Scott Morrison coal power
(Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

“Take it down a few notches,” Scott Morrison told politicians on Tuesday night as the country was burning. “There have been a lot of provocative comments made over the last few days from all sides of the debate and I find it very unhelpful.” 

It’s not the first time Morrison has called for people to stay quiet. He’s complained that Extinction Rebellion protesters are “testing the right to protest”, and called for children striking climate action to get back to school.

(Of course it’s different if you’re Israel Folau saying gay people are destined to go to hell. That shows “strength of character”.)

Yet even while demanding others pipe down, Morrison himself is well known for dramatic displays and provocative prose.

This is the man who strutted into parliament with a lump of coal held high.

He stood in the same room a few years later and imitated a famous Kazakh journalist, saying, “I know what Borat would think of Labor’s policies on emissions reduction: verrrrry niiiiice“.

He suggested Save the Children workers had been “making false claims” and “allegedly coaching self-harm” for detainees on Nauru.

He said a job could serve as “a prescription for a young person with mental health issues“.

He implied the death of asylum seeker Reza Berati on Manus was Berati’s fault.

He thinks the legacy of Australia’s bloody colonisation amounts to just “a few scars from some mistakes and things that you could have done better“. 

He wants “more learning in schools and less activism in schools“. But that learning shouldn’t be about different sexualities, a thought which makes his “skin curl“.

And he believes he has been persecuted and subject to “hate speech and bigotry” for his religious views. 

In short, Morrison would prefer everyone walk silently on, while his home state of NSW burns. He’s the only one allowed to make provocative statements around here.