Waving his shield metaphor about cost of living pressures, Scott Morrison tested another method of defense against the media that doubled as an attack.
“You can ask the questions, not say the answer,” the prime minister responded to a press package in which he told him about his fate if Australia placed a bunch of so-called teal-independents in the balance of power.
Morrison stepped aside by answering the press Friday morning in Perth, while simultaneously taking shape against his opponent, who stood in the relative safety of his inner-west Sydney seat of Grayndler, thousands of miles away.
The sled against Anthony Albanese – who stumbled again this week in the face of the media’s persistent memory tests and the perceived brutality of sections of the community – was to remind Australians to make a choice about who was in charge.
“As prime minister, you don’t have an easy day at the office. Every day is tough,” Morrison said as he stared through the lens of a camera at a Western Australian drone factory. “If Anthony Albanese thinks the campaign is difficult, I have news for him: government is a lot harder.”
He should have gained ground after being drowned out the day before by a frustrated group of journalists in a Sydney candy store after refusing to answer whether he would campaign in Wentworth’s seat, a question he’d asked all week. artfully avoided.
“My mother lives in Wentworth,” he had said wryly to questions about whether to show his face alongside liberal moderate Dave Sharma, defending a paper-thin margin against independent Allegra Spender.
Demand continued to haunt Morrison all week after the coalition’s broad church showed signs of being stretched too thin on climate action, a tension manifested in the prime minister’s absence thus far in certain under-threat metropolitan seats.
During the fourth week of the campaign, Morrison visited Parramatta twice, then Corangamite, Dunkley, Chisholm, Boothby and then back to Parramatta, before flying far west to the electorate of Cowan, Swan and Christian Porter’s ceded seat of Pearce .