Articles of faith cross Tasman Sea and embed in General Election run up
In 2017 Scott Morrison brandished a lump of coal in Australia’s Federal Parliament.
Nowadays the prime minister might prefer instead to wave a cup of baby’s blood in front of the assembled legislators.
In 2019 as children and adults at an Oceania conference wallowed up to their waists in pools of water Mr Morrison was on the receiving end of an admonition from New Zealand premier Jacinda Ardern to “explain himself” in regard to climate warming.
A few years before such a thinly veiled scolding would have had panjandrums in Wellington and in Canberra scurrying back and forth uttering sentences beginning with “What she really meant to say was……..”
This time there was no such fluttering. The comment was allowed to stand where it was, as it was, with no backsliding.
So what happened in the brief time when as Federal treasurer Scott Morrison waved his chunk of anthracite and that moment two years later when as prime minister he the senior trans Tasman partner received from his junior partner in the arrangement a condescending ticking-off?
In the intervening two years which saw Mr Morrison achieve his “miraculous” and “impossible” general election victory there occurred a societal shift, a tipping point traversed.
In this now recognisable turn of the ethical tide there emerged now a knowledge worker urban service sector craving to occupy the international ideological high mountain tops, the ones on which to display a passion for the betterment of the world as a whole.
In Australia the first to grasp the new puritanism was Malcolm Turnbull who as prime minister was responsible in 2016 for Australia’s retro-fitted French nuclear submarines.
As zany as the decision seemed at the time, and even more so later, Mr Turnbull saw that the nuclear-as-evil electoral talisman had crossed the Tasman and become firmly wedged in Australia’s own progressive psyche, the one dedicated to republicanism and other such stagey modernisms.
Scott Morrison similarly saw this mutation to what had hitherto been known as the environmental movement. But he realised that in its climate format and that however fashionable it was becoming the Australia middle class was still worried by the cost of it.
So filling the gap left by a captivated Labour Party he put price tags on the progressive zeal and won the impossible election.
The ideological waves from New Zealand breaking on Australia’s shores have now eroded this pocket-book approach.
In economic terms these progressive waves have become inelastic. Price does not matter. The elites want the product which New Zealand has taught them is globalist prestige and recognition. Progressivism had entered the economic zone of premium pricing. The greater the cost. The greater the appeal and perceived benefit.
This is why Mr Morrison now talks of his Labour opposition’s Big Government threat. He cannot be seen to denigrate and demean anything on the climate-social justice axis. The urban activist electorate will turn on him avenging the desecration of their recently acquired belief systems.
Back now to Tuvalu.
It’s symbolism as a political hinge was missed at the time because along with everyone else in Australia Mr Morrison failed to see that the New Zealand prime ministerial remarks were aimed at prestige-conferring globalist institutions as much as the locals.
In the event this unseen yet pivotal episode in Australian electoral progressivism was itself drowned out in an ensuing media-political comedy. Broadcaster Alan Jones said Mr Morrison should "shove a sock down her throat”, following Ms Ardern's critique.
Mr Morrison never adept with abstract altruistic issues now instead chided Mr Jones.
The straight-taking broadcaster was described by Mr Morrison as being "very disappointing" and "way out of line".
Also missed at the time was the way in which Mr Morrison had allowed himself also to be slickly backed into the social justice corner, as well as the climate “crisis” one.
He was told that he had failed to do his “bit” for the population of these said to be submerging islands.
Mr Morrison by way of further explanation reminded everyone on the atoll that he had two daughters and in this paternal capacity was necessarily involved in sea levels in the Pacific.
In the event Mr Jones personified the turning point in Australia’s ideological balance
It was a changing of the guard utterly unobserved at the time.
In came an imploring, dewy-eyed era of global sensitivity and collective loftily visible self-sacrifice.
Out went the winner-take-all era of bluntly stated sports metaphor performance targets along with the ruggedly expressed emphasis on method and order and individuality.
Malcolm Turnbull, the first to discern the way in which New Zealand’s ideology centrepieces such as no-nuclear had penetrated Australian electoral politics, now also put his boot into Mr Jones describing the broadcaster as an "appalling misogynist."
The backwash continues to break on Australian shores. In the last few months News Corp in a carefully planned about-face suddenly converted and became a climate change believer and advocate. Swept away too was Alan Jones.