Will Scott Morrison’s Aussie bloke tour of Queensland actually work?


Updated

November 06, 2018 16:45:51

With a branded baseball cap for every occasion and a lexicon borrowed from Barry McKenzie, Scott Morrison’s “Aussie Bloke Tour” of marginal Queensland is in full swing.

The ScoMo style has found its critics. His lingo may jar with some people and his Twitter and Facebook videos have been accused of being cheesy — but it’s all very deliberate.

The former marketing executive has launched a campaign to distinguish himself from his predecessor, a man heckled from both sides as being “Mr Harbourside Mansion”, or cast as aloof and elite.

What’s more down to earth than a bloke driving around in a bus, kicking the tyres of rural Australia while munching on meat pies?

Malcolm Turnbull’s top hat has been usurped by a Beefy’s Pies cap.

The Prime Minister’s bus — or the ‘ScoMobile’ as some in the party have termed it — may be a ploy normally associated with relevance-deprived opposition leaders, but no tactic’s too common for a new leader keen to puncture the public’s inflated distaste for federal politics, or the “Canberra bubble” as Mr Morrison puts it.

It is difficult to imagine Mr Turnbull confiding about his first make-out session with Lucy.

But Mr Morrison shared such intimacies on FM radio this morning with Bianca, Mike and Bob. It turns out he and Jen first snogged on the shore of Lake Munmorah.

And could anyone imagine Mr Turnbull giving a shout out to Mick Fanning’s mum for a trucker hat, agreeing to play cricket in his home with commercial radio hosts, or making a best of the ’80s rock playlist?

To complete the contrast with his former leader — who was prone to lengthy, learned and occasionally repetitious explanations of his government’s agenda — Mr Morrison strode purposefully into the clanking kitchens of Beefy’s Pies on the “Sunny Coast” to declare concisely: “I’m listening. Most importantly I’m hearing. And that means we’re doing.”

Simple! And all in under a dozen words.

Will Morrison’s marketing pitch have national appeal?

And with an election looming, Mr Morrison is on a mission to calm voters revulsed by the merry-go-round leadership. He wants them comfortable with him, even if it’s at the risk of becoming the daggy dad rather than the statesman.

The question is whether the Prime Minister’s marketing pitch will work outside the marginal Queensland electorates he’s determined to save.

The ScoMobile won’t pass through Longman, but it was the swing against the Coalition at the July by-election that rattled Coalition MPs who feared Mr Turnbull was leading them to wipe-out.

Queensland is the home of marginal seats but it is also the state where the push against Mr Turnbull began, with 40 Coalition MPs preferring Peter Dutton over Scott Morrison as prime minister.

But already, senior Labor strategists are briefing newspapers that Mr Morrison’s new “blokey” image is helping the Coalition’s fortunes in Queensland — killing off the Sydney-“toff” attack regularly aimed at Mr Turnbull.

That sentiment was reflected by Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers yesterday, who said “Queenslanders can spot a phony try-hard from a mile away”.

“No amount of fake parody videos, no amount of bus trips will cover up for the fact Scott Morrison always sides with the top end of town at the expense of Queenslanders,” Mr Chalmers said.

The Prime Minister has proved he can shift his public persona from the hard man of Operation Sovereign Borders and “on water matters” to the star of homemade videos, where he hugs a punnet of strawberries.

So adept at brand overhauls, he seems to have changed his signature three times in as many years.

On one of Mr Morrison’s first appearances as Prime Minister, he ditched the Akubra hat worn by Mr Turnbull when he toured regions affected by the drought.

“I don’t have an Akubra mate, so I’m just going to bring my Sharks hat,” he told Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

It was a small signal from a prime minister who is already campaigning to save his prime ministership, despite only being in office for 69 days.

Topics:

federal-government,

government-and-politics,

liberals,

australia,

qld

First posted

November 06, 2018 16:37:16





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