Is the Wentworth by-election result the middle of the beginning of the end for Skid?

I woke up this morning with a slight headache. Maybe it was the blackbird singing outside my bedroom well before dawn; maybe it was a disturbed sleep because the cat kept jumping on my head.

Nah, it was the celebration of the middle of the beginning of the end of  Scott Morrison’s interim occupation of the Prime Minister’s comfy leather couch.


I admit it. I probably had too much to drink, but who didn’t?

COALition supporters were either drowning their sorrows or drinking angrily whilst plotting revenge against someone — anyone really — on the other side of the factional fence.

Labor supporters were celebrating their guy losing so convincingly in a winning kind of way; while the Greens will find an excuse to drink at any time.

Kerryn Phelps deserves to nurse her own hangover this morning too. She has woken up to the aftermath of a political tsunami that rose up out of Double Bay on Saturday morning and came crashing down along the sandy coastline from Bronte to the Sydney Heads in the evening twilight.

It feels delicious to write this morning that Skid has led his tory scum to their worst EVER defeat in a by-election. It is historic and has captured attention from the international media.

Wentworth Nightmare

The disaster for Morrison didn’t take long to unfold. Analyst Antony Green’s Swing-o-meter was spinning out of control and by 7.19 PM it had had enough, prompting the ABC’s gnomic election numbers man to call it for the Independent. Did I detect a note of glee in his voice and a twinkle in his eye? Did the normally placid poll nerd actually have a horse in that race?

The defeat of the Liberals in Wentworth is also worth savoring because it comes at a high price for the party and for Skid’s leadership. The consensus seems to be that he will be lucky to survive until the putative date of the next federal election in May 2019.

The Government hangs by a thread and, if I can stretch a metaphor, the thread is rapidly knotting itself into a noose that is tightening around Toryscum’s fat, pale neck.

Morrison’s desperation was apparent in the vibble vobble vay in vich he galloped around Wentworth throwing cash and rash promises in all directions.

In the last desperate days of campaigning he jettisoned protocol and the Cabinet process to make a series of outlandish promises and ridiculous policy backflips in a futile and probably damaging attempt to win back once-faithful Liberal supporters who were abandoning ship and immune to Skid’s jocular jibes about chocolate boxes and what a good bloke and top candy date Dave Whatsisname is.

The Liberals couldn’t even win polling booths in their own heartland.

Let that sink in for a second.

Wentworth is one of the jewels in the COALition’s crown. Malcolm Turnbull love-bombed his way to what should have been an unassailable margin of 15 per cent above the odds at the last election. He was popular with the ladies who lunch and the doctors’ husbands; Malcolm represented their values of money, good schools, ostentatious wealth, mildly progressive views on social issues and fiscally efficient neoliberal economics when it really counts.

It’s gone. All of it. Blown away in a matter of weeks.

How did it all go so horribly wrong?

First and foremost is the Turnbull factor itself.

Depending which faction of the Liberals you believe it was either all Malcolm’s fault for running away with his bat after being dumped as party leader back in August; or it was Skid’s fault for tossing Malcolm overboard like his middle namesake captain Bligh.

Well, maybe not Skid’s fault but certainly the culpability lay with the coup plotters and maybe with the hapless Matthias Cormann who ran out of fingers and toes, subsequently bungling the numbers for Spud Dutton so spectacularly.

Yes, we can allow ourselves to believe that and it satisfies the politics part of the equation.

However, my I humbly suggest that policy played a part too. I think this tweet from former NewsCorpse and Sky News journo, Sam Maiden makes a very salient point.

The progressive sensibilities of the Double Bay matrons and the gay enclave around Oxford Street and the Paddington end of the electorate were offended by Skid’s blundering, blunderbuss approach to the issue of so-called religious freedoms.

Morrison forgot — to his own peril — that many voters in Wentworth have got friends (or friends of friends) who are gay, or know someone at work who’s a lesbian and, surprisingly, a nice person too.

