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Scott Morrison goes to the polls knowing if he loses the federal election, it will in no small part be due to dozens of blunders during his term.
The prime minister has suffered more than 30 errors, goofs, and embarrassing moments since winning reelection in 2019.
These range from slips on the tongue that derailed his message, or systemic mistakes like his government’s delay in acquiring Covid vaccines.
Both parties went into the campaign knowing voter distain for Mr Morrison was a major factor that either needed to be managed or attacked.
The race is so close largely because Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has committed so many gaffes of his own.
As Australians cast their votes, here are some of Mr Morrison’s missteps that will be playing on their minds.
Mr Morrison’s most famous debacle was sneaking out of the country to holiday with his family in Hawaii in the midst of the 2019-20 bushfires crisis
Mr Morrison’s most famous debacle was sneaking out of the country to holiday with his family in Hawaii in the midst of the 2019-20 bushfires crisis.
His office repeatedly refused to reveal where the PM was and denied he was overseas before it was finally confirmed he’d left the country while it was burning in the week before Christmas.
Social media pictures emerged of him posing for selfies with beer-swilling holidaymakers and relaxing with his wife Jenny at their Hawaiian hotel.
In an interview with 2GB’s John Stanley, while still in Hawaii, he notoriously insisted: ‘I don’t hold a hose, mate.’
Social media pictures emerged of him posing for selfies with beer-swilling holidaymakers and relaxing with his wife Jenny at their Hawaiian hotel
He later doubled down on the blunder by claiming in Parliament last November that he texted the opposition leader to tell him where he was going before leaving.
Mr Morrison later had to return to Parliament to admit that was not true and he had not told Mr Albanese he was going on holiday to Hawaii.
He also let his wife Jenny take the blame for the Hawaii trip in a 60 Minutes special.
‘I thought I was making the right decision for my kids. I obviously was wrong,’ she said while sat next to the PM who nodded and agreed, sparking a backlash online.
Once back in Australia, Mr Morrison was widely criticised when he finally visited bushfire affected areas on the NSW south coast.
While there he grabbed the hands of furious locals, forcing them to shake hands with him on camera against their will.
In the midst of the crisis, in January 2020, the government sent in the army to help fire-affected areas – but the PM then posted a political ad on social media that promoted the military’s involvement.
The move breached the rules surrounding the politicisation of the Australian Defence Force – but it also emerged the clip was actually of Polish soldiers that was doctored to replace Polish flags on their uniform with the Australian ensign.
The same month, he also made a trip to fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island just days after two people died, but where the PM told locals: ‘Thankfully we’ve had no loss of life.’
JobbKeeper maths error
Australia swiftly transitioned from the bushfire crisis to the Covid pandemic, which saw the government swiftly introduce the JobKeeper program.
But a fundamental maths error saw the PM announce a scheme which overestimated the final cost by a staggering $60 billion.
It was initially expected to cost $130 billion before it was quickly realised the figures had been miscalculated and should only have been $70 billion.
The PM admitted: ‘So sure, the estimate was overstated. Ultimately I have to take responsibility for those things.’
Tone deaf Australia Day speeches
Australia Day proved to be a flashpoint for the PM who entered the row over First Nation protests about the celebration by insisting: ‘When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, all those years ago, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.’
He also offended newly-appointed Australian of the Year Grace Tame after she delivered a passionate, emotional speech about her experiences at being groomed and sexually abused as a 15-year-old schoolgirl by a 58-year-old teacher.
Ms Tame later revealed: ‘Right after I finished that speech and we’re in front of a wall of media, I s**t you not, he leaned over and right in my ear he goes, “Well, gee, I bet it felt good to get that out”.’
Sexual abuse survivor Grace Tame accused Scott Morrison (pictured together after she won Australian of the Year) of making a crass comment in her ear
Grace Tame refused to smile while taking a picture with the Mr Morrison giving the prime minister the now-famous side-eye (pictured)
Australia’s history again proved to be problematic in June 2020 when the PM declared there had been no slavery in the nation’s past.
Talking about the Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, he conceded on 2GB that Australia had in the past been ‘a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery.’
Within 24 hours he’d had to concede he’d been wrong and admitted: ‘There have been all sorts of hideous practices that have taken place, and so I’m not denying any of that.’
