Prior to a National Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Scott Morrison had another brain fart. In a silly attempt to reduce the problems with supply chains induced by his long wished-for opening up of ‘the economy’ and its predicted concomitant massive increase in infection rates of the Omicron variant of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, he floated the idea of allowing children (under 18s) to drive forklifts1.
This was supposedly part of a reduction in regulation of transport and associated sectors of the economy. He said: “There are other changes that need to be made and they’re at a state level, and I’m continuing to pursue those with the states,” but that “there are changes that we need to make around the age of forklift drivers, to get quite specific.”1
To mix metaphors (or similes), this brain fart went over like a lead balloon with the states at the National Cabinet meeting. The government of the Australian Capital Territory issued a statement noting: “Sensible and safe measures to alleviate workforce shortages have been supported but allowing 16-year-olds to drive a forklift was unanimously rejected by all states and territories.” In the three eastern mainland states, at least, forklift drivers require a special ‘high-risk work’ licence which are only available for people who are over 181.
There was apparently no communication from Morrison to any of the states prior to the National Cabinet meeting where this topic was ‘discussed’2. This is standard practice from Morrison to try to bludgeon the states into submission and to big note himself. However, this time, the unanimity of the states seemingly surprised him and forced him to back down completely. For a malignant narcissist like Morrison, there was no way he would have admitted that his proposal was knocked back by the states. In his vain attempt to avoid responsibility, Morrison said that national cabinet had “agreed to proceed no further with the issue of 16-year-old forklift drivers” and “we had a good discussion about that today and it is not something we believe, collectively … we should be pursuing at this time.”2
Morrison continues to amaze in his pathetic avoidance of responsibility for anything and his willingness to accept plaudits for other people’s efforts, but not blame for his own failings, which have been shown to be monumental.