Are people starting to twig that you can’t believe everything the PM says? Recent heckles would indicate that is the case.
Great moments in prime ministerial heckling One question Crikey has interrogated in cataloguing the relentless lies of Scott Morrison has been whether any of this would cut through with the voting public. Does Morrison’s dishonesty on, say, whether he ever used the phrase “Shanghai Sam” lead voters to conclude they can’t trust him on health or education? Well, it has certainly cut through for one voter:
It’s not the first time Morrison has prompted this kind of thing — hell, compared with the response he got during his tardy trip to fire-ravaged Cobargo it was pretty tame. But it put us in mind of other great moments when politicians had to face some, shall we say, robust feedback from the public:
- Given the levels of simple hatred Julia Gillard encountered in her time as prime minister, there’s a surprisingly limited amount of straight-up heckling, although someone in Brisbane called her “white trash”, which is pretty brutal. There was also a sandwich attack at the hands of a Canberra school student, which weirdly didn’t seem to elicit the same kind of chin-stroking as egging a senator who advocated for a “final solution” on immigration.
- We’re sure we’d get a letter if we didn’t mention the time Kevin Rudd got heckled by people DEMANDING … that he return as prime minister.
- Looking internationally, then UK PM Gordon Brown had to face a bit of meta-heckling in 2010 when his police protection had to escort a heckler from an event at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. Julian Borthwick, an Oxford law graduate, had heckled the PM with comments including “We’re broke” and “What about that bigoted woman?” The latter was a reference to the time Brown notoriously referred to a woman who had bailed him up on the street as a “bigot”, forgetting he still had a live mic attached. And of course Boris Johnson encountered some immaculately polite barracking in Leeds in 2019, being asked to “please leave my town” by one civilian.
- But surely the piece de resistance, the platonic ideal of Australian political heckling, concerns Tony Abbott. Then opposition leader, Abbott was on a stroll through a shopping centre when an old guy — the exact salt of the earth type Abbott was supposed to speak for — casually called him a dickhead as he passed.
PVO POV As we follow the confected nothing around “anonymous trolls” this week, and the discussion around new laws apparently designed to “flush them out”, there is something particularly grating about watching journalists cosy up to it. News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller posted on LinkedIn that it was a “positive step”, while high profile journalist Peter van Onselen welcomed the move, in a since deleted tweet: