ScoMo’s brilliant new political strategy

TIME-tested political strategies were thrown into turmoil with the rise of the 24-hour news cycle – and then all but decimated by disruptive social media.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison has developed an ingenious fix. 

John Howard used the political “wedge” for more than a decade to great electoral success, while his Liberal Party successor Tony Abbott mastered the “slogan”, which saw him sail into high office in 2013. 

But, as all smart politicians know, neither strategy is watertight in today’s Twitter connected community – in fact Abbott’s approach became outdated almost too quickly. 


No Australian politician since has found a way to appeal to core supporters without placing a flashing neon “kick me” sign on their back – until now.

Prime Minister Morrison’s political astuteness is heavily underestimate by the Left – they mockingly refer to him as “Scotty from marketing”. But he continues to completely outsmart them.

In the world of retail sales, Morrison’s new political strategy would be called “bait and switch” – where you heavily promote a handful of products the noisy bargain hunters demand but then quietly sell them a whole lot of other stuff they don’t particularly want.

It’s a high risk approach but it appears to be working flawlessly.

The success of his “bait and switch” strategy relies on maintaining a grasp of the two personality traits of an extremely polarised electorate.

Firstly, Morrison must intimately understand the mindset of his political opponents and play to this.

He knows the Left are primarily impressed by words and symbolism. They care little for details nor delivery. So Morrison tells them what they want to hear and makes them feel warm and fuzzy.

He knows they’ll move quickly to their next virtuous cause if there’s no fight to be had.


There’s no dishonesty in this. Morrison keeps alive a handful of real policies and political positions for this very reason. These include, for example, the toothless Paris climate agreement and his embrace of Welcome to Country ceremonies. All pretty harmless when compared to the Labor/Green alternative.

Secondly, Morrison is banking heavily on centre-right voters marking him up for what he delivers – and not becoming too aggrieved by what he says.

The risk he runs, however, is that too many of his traditional supporters may get drawn into believing he’s lurched to the bleeding-heart Left.

He trusts they will see through his symbolic rhetoric and understand from his actions the serious nation building exercise he’s undertaking – and it seems to be working.

Morrison’s approach provides fodder to Australia’s lazy Left-wing media to appease their audiences – while allowing the Prime Minister, for example, to indirectly push for base load power and a re-birth of Australian manufacturing.

You’ll rarely hear him announce such “controversial” policies himself – he’s largely proxied these tasks to commentators within the centre-right media – but there’s no mistaking his intentions if you look past his words.

And the best thing is that Morrison’s new strategy can’t be stolen by Labor or the Greens – as it only works if your supporter base is level-headed and properly informed.PC

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Prime Minister Scott Morrison with former Prime Minister John Howard. (courtesy The Australian)
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6 thoughts on “ScoMo’s brilliant new political strategy

  1. Apropos of not much, can I say that there is huge potential for both employment as well as re-electionability in stoking the renewable sector. It also offers ultimate savings to voters and at the same time contributes to less pollution.
    Before the coal lovers start fuming, let me explain. You see… we can find “clean” ways to burn coal to eliminate pollution and even become a nett producer of renewable power.
    Working with the Iron Boomerang Steel-making project has shown startling efficiencies in eliminating carbon particles, reducing carbon dioxide by producing timber and fabric and even preventing pollution of the Artesian and aquifer systems.
    Why am I going to this trouble?

    Because I want to get elected again.

    Nobody sacrifices any loss of face and everybody is happy.

    John Howard kept the Greens quiet and survived as PM for ten years planting trees, supporting the renewable energy sector, cleaning up the waterways and reducing air pollution.

    And it is good for our health.

    So let’s create top quality steel AND clean up the air.

    Finally, anybody who says that we only make a 1% difference to global warming is not thinking clearly.

    We have eliminated up to 95% of trees in this country in 200 years. I’d say that is a bit more than a one percenter.
    So is it not worth the trouble to both do something that makes us feel good about ourselves and get re-elected all at the same time?

    It does it for me!

    1. “I say that there is huge potential for both employment as well as re-electionability in stoking the renewable sector.”

