Sing along with me.
"Call me irresponsible, call me unreliable,
"Throw in undependable too,
"Do my foolish alibis bore you?
"Well, I'm not too clever, I just adore you."
I had no idea how much Frank Sinatra and Scott Morrison had in common. They don't look alike, of course; and I have no idea whether the leader of the federal government can hold a tune past a hymn (where your voice always sounds better because of the people singing around you).
One was pretty open about being irresponsible and unreliable. The other, our Prime Minister, is still both of those things - but he refuses to own up. One thing he does adore, though - if not the individual citizens of the country he leads - is his leadership. Man, does our PM love the status. The platform. The ability to make announcements.
Sadly, he doesn't measure up.
I say this because one of the lasting descriptions of this Prime Minister will be one which came from his own mouth.
"I don't hold a hose." To be precise, "I don't hold a hose, mate."
You'll remember this one. He was sprung taking a holiday in Hawaii in December 2019 while Australia burned. He appeared on 2GB and said, in his defence, he didn't always tell people where he was going on holiday. He even said his holiday had been arranged "some time ago, and that's just how it was". Ha ha. The rest of us have been cancelling holidays at a moment's notice since the first case of Covid. Anyway, he said his family deserved privacy. He expressed some regret at the "horrendous events". Good of him.
"And I'll be getting back there as soon as I can. But I know Australians understand this and they'll be pleased I'm coming back, I'm sure. They know that, you know, I don't hold a hose, mate, and I don't sit in a control room. That's the brave people who do that are doing that job. But I know that Australians would want me back at this time of these fatalities. So I'll happily come back and do that."
This week he did what he always does, and what he did back in December 2019 - give up the responsibility to someone else. Blame someone else for his own inaction. On this occasion, it was ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. Yep, ATAGI was to blame for the slow vaccine rollout, apparently.
Morrison said: "We received medical advice that has changed on two occasions and that medical advice, as I made very clear to ATAGI at the time, was based on an assumption cases would remain low ... The balance of risk assessment [was] based on low case numbers in Australia. It has created some confusion in the public."
Yeah, I'm confused, and I'm part of the public. You have a group of freaking experts on immunisation and they give advice based on the latest available information and data. ATAGI is all about giving advice on immunisation. It isn't responsible for getting supplies of the vaccine.
This is another occasion on which the Prime Minister has refused to hold a hose, now also a metaphor for the supply of vaccines to Australia. ATAGI is not to blame. The Prime Minister and the Health Minister did not do enough to secure supply to cover everyone in our nation. Plenty of AstraZeneca, not enough Pfizer, and action was too slow on all fronts. That is our problem. And in the end, former prime minister Kevin Rudd was called on to intervene.
It turns out, according to Rodney Tiffen, emeritus professor of politics at the University of Sydney, that Morrison is not actually meant to hold the hose, but to grasp something even more important than that.
"It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to ensure there are enough hoses for the task, and for the hose-holders to be well trained and resourced," says Tiffen.
OK, so he didn't do that during the bushfires, but what does Tiffen think about how the Prime Minister has dealt with the pandemic, the vaccines, the vaccine rollout, the quarantine facilities?
While Morrison can't be held responsible for the initial failures (every single country and world leader did badly in one way or another), he and his government are very definitely responsible for the mess we find ourselves in now, particularly around ineffective quarantine facilities, which are a federal responsibility. Tiffen describes the situation as one of complete inaction.
"He is head of government and chair of cabinet and so he is responsible - responsible for recognising problems, addressing them and moving resources to meet them," he says.
Instead, Morrison makes announcements. Once he has done that, he neglects his responsibility to make them happen. We weren't first in the queue for vaccines. We weren't well equipped for quarantine. Our climate change response is bafflingly weak.
Tiffen says: "It is particularly acute with him. He thinks once he has made an announcement, it is all over. There is no attention to implementation or anything like that."
The Prime Minister has also stubbornly refused to hold the hose of information. He claims he never read any of the material about the alleged sexual assault of Brittany Higgins. He also says he never read any of the material which dealt with allegations against former Attorney-General Christian Porter.
Still, he had the determination on Thursday to face up to one of what he calls "the biggest urban myths ever".
The Prime Minister had never before appeared on KIIS radio's Kyle & Jackie O Show, now ranked number one in the breakfast ratings in NSW. Ostensibly, he wanted to talk about the various forms of support available to those whose employment is Covid-affected. But really, he rang to "clear up one thing", he told the presenters - a rumour which has followed him like a bad smell.
He did not poo his pants at the Engadine McDonald's. If you've been on the internet recently you'll have heard of the rumour, in the form of various vulgar and graphic accounts. The Prime Minister brought up the "myth" and denied it.
It was complete and utter rubbish, he said, although he claims he found the "whole thing incredibly amusing".
"We've always joked about it amongst our team as we've driven past [the Engadine McDonald's] on occasions. [Someone will ask] 'Do you want to pop in for a Big Mac?'"
Sure. Sure you do.
Our PM is not happy to hold a hose, nor a phone to call the folks at Pfizer. Instead, he's happy to hold forth and to hold a microphone.
- Jenna Price is a visiting fellow at the Australian National University and a regular columnist.