(Image: Private Media)

Nine has published a glowing personal tribute to Scott Morrison, written by a close friend called Karen Harrington — but perhaps just as interesting is what the piece doesn’t say.

Fortuitously for a prime minister with a woman problem, Harrington can attest to Morrison’s “intense connection” with his “family of women” (that would be Jen and the girls), which makes him committed to “shaping a better deal for women”.

Morrison is also apparently “a great listener” and not a bulldozer at all. Happy days. It feels like the prime minister’s office has its fingerprints all over it. But surely not.

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The masthead ran a corresponding personal take on Anthony Albanese, written by an old university friend, Alex Bukarica, who was described as a lawyer, godfather to Albanese’s son, and a member of the ALP.

In the Morrison piece, which went to the PM’s political vulnerabilities, Harrington is described as “a friend of Scott and Jenny Morrison”. 

The overt attempt to bust “myths” went down like a lead balloon with readers.

Karen Harrington is well qualified to know Morrison. But her husband, Adrian Harrington, is even more so. He and Morrison are close mates going back to the 1990s when the two knew each other through the Property Council, the lobby group for Australia’s property developers and owners. 

Morrison was a young researcher on the make and was building the property networks that have stood him in good stead ever since. Adrian Harrington was never far away. He has major credentials in the funds management and real estate business. When Morrison was treasurer he handed Harrington an appointment on the government’s National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) board.

In 2019 the Morrison government appointed Harrington as chair of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, a government body that advises on housing and homelessness. (The institute has become a stomping ground for Morrison government friends, such as former senator Karen Synon, also a deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on $500,000 a year.)

As they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed, and it’s nice to see the Harringtons being able to give a hand to the Morrisons.

Crikey has also identified that the photograph of Morrison and Karen Harrington, published by the SMH, was taken on the night of Jen Morrison’s birthday. We have been handed another photograph of the night taken in the kitchen with the Morrisons all together. Other guests included close Morrison family friend Lynelle Stewart, who was Jen’s bridesmaid and who was on the government payroll for a period as a helper at Kirribilli House.  

Stewart’s husband, Tim, was the best-known QAnon figure in Australia until his Twitter accounts were shut down due to “coordinated harmful activity”. If only Stewart — who went by the Twitter codename Burned Spy — could talk, what kind of testimonial might he offer?

Alas Morrison has been fighting moves by Guardian Australia for access to texts between him and Stewart on the subject of Stewart’s attempts to have the PM use the term “ritual abuse” in his parliamentary apology to survivors of child sex abuse.  

Jen’s party. Ah, the things that are forgotten in the midst of an election campaign.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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