      The hot new prospect is not renewables at all; it’s fairy dust.

      Fairy dust is cheap to manufacture, and can be used not only to generate free electricity, but to heal illness (including COVID-19), address global wealth disparity, and cause all wars to cease. Not only that, but studies have shown that if politicians ingest fairy dust, they will keep every single promise they make, and never tell a lie!

      It’s critical that Australia act now, to get that critical “first mover” advantage. There is no doubt that a fairy dust-led economic recovery is beckoning, if only our so-called leaders will have the wit to see it!

  2. This piece echoes a theory I developed a few years ago. Howard rose to PM in 1996, before we had a brick phone in the car, let alone a video camera in our pocket. Howard grew with the changing news cycle, and had the (enormous) capacity to master it. Howard was the only PM tested for this skill from the late 1990’s until November 2007 – choosing how and when to engage the media, and opting for talk-back radio when his word had to cut through.

    Those who have come after Howard (except Morrison) have failed to cope. Rudd was pure Vaudeville. He became so intoxicated by his own celebrity, he saw it as his job to be “on show” whenever called upon to appear. He literally licked his lips at the thought of being seen by everyone, everywhere even on the church door step. Gillard was a deer in the headlights. Never ready to govern, and never holding authority (as Howard repeatedly points out). Beholden to Bob Brown’s Greens to keep Abbott at bay, she truly was “Bob Brown’s Bitch” (and there’s actually no sexism/misogyny in this observation at all). Gillard too, followed Rudd’s template, intent on meeting the appetite of the 24-hour news cycle, instead of showing some respect for the half of the House that Abbott commanded, and getting some bipartisanship for the good of the country.

    Abbott (as much as we admired his policy positions) became wooden in his delivery – his attempt to manage the demands of the 24-hour news cycle was to stick with Peta Credlin’s talking points. Abbott, sadly, was too disciplined for his own good. The price he paid was his connection with the electorate that saw him surge to power in two stages, 2010 and 2013. The wooden puppet didn’t cut it, and Credlin failed to see and appreciate this (as much as we admired her policy positions).

    Turnbull was a dupe. Often thought to be the most intelligent person in the room, but never more so than by Turnbull himself. Playing to the lefties – leather jackets on Q&A – he was cuddled as a leadership challenger until such time as he shifted Abbott. Those who loved him as an agent of destabilisation then abandoned him once he was PM. There’s a difference between cuddling and voting. They cuddle you, but never vote for you. Our Matt Kean is yet to observe this reality. Turnbull the dupe never understood the media, which is quite astounding. Never give a ten-second answer when a 10-minute answer will do.

    “Scotty from marketing” is the exception to the rule, as explored here by Sean Burke. He’s seen what not to do, and appreciates that his job involves reserving time in his week for actually doing his job – not just talking about doing his job. Morrison will give the 10-second (or 2-second) answer and immediately look to the next question. This sends a message to the 24-hour news cycle – it says “I’m here for you, but not all day. I have more important things to do, and you guys could maybe run along now.”

    Morrison is a revelation.

    1. “[Turnbull was often] thought to be the most intelligent person in the room.”

      That happened just once: when the only other “person” in the room was a rotten turnip.

  3. And of course Morrison had a very successful career before he entered politics and his empathy and acute insight put him one step ahead of most.

    Over in the U.S.A. many voters are expressing a preference for Trump because he was and still is, an extremely astute business man. His brain is quick and incisive; he will ensure the huge economy gets back on track and rising once more.

    By comparison, I think poor Biden has become so diminished, so pathetic and incapable that it’s actually an insult that the Democrats have nominated this man to run for the great Office of President!

  4. Sean, The Paris Agreement might be ‘toothless’, but it’s forking out millions we can no longer afford!
    I’d like a definite, detailed plan for our future energy security from Taylor and Morrison. Surely it must be a good mix of solid, base-load power from all three sensible sources, coal, oil AND YES, – nuclear.
    I only wish Ms Berejiklian’s lurch to the left was purely symbolic!

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