Jenny Morrison was front and centre again when allegations of Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins being raped in a parliamentary office emerged in February 2021.
The PM said he was sparked into action when his wife asked him to think about her allegations as the father of their two daughters.
He added: ‘Jenny has a way of clarifying things; she always has.’
The comments drew scorn, with Mr Morrison accused of lacking empathy and understanding.
Ms Higgins said later: ‘I didn’t want his sympathy as a father, I wanted him to use his power as prime minister. I wanted him to wield the weight of his office and drive change in the party and our parliament, and out into the country.’
Mr Morrison refused to instigate an independent inquiry into Ms Higgins’s claims or address a women’s March 4 Justice rally outside Parliament.
Mr Morrison was criticised for saying that it needed his wife Jenny’s explanation for him to properly address claims former staffer Brittany Higgins (pictured) was raped in Parliament House
He sparked more fury that day when he told MPs: ‘Not far from here, such marches, even now, are being met with bullets.’
The remark was widely condemned.
He later said Cabinet minister Marise Payne would be the Prime Minister for Women – leaving many baffled about whether or not he should be Prime Minister for women.
When quizzed about an allegedly oppressive female-unfriendly workplace culture in Parliament by a journalist from Sky News, he said News Corp needed to get their own house in order.
He falsely claimed the company faced sexual harassment allegations of its own, but later apologised on Facebook for the comments and said he’d been misinformed.
Bungled vaccine rollout
That same month, in March 2021, Mr Morrison insisted the vaccine rollout was ‘not a race’ shortly the Delta strain put the nation back in lockdown.
In July he insisted the comment had been taken out of context and he was actually talking about the approval process for the vaccines.
However the initial comment was made on March 11, repeated twice on March 14, and again on March 31, weeks after the vaccines had been approved by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Agency.
The Pfizer vaccine was approved on January 25 and AstraZeneca on February 16.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison receives his COVID-19 booster vaccination at Kildare Road Medical Centre in Blacktown in Sydney November 19, 2021
The PM later apologised for the slow motion vaccine rollout: ‘I’m certainly sorry we haven’t been able to achieve the marks that we hoped for at the beginning of this year.’
In April 2021, while talking in Parliament he started to accidentally mispronounce health minister Greg Hunt’s surname, before stopping himself, just in time.
‘On February 19, Minister Cu… Hunt called the EU health minister to advocate for release of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia,’ Mr Morrison said, stumbling over his words and almost sparing his own blushes.
Rumour that won’t go away
In July, the Prime Minister of Australia went on public radio to tell millions of listeners he had not had a faecal emergency in a fast food restaurant in the south of Sydney.
In an interview on the Kyle and Jackie O show, he was tackled about the persistent rumours that he’d had an unfortunate accident at the Engadine McDonalds after the 1997 Super League grand final between Brisbane Broncos and Cronulla Sharks.
‘It is the biggest urban myth ever,’ he insisted. ‘It is complete and utter rubbish… I found the whole thing incredibly amusing, I always joke about it.
‘It is absolute and total rubbish.’
The prime minister’s love of ethnic food has also raised eyebrows over the years, especially his love of posting his home-made curries from Kirribilli House kitchen.
But the progress of one curry had fellow cooks baffled when he tweeted images of the ingredients versus his image of the finished product last July.
He told followers online that he was cooking up a beef massaman, complete with potatoes and three big cans of coconut milk and a can of coconut cream.
But the later pic of the cooked dish failed to match what most people would have recognised as a massaman curry – with no sign of the coconut milk or potato.
That was followed up during the current election campaign with a chicken korma – which had some claiming the PM had served his family raw chicken.
Australians reacted in horror after Scott Morrison posted a photo of his family curry night, with social media users pointing out the ‘chicken is still raw’
An image of the dish on Twitter appeared to show an undercooked cube of pinkish chicken poking through the pale creamy sauce.
After he was called out online for the salmonella risk, he fired back : ‘I can reassure you, the chicken was cooked… [with a thumbs up emoji]’
Although people were unconvinced by his chicken korma, almost everyone agreed the accompanying Sri Lankan Tamarind Eggplant Curry did however look delicious.
Leaked texts from closest allies
Many Australians don’t like Mr Morrison, but you would expect his ministers and close allies to have more flattering things to say about him.
However, several leaked text messages exchanges revealed the PM was not held in the highest esteem by even senior members of his cabinet.
Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian raged about Mr Morrison undermining her about whose fault the 2019-20 bushfire disaster was.
‘Morrison is a horrible horrible person. He is actively spreading lies and briefing against me re fires,’ she wrote followed by a red-faced angry emoji.
The politician on the other end is even more scathing in reply, calling the PM a self-obsessed ‘psycho’.
‘Morrison is about Morrison. Complete psycho. He is desperate and jealous. The mob have worked him out and think he is a fraud.’
The text message exchange between Gladys Berejiklian and an unnamed politician calling Mr Morrison a ‘fraud’
The leader of the National Party sent the message about Scott Morrison in March last year and said he was sorry on Thursday
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce sent another message to Brittany Higgins while he was a backbencher after he was briefly unseated as party leader.
The text was sent through a third party as Mr Joyce did not have Ms Higgins’ number.
‘Tell BH, I and Scott, he is Scott to me until I have to recognise his office, don’t get along,’ it read.
‘He is a hypocrite and a liar from my observations, and that is over a long time. I have never trusted him and I dislike how he earnestly rearranges the truth to a lie.’
French submarine fallout
Diplomatic tensions between Australia and France escalated since Mr Morrison pulled out of a $90 billion deal with France to manufacture its next generation of submarines.
Hours after the pair shared an awkward exchange at the G20 Summit in Rome in October 2021, the French President made his feelings known about Mr Morrison during a fiery exchange with Australian journalists.
‘We will see what he will deliver,’ Mr Macron told reporters.
‘I have a lot of respect for your country, a lot of respect and friendship for your people. I just say when we have respect, you have to be true and you have to behave in line and consistent with this value.
The French president was asked if the Australian prime minister had lied.
‘I don’t think, I know,’ President Macron replied before cutting off further questions.
Scott Morrison stumbled during his election campaign by mistakenly referring to a journalist as ‘Mr Speaker’ three times while answering their question.
He made the gaffe during a press conference on Easter Sunday when he was asked who the next social services minister would be if re-elected.
In his response, Mr Morrison appeared to forget that he wasn’t in Parliament as he awkwardly addressed the reporter as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
‘Of course Mr Speaker, all of these, foreign affairs, very important portfolios,’ he said.
He then referred to the same journalist as ‘Mr Speaker’ again – twice.
‘And the issue, Mr Speaker…Mr Speaker,’ Mr Morrison stumbled before joking: ‘There we go, I’m back in Parliament!’
Finally holding a hose
Mr Morrison did not properly think through the optics of washing a woman’s hair with a hose at a hairdressers at a photo op in February.
The prime minister wore an apron and a mask as he massaged first-year apprentice Courtnie Trotter and sprayed water on her head over a basin.
Labor immediately slammed the salon appearance with MP Tim Watts writing: ‘Why is this Prime Minister always play acting at doing other people’s jobs instead of just doing the job that he was elected to do for the Australian people?’
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles similarly wrote: ‘Maybe he could volunteer at one of the nursing homes unable to bathe residents because of a Covid outbreak?’.
But the most obvious comparison, made widely by voters on social media, was to Mr Morrison’s ‘I don’t hold a hose’ comments to justify his holiday to Hawaii during the bushfires.
Scott Morrison has washed a woman’s head on a visit to Coco’s salon in Melbourne
The Prime Minister wore an apron and a mask as he massaged the customer and sprayed water on her head over a basin
All is not weld
Mr Morrison’s love of photo opportunities backfired again when he tried his hand at welding at an Alice Springs factory in February.
He lifted his protective helmet moments before he touched the blazing arc of the welding torch to a metal beam on video, prompting tradies across the country to scream ‘safety breach!’.
Mr Morrison’s defensive response to his stuff up was: ‘So if people want to have a chip at me because I’m not a good welder, well, that’s not my day job.’
‘If all the narcs in the bubble want to have a crack at me, well, they can. But what I’m doing is showcasing the great work of our apprentices and small businesses.’
Not knowing the price of bread
An awkward moment came on January 31 this year when the prime minister was unable to say the price of a loaf of bread after facing accusations he has lost touch with ordinary Australians.
Sky News reporter Andrew Clennell asked: ‘We’ve got up to 100 Australians a day dying with Covid, a low booster rate, inflation, businesses in Sydney and Melbourne on their knees without your support.
