Jenny, described within the trailer and in this system itself because the prime minister’s “secret weapon” for the election.
This performed into Morrison’s fingers. He has already normal her right into a political asset by repeatedly referring to her in press conferences as somebody to whom he turns for recommendation.
Texts reportedly referring to Scott Morrison as a ‘psycho’ are within the public curiosity – however moral questions stay
Probably the most infamous instance was when he sought her counsel about learn how to take care of the Brittany Higgins rape allegations and she or he suggested him to consider it as the daddy of two daughters.
Jenny is thus rather more, in political phrases, than the prime minister’s spouse: her persona has grow to be a central a part of his political technique, and the “secret weapon” description reinforces the purpose. Weird, although. She is neither a secret nor a weapon. She has been properly examined as a solid member in Morrison’s political theatre.
How 60 Minutes offers a counterpoint to this within the promised Albanese program we must wait and see, nevertheless it presents 9 with an ungainly problem if it needs to be seen as genuinely even-handed. Will it discover some option to promote a central characteristic of his election marketing campaign technique too?
The Morrison program was such a unadorned piece of political advertising that it additionally raises questions on what calls for have been made by the prime minister, and what undertakings got by 9 about how it could be achieved.
As an illustration, why was Karl Stefanovic the interviewer and never considered one of 9’s critical political journalists, akin to Chris Uhlmann?
Why was there no follow-up questioning of Jenny Morrison on the difficulty of manners?
The necessity was apparent.
She was free sufficient along with her criticism of the previous Australian of the 12 months Grace Tame for failing to smile for the cameras with Morrison on Australia Day. Unhealthy manners, apparently.
What about Morrison turning his again on Tanya Plibersek within the Home of Representatives whereas she was talking on the Despatch Field, or grabbing the fingers of unwilling Black Summer time bushfire survivors after they point-blank refused to shake his hand?
The comfortable inquiries to Morrison have been cringe-making. “Do you are feeling our ache?” requested Stefanovic. In reply, Morrison channelled Shylock within the Service provider of Venice: “I bleed”.
Stefanovic gave Jenny a gratuitous increase by telling her what a straight shooter she was.
And certainly she did come throughout as a completely first rate individual, giving a combination of straight and thoroughly parsed solutions, together with a convincing apology for the infamous Hawaiian vacation.
Talking of which, given this damaging historical past, it appeared odd of the prime minister to decide on to play the ukulele.
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The danger to Morrison’s political well being lies within the heavy public-relations packaging of this system.
A stereotype of him as little greater than a PR song-and-dance man has already taken maintain, as was seen within the blow-back to his current foray into hairdressing. He was mocked – on Rupert Murdoch’s information.com, no much less – as somebody who didn’t maintain a hose, the clear inference being that he might evidently maintain a salon’s bathe attachment.
From the perspective of political technique, extra PR shouldn’t be what Morrison wants. He must look prime ministerial.
60 Minutes gave us solely a fleeting glimpse of him on this position, welcoming Stefanovic into his workplace. However even then it consisted primarily of Stefanovic giving him one more free kick: “You’re below the pump proper now.”
This sort of pap shouldn’t be what voters need or want as they strategy the election, one thing that was apparent from this system’s dismal scores.
The previous program was Married at First Sight, which attracted 961,000 viewers, giving 60 Minutes a robust springboard. Nevertheless, when it got here on, viewer numbers plummeted to 574,000, lower than the ABC’s imported whodunnit Vera, and on par with the ABC’s Muster Canines.
Denis Muller doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.