n Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes in the power of prayer.It was a sermon, no other word for it.
Scott Morrison laid out his vision for the country and his party in a speech at the Robert Menzies Centre forum in Albury.
It was Preacher Morrison, with all the hallmarks of a Protestant Sunday morning service.
The “power of prayer” featured, as did a call for the audience to put their hands up in the air.
There was a joke about struggling to remember Bible verses in Sunday school.
The sermon finished with a call to action.
“We all love . Of course, we do. But do we love all ns? That’s a different question, isn’t it?” Morrison said on Thursday.
“We’ve got to. That’s what brings a country together. You love all ns if you love .”
Morrison returned to Menzies in a bid to remind his fractured party what brought them together in the first place.
Labor does this sort of thing all the time, harking back to Ben Chifley and Gough Whitlam when it feels like the party has lost its way.
The Liberal divide between the conservatives and the moderates is as deep as it has been in years.
One of the reasons the conservatives hated Malcolm Turnbull was because they thought he wasn’t a true Liberal.
Even though he gave ground to them in every policy area, they thought he was still dragging the party to the left.
Morrison, a former party director, has been described as a “creature of the party”. If anyone knows how to bring the Liberals back together, it should be him.
“(Menzies) talked about the importance of freedoms. Of faith. Of religion. Of speech. Of association,” Morrison said.
“That’s a great place to start a party, I reckon. And it’s a great place to continue to run a party from.
“In coming here today, a new generation of Liberal leaders are embracing all of those beliefs.”
Will it work?
At this stage anything is worth trying.
The polls were devastating immediately after the spill.
Damaging leaks about the policies Turnbull was going to roll out are continuing, taking the shine off Morrison’s future agenda.
Some MPs are talking about bullying and intimidation they faced during the leadership drama.
And Morrison doesn’t even have a clear majority, thanks to Turnbull’s decision to leave parliament.
If the prime minister is to avoid an electoral whacking, he has to claw back a heap of ground.
He doesn’t have a lot of policy to work with – the National Energy Guarantee (R.I.P) and the big business tax cuts (also R.I.P) were the only main things left on Turnbull’s agenda.
So Morrison picked a fight with the CFMEU, talked about “gender whisperers” in schools, and dumped the plan to raise the aged pension age from 67 to 70 to fill the policy void.
He also has to connect with the n people.
Turnbull was a relentless optimist, always talking up , the economy, whatever the topic was.
Morrison’s positive approach so far appears grounded in his Christian faith, but in a different way to previous religious prime ministers.
Tony Abbott had his strident Catholicism, Turnbull barely mentioned faith but did talk a lot about love, and Kevin Rudd was famously an Anglican with a sharp tongue.
Morrison spoke like the Pentecostal pastor he would have heard so often.
Encouragement to love everyone. The importance of family. Look after your mates – and that means he believes in the Medicare safety net.
is not the United States; blatant appeals to God and faith are treated differently here.
But Morrison is speaking to a part of middle not specifically represented in recent political history.
Mums and dads across the political divide who pack the kids off to church on a Sunday morning, donate their time, volunteer to help out.
The Liberal party desperately needs volunteers, and it desperately needs votes.
Pastor Scott is trying everything, and if this sticks, expect to see him back at the pulpit before too long.