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Was Scott Morrison thinking this all along? Conspiracy questions follow Sunday sermon



Previously, Australian prime ministers have mounted careful campaigns to become the Secretary-General of the United Nations after leaving office.

Scott Morrison wasted no time in giving it a kicking.

The concluding notes of a sermon the former prime minister delivered at a controversial church on Sunday have revived questions about whether he had flirted with far right tropes and conspiracies, which, since the pandemic, have centred on the claimed threat from international institutions.

Mr Morrison closed his address with the observation that nothing was more important than God.

“We trust in Him. We don’t trust in governments,” he said.

Attention was stirred after Mr Morrison made a show of seeming to break down in laughter while reading the next line.

“We don’t trust in the United Nations (thank goodness),” Mr Morrison said.

The well-heeled Perth congregation split their sides.

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A political foundation

Mr Morrison’s rise to the Prime Minister’s office began with Christianity and a factional alliance in the Liberal Party that leaned on outer suburban Sydney Pentecostalism for values – and voters.

By the time he took office questions were being asked if Mr Morrison’s political messages were alluding to the right wing motifs and conspiracies that had become especially popular among American Pentecostals now key to the Trump campaign.

In his first major foreign policy speech in the top job Mr Morrison took aim at “globalism” – a term President Trump made central to his world view, and most often used to describe a sinister international movement undermining America.

The then-new Australian PM pitched his narrative in far more reasonable terms but the similarity struck some observers as uncanny.

Mr Morrison would later be awarded the Legion of Merit by President Trump and face criticism for refusing to criticise his actions during his final days in power.

It later emerged Mr Morrison was friends with perhaps the most prominent Australian follower of the QAnon conspiracy, Tim Stewart.

The series of web postings casts President Trump in a secret fight against a shadowy elite cabal that had kidnapped children for sexual abuse and to extract rejuvenating chemicals from their blood.

Mr Morrison used the term “ritual sexual abuse” in his apology to child abuse victims, as Mr Stewart predicted he would – sending followers into meltdown over what they thought was a signal.

The church has become an unexpectedly powerful vehicle for political conspiracy theories about secret plans for global government which have fast multiplied during the pandemic. 

“Conspiracy theories about the United Nations have spread alongside a huge, American-style rebuttal to its entire existence as a Godless, secular organisation,” said Joel Hill, who covers conspiracy theories and the far right on a popular podcast, The Conditional Release Program.

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“They think climate change is a hoax; an affront to God … and then you go onto its Satanic agendas …”

Mr Hill said the former PM’s seeming readiness to part ways with mainstream opinion could be taken as a hint about the direction of his life after politics.

“He’s already speaking at churches, and winking towards conspiratorial thinking,” he said.

“He’s either going to continue to flesh this out and make some kind of persona out of it, or go the way of a quiet ex-PM.

“This week’s weird lap of events, including meeting up with Mike Pence, suggests he is up to something … who knows what, but it seems like an interesting pivot.”

Not on a mission

Benjamin Moffitt, an expert on populism at the Australian Catholic University, said Mr Morrison’s recent remarks were difficult to separate from rumours about his time in power.

“I’m by no means willing to jump on the bandwagon that Scott Morrison is a conspiracy theorist,” Associate Professor Moffitt said.

“But I do think that this (sermon) is a wink to that side of things [… of] global organisations allegedly being a tool of the elite, particularly the left secular elite, to stamp on our national sovereignty and individual rights.”

He said it was difficult to say when a perfectly mainstream conservative view about international institutions undermining national sovereignty bled into fully fledged conspiracy thinking.

His Sunday sermon did not show Mr Morrison to be on a coherent ideological mission like some American conservatives, he said, but nor did it give any insight into his motivations.

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“You could never kind of pin down who or what this guy really is,” he said.

“We still don’t know who Scott Morrison is, or was, beyond the faith thing.

“It’s always these speeches to churches that seem to reveal the most about him rather than anything we got in office.”

Mr Morrison’s office did not respond to questions about the meaning of his statements and whether he thought the United Nations undermined nations’ sovereignty.

The post Was Scott Morrison thinking this all along? Conspiracy questions follow Sunday sermon appeared first on The New Daily.



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