Scott Morrison grilled on Today show over election call: 'Running scared?'

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·Assistant News Editor
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Scott Morrison has all but confirmed an election will likely be held in May as he refutes continued accusations of personal dishonesty.

While doing the media rounds on Thursday morning, the prime minister told the Nine Network he always intended to serve a full term and hold the election next year, which is now a certainty. 

"Are you running a little scared of a Christmas election?" he was asked on Today by host Allison Langdon. 

"No, I always said it was next year," Mr Morrison said.

"I've been pretty clear. I've said governments are elected to serve for those three years. That's always been my intention. We've got a lot of work to do. The job now, particularly, is focussed on securing our economic recovery."

Today host Allison Langdon interviews Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the Nine Network breakfast program.
The PM has brushed off being labelled a liar by his predecessor and French counterpart. Source: Today

While a March or April election is possible, Mr Morrison has indicated his government will bring an early budget before sending the nation back to the polls.

Appearing in early campaign mode on Thursday, the prime minister again brushed aside growing criticism over his trustworthiness.

The Labor opposition has seized on comments by the French president and former prime minster Malcolm Turnbull labelling the Australian leader a liar, as well as his habit of routinely denying the nature of his past comments, to accuse Mr Morrison of being dishonest. 

"Whether it is March or May. The Coalition is behind in the polls. Do you have a trust problem?" Langdon asked him.

"What this election is going to be about is who is best placed to secure this economic recovery. And ensure that we can stand up for Australia's interests..." Mr Morrison replied.

"But when a world leader and a former prime minister call you a liar... you must be concerned that that will stick?" Ms Langdon interrupted. 

"[I] see Anthony Albanese backed in the Chinese government and a number of others having a crack at me as well, that's up for him (sic)," he responded.

Mr Morrison's office was unable to even say what the PM was referring to when citing Mr Albanese's apparent backing of China. 

Morrison's character emerging as election issue

While the Coalition government is keen to fight the looming election campaign on the issue of the post-pandemic economy, Labor is ramping up the attacks on Mr Morrison's personal approach to politics. 

A new book by political reporter Sean Kelly titled The Game has closely examined Mr Morrison's character, his political persona and his willingness to boldly contradict his past comments. 

"He never feels, in himself, insincere or untruthful, because he always means exactly what he says; it is just that he means it only in the moment he is saying it. Past and future disappear," one passage reads. 

Writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday, veteran political journalist Niki Savva was less accomodating, delivering a withering assessment of Mr Morrison's deceit and his subsequent approach to media management.

"Morrison’s career has been built on self-ghosting. He vanishes an old personality, or an inconvenient event, only to emerge reborn soon after with no regard for, or acknowledgement of, whatever has preceded," she wrote.

Scott Morrison is pictured.
Scott Morrison has been criticised for his lack of admission over error or past failures. Source: AAP

It's a theme the prime minister's political opponents have been keen to highlight ahead of the looming election campaign. 

On Sunday, the shadow minister for climate change and energy, Chris Bowen, was quick to raise instances where Mr Morrison has been accused of misleading the public or other leaders. 

"We know Scott Morrison is a liar. He lies in Parliament about briefings for Anthony Albanese on Covid. He lies about whether he's called EVs (electric vehicles) weekend wrecking, he lied about whether he used the term Shanghai Sam, he lies about Christian Porter's disclosures," he told ABC's Insiders program.

"This guy is a liar and it's now impacting our national security."

The prime minister's office has been approached for comment. 

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