Scott Morrison dancing with children.
(Image: AAP/Joel Carrett)

Scott Morrison has a simple message for young people concerned against climate change: chill!

At his UN address, the prime minister doubled down on an insistence that the kiddies eschew “anxiety” about the latest report from the World Meteorological Organisation with its accounts of rising sea levels, skyrocketing carbon dioxide and dissolving ice sheets.

And how might they do that?

Morrison explained the technique he’d adopted with his own daughters: countering the science taught at school with… not-science.

“I encourage them to have a passionate and independent view about how they see the world — but I also give them a lot of context. I don’t allow them to be, basically, contorted into one particular view,” he said.

The PM adopts this Choose Your Own Adventure approach to reality because “the worst thing I would impose on any child is needless anxiety”. Of course, he can’t think the emotion entirely bad, given he’s built an entire political career out of making people anxious about (occasionally imaginary) things.

So, for the benefit of Greta Thunberg, Crikey presents Scott Morrison’s Top Four Needful Anxieties.

1. Refugees

Most of us don’t pop a homemade trophy on our mantle to celebrate workplace achievements because, um, that would be weird. But ScoMo’s famous refugee boat statue makes sense, given how really, really scary he says they are.

After all, in the debate about medivac laws, the PM warned that offering treatment to the desperately sick would mean “child molesters, rapists and murderers” roaming free in Australia.

On an earlier occasion, he’d suggested that refugees might spread typhoid. Another time, he said that they were probably carrying guns, and also that he’d seen ‘wads of cash … large displays of jewellery and a lot of money floating around when these boats come in”.

Experts do warn that climate change will displace hundreds of millions of people — but, hey, that’s probably the fault of refugees, too.

2. Toilets

In August, Nine’s political editor Chris Uhlmann tweeted — as you do — a photo of the door to the women’s toilets at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Canberra. A sign on the door suggested staff “use the bathroom that best fits your gender identity”.

Scott Morrison knew a crisis when he saw one.

Despite being in regional NSW for the funeral of former deputy PM Tim Fischer, Morrison got on the blower to his friends at 2GB.

“[I]t’s ridiculous,” he declared, “I have a very clear view about this and I am sure this will be sorted.”

Take note, greenies. If you could prove that global warming might make life marginally easier for transgender people, ScoMo would put a stop to it, quick smart.

3. Electric cars

During most of the election campaign the Liberals had zilch to offer, what with devoting the previous year almost entirely to internal bloodletting. Accordingly, Morrison did his best with whatever came to hand, including opposition to those frightening electric cars.

Such contraptions were, he explained, part of Bill Shorten’s plan to “end the weekend”, an effort to ruin the happiness of “Australians who love being out there in their four-wheel drives”. It doesn’t matter if the Australian bush now turns into an inferno each summer because, you see, “Dollar Bill” Shorten won’t let you drive out there anyway.

4. African gangs

On this one, ScoMo played something of a supporting role, allowing Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton their moment in the spotlight. The latter, famously, took to 2GB  (where else?) to explain that Victorians were “too scared to go out to restaurants” because of “African gang violence”. But that news evidently hadn’t reached frontbencher Christopher Pyne.

“Are you afraid to go out to restaurants in Melbourne?” he was asked during a visit to the Victorian capital.

“No, why?’ replied a befuddled Pyne. “Should I be?”

And then he remembered the anxiety du jour.

“Oh, because of the gangs, the violence…” he giggled.

Even senior Liberals sometimes struggle to distinguish the good fears from the bad ones.

Peter Fray

Inoculate yourself against the spin

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and protect yourself against news that goes viral.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey