Does Prime Minister Scott Morrison have a tin ear? Is he simply arrogant, a daggy dad, or does he just believe that as the PM he needs to travel wherever and whenever he likes?
His weekend jaunt to Kirribilli House in Sydney for Father’s Day certainly upset a few people.
One journalist called it Hawaii 2.0, referring to his ill-timed family holiday as the east coast was going up in flames. A bit over the top maybe, but it caught people’s attention.
With millions in lockdown, it was not a good look, as ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr observed, to jump on a plane to Sydney armed with an ACT Health exemption so he could go back to work in Canberra.
Many thought the Prime Minister should show leadership and express his solidarity with all the parents and children out there who are not able to see their loved ones in the flesh by sticking to the travel restrictions, his residence, the Lodge, and his place of work, Parliament House.
Jack in the box Bill Shorten said it was an appalling lack of judgment, but the incredible shrinking Albo was much more generous, saying he wasn’t going to criticise the PM for being a father.
Albo wasn’t going to go off script for a low-value cheap shot – that was better left to his predecessor.
But if the Labor leader expects to fall over the line next year by not offending swinging voters, he may be mistaken.
The exemption put the Chief Minister and the Chief Health Officer in a tight spot when peppered with questions at their daily COVID briefing.
Mr Barr’s “I am not the Prime Minister’s keeper line” would have resonated with our Pentecostal PM, as would Dr Coleman saying it was not up to her to judge him.
Realistically, she could hardly refuse the PM’s request, and there will be more to come, with an unrepentant PM vowing to take more trips home.
This will rankle with many stuck in lockdown, but Mr Morrison seems to not really care.
Form suggests he is somewhat gormless, but in a world where people seem to have the memories of goldfish, perhaps he is just banking on the circus moving on.
Or perhaps it is symptomatic of a government confident that it is beyond the reach of criticism and that its media cheerleaders will always come to its rescue.
Despite its scandalous behaviour with taxpayers money, vaccine and quarantine stuff-ups and shameless misrepresentation of the Doherty Institute modelling and the national COVID-19 Plan to push its own political agenda, the Morrison Government remains inured to any form of accountability.
So it is hardly surprising that the Prime Minister saw nothing wrong with a dash to Sydney and back, kept it quiet and then pushed back when the criticism came.
This is a Prime Minister who will acknowledge nothing, keep changing his tune to suit the government’s needs, and exploit every advantage of incumbency in the hopefully post-lockdown vaccinated environment in which the next election will be held.
It’s a ruthlessness that Mr Albanese will struggle to match, particularly when many will be wondering just what this new under-the-radar Labor actually stands for.
But the PM may want to ‘redeploy’ the social media manager, assuming it wasn’t him, who used a photo of the Morrison family from a 2020 memorial for children killed by a drunk driver on his Facebook page for Father’s Day.
That was definitely not a good look.