We’ve been clear from the start on our views on the sports rorts scandal. But if the prime minister doesn’t wish to listen to the views of a humble “news and gossip e-zine” like Crikey, perhaps his boosters in the media will shift his view?
There’s not much a conservative could do that Bolt isn’t able to reverse park his way into defending or supporting. So when he’s calling for the resignation of anyone other than a Malcolm Turnbull supporter, you know something’s up.
Bolt has unequivocally called for McKenzie’s resignation, saying in yesterday’s column that the saga was an example of “how you trash respect for government”:
“The worst thing about the sports rorts scandal is that the Morrison government treated hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteers with such cynical contempt. Those volunteers — mums, dads, coaches and administrators in sports clubs around the country — thought their government would play by the rules.
Bearded child Caleb Bond hasn’t written on the subject, but has cropped up regularly on Sky News to call for McKenzie’s resignation. Having said it was time for her to “fall on her sword” last week, he popped up again to announce the “final nail in the coffin was that colour-coded spreadsheet”.
“It gets dirtier and dirtier.”
The Coalition can normally rely on a fairly generous time from The Australian. But a critical editorial on January 18 — which stopped just short of calling for her resignation — showed this one wasn’t going to blow over so easily.
Peter Van Onselen has been highly critical, as you might expect from one of the Oz‘s more moderate commentators.
Niki Savva has used sports rorts as evidence of Morrison’s faltering performance over the past few months. And Geoff Chambers did the same with Nationals leader Michael McCormack while national affairs editor Simon Benson — who had earlier written the scandal was a “flesh wound” for the government — went on Sky News to reinforce the “general view” that McKenzie was “cactus”.
Of the talkback kings, 2GB’s Ben Fordham has gone the hardest on McKenzie, in particular her commissioning of a $160,000 report into the benefits of shooting: “This is a disgusting waste of money and anyone in government who was involved in throwing $160,000 out a window over a useless study should resign or apologise.”
Even passionate ScoMo backer Ray Hadley, who hosts 2GB’s morning show, thinks it’s getting bad. He wrote last Friday:
Pork barrelling on the way to an election is something all parties get involved in but in the senator’s case it gets worse by the day … She’s a very capable woman but has made a serious error of judgment.
If that sounds fairly mild, it’s worth remembering his reaction to the last crisis that engulfed the government was to tell the PM, just returned from his Hawaii holiday, “I’ve got to say that I felt some sorrow for you. I felt sorry for you that you were copping it in the manner that you did.”