Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

It’s become a media truism: the pandemic response shows that Morrison really learnt from his bushfire stumbles. But just what did he learn? It seems that Morrison learnt to control the news cycle -- it’s not whether you do nothing, it’s how you do that nothing that counts.

Moving on from the Hawaii-holidaying “I don’t hold a hose, mate” dismissal of the media, he has learnt that he needs to feed the media chooks a steady flow of announceables. He needs to look all prime ministerial for the television cameras, after the details have been shaped into the government’s preferred narrative in advance through special day-before briefings for the gallery heavyweights.

It’s Morrison’s Potemkin policy village: a facade of action thrown up to keep journalists busy. It's all colour and movement, with no substance. It's a little like the notorious village facades set up by Grigory Potemkin, Catherine the Great’s 18th century court favourite, to comfort the empress that her country was richer than it was.