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“Liar” is a tag that's really started to hurt Scott Morrison. It sticks to him like tar. His instinctive response to its exposure -- lying some more -- isn’t exactly helping. The same might be said to apply to the prime minister's other obvious negative character descriptor: “bully”.

Bullying is an insidious behavioural trait whose social unacceptability is almost universally accepted. It was effectively declared aberrant in schools long ago, and in recent years has become explicitly unlawful in the workplace. Its relationship to coercive control and other forms of abuse is obvious. All in all, we now consider bullying to be a reprehensible thing for anyone to do in any context.

The allegation that Morrison is a bully has been around as long as he’s been in politics. It was sharpened dramatically by former Liberal MP Julia Banks’ revelations of how he dealt with her during her departure from Parliament -- “menacing, controlling wallpaper” is how she memorably described his presence -- and last week honed further by the story of Bridget Archer.