‘Have you lost touch with ordinary Australians? And on that theme off the top of your head, can you tell me the price of a loaf of bread, a litre of petrol and a rapid antigen test.’
An awkward moment came on January 31 this year when the prime minister was unable to say the price of a loaf of bread after facing accusations he has lost touch with ordinary Australians
Mr Morrison’s advisors texted him the answers but the Prime Minister didn’t even try to list the prices, instead saying: ‘Now, I’m not going to pretend to you that I go out each day and I buy a loaf of bread and I buy a litre of milk.
‘I’m not going to pretend to you that I do that. And I’ll leave those sort of things to you, mate. And you can run it.
‘But the point is that I do my job every day to ensure that those things are affordable as they possibly can be for Australians every single day.’
Captain’s pick backfires
Mr Morrison personally selected several candidates to run in high-profile seats either to replace retiring MPs or knock off opposing incumbents, even going to court to circumvent the preselection process.
One of them was feminist campaigner Catherine Deves to take on Zali Steggall in the set of Warringah on Sydney’s northern beaches.
However, it spectacularly backfired when deleted transphobic tweets made by Ms Deves re-emerged.
Katherine Deves (pictured) has since issued public apologies over her choice of language but Mr Morrison is standing by the embattled candidate
The candidate was never shy about her opposition to transgender women competing in female sport, but other posts took it far further.
They included describing trans children as ‘surgically mutilated and sterilised’ and implied they only wanted to transition because they were on the autism spectrum.
Other tweets compared transgender activists to the Nazis and said she felt ‘triggered’ whenever she saw the LGBTQI+ rainbow flag.
Ms Deves also once compared her campaigning for ‘Save Women’s Sports’ to activism against the Holocaust.
She initially apologised, but deep into the campaign took back her apology and doubled down on some of most controversial statements about ‘mutilation’.
‘I’m apologising for how people might have perceived it, and the fact that it is confronting, and it is ugly, and I certainly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,’ she said.
‘But that is the correct terminology. I’m speaking to the quiet Australians.
‘Look, that is actually the correct medico legal term. It’s very emotive and it’s very confronting, and it’s very ugly. So of course, people are going to be offended.’
‘Blessed’ not to have a disabled child
The prime minister was asked about removing funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme during a debate on Sky News.
Katherine, mother of autistic four-year-old boy Ethan, said she had heard stories about families losing funding under the NDIS.
‘I have a four-year-old autistic son, we are grateful to receive funding under the NDIS. I have heard many stories from people having their funding cut under the current government, including my own.
‘I’ve been told that to give my son the best future, I should vote Labor. Can you tell me what the future of the NDIS looks like under your government?’
Mr Morrison replied: ‘Jenny and I have been blessed. We’ve got two children who haven’t had to go through that.
‘So parents of children who were disabled – I can only try and understand your aspirations for those children.
‘And then I think that is the beauty of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.’
A ‘buffoon’ for calling ICAC a ‘kangaroo court’
Mr Morrison has repeatedly criticised the NSW ICAC, referring to it publicly as a ‘kangaroo court’ when he was under pressure to introduce a similar federal integrity commission.
‘I’m not going to have a kangaroo court taken into this Parliament,’ he said in November as he declared he wouldn’t follow the NSW in creating a federal version.
He was referring to the corruption investigation of Ms Berejiklian, which forced her to resign in the middle of the NSW Covid lockdown.
His comments came back to haunt him on May 10 when he was asked about them on the campaign trail.
‘One of the commissioners said that those who describe the ICAC as a kangaroo court are buffoons. You’ve described it as a kangaroo court. Are you a buffoon?’ a reporter asked.
Mr Morrison kept a neutral expression but repeatedly blinked before saying he stood by his previous comments about the watchdog.
‘I have serious criticisms of the NSW ICAC model. I’ve never been a fan of how it’s conducted itself,’ he said.
‘I don’t care if barristers and lawyers and others up there in Macquarie Street – not in the (NSW) Parliament but in the barristers’ chambers – disagree with me.’
Basic maths question
Mr Albanese gifted the PM’s campaign an early win when he failed to state the interest and unemployment rates.
But just hours later Mr Morrison made a stuff up of his own when he wrongly stated that Australians on welfare get $46 per week when it’s actually $46 a day.
