Right-wing columnist Miranda Devine has thrown her support behind beleaguered Prime Minister Scott Morrison and says Australia is ‘lucky to have him’.
But in an astonishing attack, she branded naysayers like fellow Liberal commentators Andrew Bolt, Peta Credlin, Chris Kenny and Janet Albrechtsen as ‘lily-livered opportunists’.
The outburst comes after ranks of outspoken government supporters piled on the PM in the wake of plunging poll numbers and damning text messages.
Staunch Liberal Andrew Bolt condemned the PM as ‘finished’ and said he looked like a man ‘with the fight beaten out of him’.
Peta Credlin – Tony Abbott’s former chief of staff – last week joined the backlash and insisted the PM needs to ‘be better’ and the Coalition had become ‘Labor-lite’.
Right-wing columnist Miranda Devine (pictured) has thrown her support behind beleaguered Prime Minister Scott Morrison and says Australia is ‘lucky to have him’
The outburst comes after ranks of outspoken government supporters piled on PM Scott Morrison (pictured) in the wake of plunging poll numbers and damning text messages
But now, without specifically naming them, Ms Devine blasted ‘the so-called conservatives currently undermining Morrison on the eve of a crucial election.
‘When the Coalition should be unified and ready for battle, it seems there are lily-livered opportunists in its own ranks who have decided an election loss is inevitable so they may as well kick the PM when he’s down,’ she wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
‘The Canberra classes with their superficial preoccupations have always written off Morrison, but the Australian people usually get it right.’
Ms Devine insists history will be far kinder to the PM ‘than any of the current crop of Twitter narks and lemon-sucking pundits who nitpick at him relentlessly for the most trivial transgressions.’
She says Nine’s recent 60 Minutes special which focused on the PM’s 2019 holiday in Hawaii at the height of the bushfire crisis was an overblown controversy.
Ms Devine branded the row ‘farcical’ and said that if that is the worst criticism against him, ‘he can’t be doing too badly.’
She says Nine’s recent 60 Minutes special which focused on the PM’s 2019 holiday in Hawaii at the height of the bushfire crisis was an overblown controversy (pictured Scott Morrison and wife Jenny on the show)
‘Australians are lucky they have a leader who has managed to balance the economy with public health through the pandemic, while also safeguarding national security at a time of serious peril,’ she wrote.
She insists that the PM stood up to the challenges during a non-stop series of crises since the last election and ‘didn’t check out when the going got tough.’
The columnist, currently based in New York, added: ‘He focused on the daunting problems facing the country and tried to find solutions.’
Ms Devine compared the situation in Australia to life in the US under President Joe Biden with record debt, high inflation and millions of illegal immigrants.
Ms Devine warns that a Labor government would throw open Australia’s borders, sparking an ‘illegal migration disaster’.
Ms Devine compared the situation in Australia to life in the US under President Joe Biden (pictured) with record debt, high inflation and millions of illegal immigrants
‘But now the border is secure, the economy is relatively stable, and Australia is emerging from the pandemic better off than most countries,’ she wrote.
The columnist acknowledged the PM had made mistakes, but said few had ever had to deal with multiple crises like Covid, recession and facing down Chinese oppression.
‘The vitriol daily heaped on the PM is inexplicable,’ she insisted.
Her comments come after a flood of outrage from normally loyal allies to the government.
Sky News host Peta Credlin last week called on Mr Morrison to give voters ‘a reason to vote for you’, saying his leadership of the Liberal Party was leaving some people ‘politically homeless’.
Sky News host Peta Credlin (pictured) has turned up the heat of Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison (pictured) is under pressure from right wing commentators who have previously backed him
Writing in The Australian, Ms Credlin said Mr Morrison’s lack of ideas have led to a lot of ‘disillusionment among many Liberal supporters’, especially on policy related to lowered taxes and more support for big businesses.
Ms Credlin also poured cold water on the government’s ability to steer the economy – traditionally viewed as a strong point for the Liberals.
She said the Coalition ‘boasts about good economic statistics that don’t wholly capture what’s happening in the real world and owe much less to government than to the hard work of individuals making the most of a bad situation’.
Credlin’s column comes just three days after fellow Sky News host and News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt said Mr Morrison is ‘finished’, with the last straw seeming to be a stunt where the prime minister washed a woman’s hair in a salon in Victoria.
Mr Bolt said it was a ‘sad stunt’ and urged Minister for Defence Peter Dutton, who is favoured by conservatives, to ‘get ready to lead’ because Mr Morrison looked like a ‘man with the fight beaten out of him’.
Writing in the Herald Sun, he said: ‘Prime Minister Scott Morrison looks finished, and is now making a fool of himself to get some love.
‘This bizarre (hair salon) photo-op showed not just that Morrison is desperate but out of ideas. It showed he has a dangerously thin skin, and is bleeding.’
The salon visit came after a horror week which started with a Newspoll showing the government trailing Labor by 12 points, which if replicated on election day would mean the Coalition losing 25 seats.
He was then roasted by journalists at the National Press Club where he admitted making several errors during the pandemic but refused to apologise and failed to name the price of bread, petrol and rapid antigen tests.
Mr Morrison was later asked about texts from 2019 in which then NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian allegedly called him a ‘horrible, horrible person’ and a one of his own ministers branded him a ‘complete psycho’.
Janet Albrechtsen (pictured) used her column in The Australian to say Scott Morrison is ‘just not up to the job’
Sky News host and News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt (pictured) said Scott Morrison is ‘finished’
Then last Thursday the PM was slammed for backflipping to support Western Australia’s hard border, with critics saying it proved he has no principles and can’t be trusted.
This drew anger from Sky News host and former Liberal adviser Chris Kenny.
‘Mark McGowan’s wrong and the Prime Minister didn’t call him out on it,’ Me Kenny said.
‘(The PM) needs to call out Mark McGowan on this. He’s the Prime Minister of Australia! He should support no internal hard borders.’
On Friday, texts were made public of National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce calling Mr Morrison a ‘hypocrite and a liar’.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s photo op (pictured) washing a young woman’s hair in a salon has been called ‘weird and creepy’
Sky News host and former Liberal Party adviser Chris Kenny (pictured) has recently criticised Scott Morrison
Mr Joyce apologised to the Prime Minister and offered to resign. The apology was accepted, but the resignation was not.
On Tuesday, also writing in The Australian, columnist Janet Albrechtsen said Mr Morrison is ‘just not up to the job’, lacks ‘conviction’ and hasn’t led with ‘liberal principles’.
‘Though his colleagues may describe him as “horrible” and a “psycho” and a “liar”, my disappointment with him is less gaudy but no less real,’ she wrote.
‘I can’t put my finger on a single important policy Morrison has made his own, where he has chanced his arm in the political marketplace of ideas because he believes it is important to carry people with him.’
Ms Albrechtsen also said Mr Morrison is ‘a mix of middle management and marketing man’.
2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame (left) refused to smile at Scott Morrison (right) during a morning tea for state and territory recipients in the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards
‘He never braves the harder stuff, the values a democracy depends on to function. Truth be told, I can’t work out what values excite him politically. Except winning,’ she wrote.
She also referred to the hair washing stunt, calling it ‘weird and creepy’.
And along with his own former backers turning against him, Mr Morrison is also dealing with the continuing fallout from an incident on January 25 when former Australian of the Year Grace Tame refused to smile at him.
That incident was compounded on Wednesday when Mr Tame spoke at the National Press Club and said she had got a ‘threatening’ phone call last August from a senior member of a government-funded organisation, begging her not to say anything ‘damning’ about Scott Morrison with an election due in the first half of 2022.