• Hannah Ferguson

Forget Morrison versus Macron, we're missing the bigger picture

This week, global leaders are gathering to make decisions that will determine the survival of our planet. Yet, the topic dominating Australia's presence at the G20 Summit is the political fallout of a terminated submarine contract. So far, Scott Morrison has successfully maintained tensions with world leaders, met the international press with contempt and responded to French President Macron's accusations with 'I won't cop sledging' (robust response, Scott). But what haven't we heard much about yet? Climate action.

If you've been watching the coverage of Scott Morrison's various humiliating encounters with world leaders from the opening of the G20 Summit in Rome, you may be at risk of feeling sorry for the poor guy. I mean, there's nothing that tears at the heartstrings quite like seeing someone wander around alone in the middle of a happy, friendly crowd (especially when that crowd are the heads of the world's leading economies coming together for one of the most significant events of the decade).

Well, I personally couldn't feel less sorry for Scott.

While I know I have enjoyed (a little too much) the painful images of Scott engaging with French President Emmanuel Macron, there is much to be said for the significant distraction this awkward and embarrassing encounter offers the media, the Australian public and Scott Morrison himself. As global leaders move from Rome to Glasgow and attempt to secure key agreements that will play a vital role in the future survival of our planet, it is not only reductive, but arguably calculated to use this time to focus on the fallout of a submarine deal gone bad.

It is important to note that while I believe the claims that Scott lied to President Macron hold significant weight and should be investigated fully, I'm much more interested in focussing on coverage of the climate commitments our Prime Minister does and perhaps more importantly, does not make, and ensuring these are noted and publicised to the fullest extent. When Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce chimed in today with, 'we didn't deface the Eiffel Tower', I had seen quite enough of this distraction tactic.

Put simply, I refuse to allow our Prime Minister to mitigate prime-time coverage of his leadership and commitments in Glasgow, by centring the conversation around him 'copping sledging'. Scott Morrison has spent the entirety of his Prime Ministership displaying deep contempt for action that goes beyond what is necessary to keep himself in the top job.

His failure to implement the Respect @ Work campaign recommendations, to execute the national vaccination rollout, and to commit to net zero by 2050, has proven his leadership style to be a game of hide-and-seek. Until he is completely exposed to the Australian public for failing to act, he has no interest in pursuing meaningful change.

Scott Morrison has failed us.

With his last minute commitment to net zero.

With a plan that relies on questionable new technologies.

With no changes to the government's existing emissions reduction targets.

When he fails to represent us at COP26 this week, I want the spotlight to remain firmly on him. No more tricks, hiding or denial.

In this instance, you do hold the hose mate.