Morrison switches to transparency on what could be his final day as prime minister

Federal election 2022

Scott Morrison returned to where his political career began on Saturday, arriving back in his home seat of Cook to cast his vote at the Lilli Pilli public school in Sydney’s southern suburbs.

Under grey skies on what could be one of his final appearances as prime minister – if the polls are correct – he was flanked by wife Jenny, daughters Abbey and Lily and a posse of locals who cheered him on, chanting “ScoMo, ScoMo” as he shook hands and lined up to cast his vote.

Election campaign. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Lilli Pilli Public School to cast his vote in his seat of Cook.Credit:James Brickwood

The Morrison team, according to someone who travelled with them from Perth to Melbourne on Friday night, were in good spirits on the final day as they dined on a Mexican-themed meal on the prime minister’s jet and even belted out a few songs, including Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer”.

But the final 24 hours have also been punctuated by “could be” final moments – staffers taking group photos, lingering handshakes, final words of advice – with the knowledge the path to victory could be difficult to secure written on the tight-lipped faces of his closest advisers.

And even in his safe seat of Cook, some voters were spoiling for change on Saturday.

Cook resident Jacinda (“like the New Zealand Prime Minister”) said she would be voting for “not Scott Morrison”.

“They’ve been quite incompetent actually, they have had no vision, they’ve wasted a lot of opportunities. He’s very good at campaigning but that doesn’t translate into being a good prime minister,” she said.

“Having said that, Albanese has been very timid. But sometimes you just need a change.”

But Kim Waterford, who also lives in the seat of Cook, said Morrison had done an amazing job during the pandemic and that she was hopeful of a second miracle.

“He (Morrison) is a clever guy, I hope he gets in,” she said.

“As much as the Liberals have been in for ten years, he has only been in for three and he has more to go.”

It’s that exact message that Morrison hammered home a week ago, on the day the Coalition launched its campaign, and which the prime minister has returned to time and again during the final week of the election.

Election campaign. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Lilli Pilli Public School to cast his vote in his seat of Cook, on the afternoon of the election. Credit:James Brickwood

The 2022 election campaign has been a long one and in the final days Morrison has looked tired as he has bulldozed through interview after interview and tried to win over the big cohort of undecided voters who hold the fate of his government in his hands.

There was time, before the rain came, for just three questions from the travelling media and Morrison thanked his local community for the chance to have served them since 2007.

For a man who made his name in politics by stopping the boats, one of those three final questions was about an asylum seeker boat that had been stopped en route from Australia to Sri Lanka.

Election campaign. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Lilli Pilli Public School to cast his vote in his seat of Cook, on the afternoon of the election. The Federal election will be held on Saturday 21st May 2022. Photographed Saturday 21th May 2022. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 220521. ausvotes22.Credit:James Brickwood

Morrison quickly confirmed the boat had been intercepted and Labor had been informed “in the interests of full transparency”.

It was a remarkable transformation for a man who for years as Immigration Minister would not offer any information whatsoever about on “on water matters”.

Perhaps it’s a transformation that will stick for a man who has promised to change if he is re-elected, though that seems unlikely.

Or perhaps for Scott John Morrison, Australia’s 30th prime minister, it’s too little, too late and voters are ready to call time.

Cut through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

Most Viewed in Politics

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article