• John McDonnell

Morrison and the QAnon conspiracy


Last Monday, ABC’s Four Corners insinuated that there was a connection between the prime minister, Scott Morrison, and an American social media based organisation, QAnon. It was implied that this connection had two aspects that posed a risk to national interest.


The first was that a woman who was Jenni Morrison’s friend and personal assistant at Kirribilli House was married to a QAnon supporter. The second was that under the influence of this same QAnon supporter, the prime minister had altered a major address to the nation to give a coded message that he was connected to QAnon.


These allegations warrant analysis.


What is QAnon?


It is not an organisation, it is a collection of fake news conspiracy theories spread by loony Trump supporters through a social media platform called 4chan. In 2016 a post appeared that alleged that the New York police were investigating a number of senior Democrats for involvement in paedophilia. This was based on an analysis of emails from Democrat committee chairman, John Podesta, which had been published on Wikileaks, part of a Russian-hacked trove of documents designed to influence the Trump/Clinton presidential contest.


The fake news conspiracy theorists claimed that certain words such as ‘pizza’ were code for illegal activities. The headquarters for the paedophile gang was said to be a ‘pizzeria’ called ‘Comet Ping Pong’ in Washington D.C.


This post was followed by numerous others from anonymous high-level sources within government, that confirmed that high-level Democrats such as the Clintons would be investigated and jailed when Trump got into office. Trump was deemed to be the unofficial leader of the movement.


First by Crikey and then Four Corners allege that the Prime Minister has revealed that he is ‘all in’ on Q Anon by his use of the words ‘ritual child sexual abuse’ in a speech to the parliament in October 2018. The term ‘ritual’ was supposedly inserted at the behest of Tim Stewart, a personal friend of the PM. The purported evidence for this influence was an email from Stewart to his wife Lynelle.


The ABC made much of the fact that the term ‘ritual child sex abuse’ was not a standard academic term but it has used it itself over many years when talking about recovered memory syndrome.


It also made a lot out of the fact that Lynelle Stewart worked at Kirribilli House and could have had access to classified information. ASIO sources have confirmed to Flow News 24 that Mrs Stewart had a security clearance and that it would have been difficult for her to have accessed classified information.


So was the Four Corners programme in the national interest? Not really. And the fact that it was originally intended to be run on the eve of the Prime Minister’s visit to Europe could have destabilised that important visit.


In reality, what was meant to be investigative reporting, was little more than cheap gossip.


Some commentators such as Nikki Savva and Paul Bongiorno are trying to breathe life into the dying embers, but the story looks very dead at the moment.


Long may it rest in peace.