A Shot Across the Bow?

‘This is a vibrant liberal democracy. Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets – but not here in this country. This is a triumph of democracy when we see these things take place.’ – Scott Morrison, March 2021.

Would you make a comparison between a hawk and a handsaw? Or between the stool on which you sit and the stool of a hairy-nosed wombat? Hardly, I suspect. There is no point of overlap within each pair of items which would make a comparison meaningful. Think of a Venn diagram. Only when there is such an overlap can a sensible comparison be made.

Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia, can see the comparison between:

(1) the recent demonstrations, peaceful and far too effective for his comfort, highlighting discrimination against women by the ‘boy’s club’, particularly in Canberra, and

(2) the demonstrations in Myanmar that have, as we all know, been met with live rounds.

There is a point of overlap, maybe more than one, to enable the comparison to be made. I can see the comparison. So, I suspect, can you. To get from one to the other, just add bullets.

But why would Morrison want to make such an incendiary comparison in the first place?

Is it a warning? A shot across the bow? A subtle threat? A gentle hint that we should not step ‘out of line’?

I can’t be 100% sure he meant any of these things. But if he did mean even one of them, it is disgraceful behavior on his part. It undermines completely his follow-up words about ‘triumph of democracy’.

I think it is a pity nobody with any real clout asked him for clarification on this point. Of course, he would have denied that he meant to play bully but, at least, he would have been pulled into line. He would have been obliged to watch his words next time around.

As it stands, he may now feel emboldened.

What about the protest movements themselves? I have great sympathy for the women whose belittlement and abuse, some of it within the precincts of our seat of government, brought out so many all over Australia in support of their cause. And I am in awe of those unimaginably brave people in Myanmar standing up against a brutal military regime.

Who wouldn’t be?