The Prime Minister was talking to reporters in Perth about the cost of living on Monday when he made the major blunder.
Jason Clare, Labor’s housing and homelessness spokesman, highlighted the gaffe on Twitter.
‘Today Scott Morrison got the Jobseeker rate wrong,’ Mr Clare wrote.
‘Not by a little – he was out by $276 a week.’
Scott Morrison (pictured) got an economy question very wrong when speaking with reporters
Worst night at the pub, ever
Mr Morrison faced a nightmare election campaign trail stopover at a regional pub in enemy territory when he was ambushed by a pensioner who shouted that he was ‘sick of his bulls***.’
The PM dropped into the Edgeworth Tavern in Newcastle’s west where he faced a very public barrage, on camera, from a disability support pensioner upset over restrictions on his payments.
‘This is what you said when you got elected last time: “We’re going help all those people that worked all their lives, paid their taxes and those that have a go, get a go”.
‘Well, I’ve had a go, mate, I’ve worked all my life and paid my taxes.’
When Mr Morrison tried to coax the man away from cameras to explain his situation to staff he became angrier.
‘You better f***ing do something… I’m sick of your bullsh**,’ he said.
At another point in the night, one woman cunningly asked him to pose with her for a selfie video, before telling him ‘congratulations on being the worst prime minister we’ve ever had’.
Mr Morrison’s smile quickly disintegrated into a frown as the video, which has gone viral on Twitter, came to an end.
Just hours later, Mr Morrison was hit in the head by a basketball, with video showing the ball skimming his nose and knocking off his glasses.
The prime minister was clipped by the ball during a visit to the Baierr Stadium in Torquay, 80km southwest of Melbourne.
Scott Morrison has been smacked in the face with a basketball just hours after he was called a ‘disgrace’ by an angry Labor supporter who ambushed him in a pub
Crash tackles an eight-year-old
Lastly, but perhaps the most memorable of all, was in the last days of the campaign where Mr Morrison accidentally tackled a little boy while playing soccer.
Mr Morrison was visiting the Devonport Strikers Soccer Club on Wednesday, which is in the electorate of Braddon in Tasmania.
Just days ago the PM had frankly admitted that he’s a ‘bit of a bulldozer’ and promised to change his ways and become better at ‘listening to Australians’ and added that he has what is needed to continue to lead the nation.
Luca Fauvette, 8, later appeared on the Today show with his grandmother Joy to give his side of the PM’s hilarious blunder.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison accidentally knocks over a child during a visit to the Devonport Strikers Soccer Club, which is in the electorate of Braddon, on May 18, 2022
Mr Morrison joined in on a training game with kids when he made a run towards the goal and collided with Luca, the club’s centre forward.
‘So we were playing soccer and I think someone tried to pass it to me or Mr Morrison and what happened (was) he tripped and he was trying not to fall on top of me,’ Luca said.
‘So he tried to fall underneath me.’
Mr Morrison complimented the little boy for how he handled the bizarre situation.
‘A shout out to young Luca for being such a good sport,’ Mr Morrison wrote on his Facebook page.
The young soccer player appeared to be a fan of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo donning a replica of his jersey (pictured)
The child appeared to shrug off the clash though Mr Morrison took a little longer to get to his feet (pictured)
‘You may have seen we had a bit of a collision at club training tonight at the Devonport Strikers Football Club in Tasmania. I spoke to Luca and his mum Ali tonight to check in on him and he was in good form.
‘Great to be able to have a good chat to him about his love of football and to hear he’s had three hat-tricks in his budding career already.’
The tackle made headlines across the country as well as globally, and immediately went viral on social media – with Fox Sport AFL360 hosts jokingly analysed the tackle.
Scott Morrison may be a gaffe machine, but Anthony Albanese made these in JUST the campaign
April 11: Wrongly guessed the unemployment rate was 5.4% and couldn’t state the Reserve Bank interest rate
April 12: Admitted he did not know who Human Rights Commissioner Lorraine Finlay was
April 13: Stormed out of a press conference after only 10 questions, two days after saying: ‘I’m not Scott Morrison, I don’t run away from press conferences’
May 5: Failed to outline his six-point plan for the NDIS until an advisor handed him a policy document to read from in a press conference
May 19: Bizarrely claimed Australia’s borders are closed when they have been open for three months