There was an interesting, albeit brief, window between education minister Dan Tehan’s comments about Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and their swift withdrawal on Sunday.
It summed up the culture wars in Australia, very neatly.
No issue is seeing them play out more clearly than the battle over schools right now – and Tehan dared to dance too close to the fire before being yanked back.
Perhaps it could only when a member of the Morrison government dared to call out ‘Comrade Dan’, that we would see the wars blaze, briefly before our eyes, before being extinguished in panic.
Tehan had hardly finished speaking on ABC’s Insiders when he must have received a call from the PM’s office chastising him for going too hard on Andrews and telling him to pull back.
It was a rare intervention.
But, even with haste, it came too late.
Far-left activists of Australia were furious that their hero had been criticised.
They screeched about Andrews showing “true leadership”.
They howled about “Scovid” and his evil plan to kill us all.
They wailed about David Speers not being up to the Insiders job — which clearly they see as criticising Morrison every second he’s on air. Apparently, that makes Insiders a “Murdoch Sky News program” now.
In short, they were livid that Andrews had been chastised.
They were so angry; they finally evolved their “#ScottyFromMarketing” hashtag that’s been boring anyone aged over eight since Christmas, to “#ScottyFromMarketingAndPlagues”.
Their problem is that this narrative around Morrison being untrustworthy isn’t going to wash with mainstream Aussies; they do trust him.
They did choose to vote for him.
They do believe he’s handling this crisis well.
And they do think children should be at school, following the best health advice.
It’s only the fringe activist left who believe Morrison’s an “irresponsible”, “bully” and “misogynist”.
It’s only a tiny pocket in metropolitan Melbourne where Andrews brand is strong.
Tehan may well have dared to speak the truth, but it causes too many problems to try to take on Comrade Dan’s army.
And for now, the PM put unity ahead of politicking.
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