Scott Morrison's Deeply Rooted Problem -- Inside His Own Party
Scott Morrison has a deeply rooted problem.
And it's this: If dozens pf people within his own party didn't want him to be Prime Minister, why should you?
But let's get back to that shortly.
It's a crisp autumnal morning in Mandurah, 40 minutes south of Perth. A light breeze skips across the estuary creating a blinding haze of diamonds.
Retirees walk purposefully along the concrete edge until they see me.
"Morning," they holler, each bristling with late-onset enthusiasm.
We exchange pleasantries, as I prep for my cross.
The weather is pleasant, much like Scott Morrison's reception back in town.
However, Canning is a long way from the land-locked electorates of Western Sydney or Queensland's remote mining towns.
In truth, it has more in common with Bribie Island off Brisbane's east coast, where self-funded retirees are drawn to the sand like sugar ants to ice cream --- but this is where Scott Morrison finds himself promising $20 million for CCTV cameras.
It's another local pledge from the bloke whose electoral pitch feels like he wants to be the Mayor of Australia, not its Commander-in-Chief.
By contrast, Labor's announcing a $1 billion energy package for schools nearby, on top of a $2.4 billion dental care package for seniors the day prior. It's high tax, high spend, high risk, high reward-type stuff. Both sides know it.
Later, Scott Morrison shuffles up to the cameras in the park in lockstep with a colleague that history now tells us didn't want to be standing next to him today.
It's a little more awkward considering that man is Andrew Hastie, a former SAS Trooper.
See, elite soldiers are disciplined.
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They're trained to hold the line and follow orders, which makes his participation in the August coup to topple Malcolm Turnbull -- Hastie's democratically elected leader -- in favour of Peter Dutton (and then vote for Dutton again in favour of the consensus candidate Scott Morrison) -- all the more incredible.
As an officer, Andrew Hastie took an oath to serve and protect his nation from agents both foreign and domestic ... and yet he turned insurgent.
"Back in August you backed Peter Dutton. Were you wrong back then, do you regret what you did?" I ask him, drawing the back-bencher into the line of fire.
"Scott Morrison is a great Prime Minister, I support him. He's always been a friend and colleague," Hastie says, before going on to talk about the need to protect the economy from Bill Shorten.
Labor has its own worries. It's now revealed that it can't calculate how much its climate policy will cost families, workers and businesses.
There are similar questions around its electric car target. The answer is 'billions'; if only someone could settle on just how many billions, but that's different.
When you become Prime Minister by just five votes, you have to wonder what the 40 Dutton backers of the Liberal party room saw in Scott Morrison that they didn't like.
Since taking over the reigns, Morrison has narrowed the gap and is now within striking distance of perhaps pulling off a truly remarkable victory.
Any victory though will be based on uniting a coalition of the unwilling.
Of course, if he doesn't win, you have to wonder, which of his lieutenants will turn on him first.