Kerryn Phelps is about as out there out as you can get and has been for many, many years. Everyone who voted for her did so knowing who and what she is and they were very comfortable doing so.

Phelps herself had made it clear that she opposed the fake outrage about attacks on religious liberty and she called them for what they are — thinly veiled attempts to make bigotry OK and to entrench the right of lunatic fringe-dwellers like Lyle Shelton to demonise the LGBTQI+ community to frighten his base of bewildered sinners into voting for a conservative rump.

Then, of course, we have to mention to idiotic circus in the Senate when 25 or so COALition senators voted for a white supremacist meme to become the law of the land. Skid and his shrinking band of merry followers tried to explain that debacle away as an “administrative error”.

They take us for fools at their peril.

It is likely that the large Jewish population (whether observant, agnostic and atheist) in Sydney’s eastern suburbs were less than impressed with the clown show around Hanson’s Nazi-inspired theatrics.

They would know, all too well, where such distasteful stunts end up.

In order to attempt a midstream maneouvre to alter course away from the looming rocky cliff facing Skid and his motley crew, the interim Prime Minister plucked a play straight from the Trump book of diversions.

Without so much as a nod towards Cabinet process and good governance, Morrison announced that the Commonwealth would consider moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This perhaps also set some alarums ringing in the ears of some voters in Wentworth both Jew and gentile.

Several members of Skid’s increasingly desperate gang tried to justify the hasty and ill-considered decision on the grounds that it was a rebuff to the United Nations which had a few days previously decided to put a Palestinian in the role of chair of a committee of developing nations known as “G77”.


This is silly buggers stuff and not worthy of any government. It is playing a childish game of tit-for-tat hair-pulling, wedgies and corkies.

Following the lunatic Trump down this path is both dangerous and stupid.

Then there’s the other angle on this decision, which might seem like a stretch but it cannot be ignored.

Skid’s well-known and self-propelling Christian zealotry may well be a factor in the Jerusalem decision. It was certainly a factor in Trump’s thinking because despite his debauchery he is captive to the Evangelical right of US politics.

Morrison is heading in the same direction.

The whole endgame of the End Times relies on a prophecy about Jerusalem. It has nothing to do with being a good friend to the Zionists, though that’s a happy-clappy by-product of the policy shift.

It is all about the destruction of Israel that must precede the second coming of Christ and which finally heralds the ascension of the faithful to sit by God’s feet in the glory of Heaven.

Morrison believes this twaddle, or at least conveniently pretends to.

So while moving the Australian embassy might seem a policy designed to bring Zionist Jews into the COALition camp, it could well have the opposite effect, particularly on religious and secular Jews who do not hold the state of Israel in high esteem.

In short, the announcement was another hasty, ill-considered brain fart from a Prime Minister who is led around by his coterie of advisers like a lamb to the slaughter.

Finally, let us consider climate change.

Kerryn Phelps ran on a Green ticket. She is opposed to the Adani mine which, incredibly, both Liberal and Labor cling to even though it is about as popular as a pig in a synagogue with most voters.

Phelps really believes in climate change and in doing something about it. At least she says she does.

So there’s more to the Liberal rout in Wentworth than a bit of upset about Malcolm’s disappearing act and invisibility during the campaign.

Skid tried to counteract this by wheeling out John Howard.

When will these idiots learn that Howard is now so toxic that they should bury him in a landfill and salt the earth over his head?

And the cherry on top of the cocktail of delight that I am still savouring from last night?

Well, for me it was the welcome news that Tony Abbott’s sister, Christine Forster will consider throwing her fascinator into the ring for pre-selection in Wentworth for the next general election.

Yep, that’s another sign of the dumb and bitter divide inside the Liberal Party. Anybody who thinks Forster can win against Phelps probably believed that nominating Georgina Downer in Mayo was a winning move.

This is certainly the middle of the beginning of the end of days for Skid.


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