Scott Morrison's 'God Bless Australia' on Saturday sent a mixed message from our Christian evangelist PM

'Miracle': Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the party faithful at the Coalition campaign launch. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas.
'Miracle': Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the party faithful at the Coalition campaign launch. Picture: AAP/Mick Tsikas.

I DON'T believe in miracles.

It was a nice line from Scott Morrison on Saturday night, "I have always believed in miracles", picked up as a headline-grabber after a result few predicted, but by Monday the "miracle" had some very earthly explanations.

The nation's pollsters were dead wrong on a Labor win, raising the obvious question about why polls are so slavishly followed given their rocky foundations.

The Coalition also benefited mightily from Liberal MP Tim Wilson's re-branding of Labor's franking credit reforms as a "retiree tax" at taxpayer-funded parliamentary committee meetings across the country, scaring the bejesus out of people and feeding into the narrative of Labor as the party that would come after your money.

But it was Morrison's speech on Saturday that pointed to a much bigger issue behind Australians' rejection of Labor's policy reforms. His final words also hinted at the biggest risk facing Morrison as he strides back into power.

The Coalition win was a victory for "quiet Australians", he said.

The "quiet" part of "quiet Australians" is a description of people not engaged in the community space because they're inward-looking. The uninvolved.

His description of these "quiet Australians" was striking, stunning even, for what it said about where we are as a nation after decades of the Australia-lite version of the global neoliberal experiment, the rise of the affluent political class and our enthusiastic adoption of all things digital.

"Quiet Australians" have "worked hard every day; they have their dreams and they have their aspirations", he said.

"Quiet Australians" dream and aspire to "get a job, to get an apprenticeship, to start a business, to meet someone amazing, to start a family, to buy a home, to work hard and provide the best you can for your kids, to save for your retirement and to ensure that when you're in your retirement you can enjoy it because you've worked hard for it".

The Australian dream in 2019 is to look after you and your own, in other words.

If Morrison believes these "quiet Australians" are also major contributors to society and the common good, he didn't say it. His message is that being quiet and following what some might consider a depressingly restricted vision from cradle to grave is virtuous.

The "quiet" part of "quiet Australians" is a description of people not engaged in the community space because they're inward-looking. The uninvolved.

A country full of "quiet" Australians no doubt suits governments, and particularly conservative ones.

"Leave the nasty business of making decisions to us. And here's a tax cut," is the message.

There's not a lot of joy in being a noisy Australian in this scenario, and in this social media age.

Noisy Australians who speak up against governments can be targeted and turned on. They can be tagged un-virtuous for saying governments are abusing their power, or abusing process, or saying one thing and doing another. Quiet Australians can see the sense in paying their mortgages and building up their super - in not being involved - until they vote. Take the case of Joel Fitzgibbon.

Did anyone predict the demolition of the Hunter MP's support on Saturday, to a shambolic One Nation strike? But why didn't we see it coming?

Labor's warm embrace of Australia-lite neoliberalism, its politicians' ability to be as corruptible as the next guys, its all-over-the-shop approach to action on climate change and its born-again view that we have to transition from coal, was never going to fly in the Hunter.

Labor has been too keen in the past to push the "jobs, jobs, jobs" mantra over the environment for coal miners to accept a new party climate change conversion that destabilises their futures.

So they punted Fitzgibbon for a One Nation candidate they knew nothing about as quickly as they would drop one baked beans brand over another. That's the message Australians have learnt from this reshaping of capitalism and democracy - we're consumers in a market now, rather than citizens. Brand loyalty is for fools.

Scott Morrison's message to "every single Australian" on Saturday was so very 2019.

"It's all about you," he said, to each and every one of us.

And then came the words that resonated for just a few of us, sending a mixed message from a man who only seconds earlier had pledged to "keep Australians together".

"God bless Australia," said this country's first evangelical Christian prime minister, who only last week uttered the phrase: "I always don't mix my religion with politics and my faith with politics".

Until election night and the miracle.