Two-thirds of Aussies don’t know who the Acting PM is
Two-thirds of Australians don't know who Michael McCormack is, which is a bit of a worry because he's running the country - from Wagga Wagga.
Mr McCormack has been Acting Prime Minister since Monday when Scott Morrison went on an overseas holiday to a country the federal government won't reveal citing security concerns.
New research by The Australia Institute think tank finds only 32 per cent of people recognise Mr McCormack - Australia's Deputy Prime Minister when Mr Morrison is on homeland.
That's lower than for the majority of the ministry and many members of the Opposition frontbench including the likes of western Sydney MP Tony Burke.
"A part of the concern about Scott Morrison's undeclared holiday could stem from the fact that the country is being led by a person who two thirds of Australians have never heard of," said The Australia Institute's executive director Ben Oquist. Its survey was of more than 1400 Australians last month.
On Tuesday The Daily Telegraph's story asking "where the bloody hell are you PM?", attracted more than 400 comments by 4pm.
The famous slogan was uttered by the fresh-faced Lara Bingle for Tourism Australia's 2006 TV campaign aimed at boosting the number of international visitors.
Mr Morrison was Tourism Australia boss at the time and the campaign was a massive flop.
But the slogan and the face that delivered it remain more recognisable than the country's own Deputy PM which is why the catchphrase was trending on Twitter on Tuesday as the nation asked where the bloody hell was its Prime Minister?
On Wednesday, the now married celebrity model - Lara Worthington - joined in tweeting: "Scott Morrison: WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU???"
Mr McCormack ventured out of his electorate on Wednesday to open upgraded saleyards in Bega and unveil improvements to the Merimbula airport terminal.
Earlier in the week Mr McCormack expressed his joy at running the nation.
"I'm representing this country as Acting PM from Wagga Wagga," he said. "How good is that?"
Before becoming the Nationals member for the seat of Riverina in 2010, Mr McCormack was
editor of the Wagga's Daily Advertiser newspaper.
In addition to his duties as Deputy PM, he is also the leader of the National Party and Infrastructure Minister.
Mr McCormack oversaw the 2016 Census failure but a year earlier stood up to then PM Tony Abbott over the knighting of Prince Philip.
His recognition level is rising, up from little more than 20 per cent in April 2018, according to The Australia Institute.
Of Mr Morrison's secret trip, Mr McCormack said: "Everybody deserves a holiday.
"Everybody deserves a break. He worked hard this year, achieved great things for Australia."
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said he wasn't going to be critical of "Mr Morrison personally in terms of his circumstances of taking leave with his family.
"I'm not going to do that," Mr Albanese said. "That would be cheap politics and I'm not into that. I'm into the issues."
The Greens' Sarah Hanson-Young said the PM's office should have been more upfront about his trip abroad.
"It's the sneakiness and trickiness about this that really stinks," Senator Hanson-Young said.