The band behind the tune that Prime Minister Scott Morrison strummed on his ukelele during Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview has delivered a savage sledge about his use of it.
Mr Morrison appeared with his wife Jenny and daughters in the TV interview, opening the doors of The Lodge to the Karl Stefanovic and the Nine Network crew.
Stefanovic joined the family for dinner, where Mr Morrison launched into a version of April Sun in Cuba, a 1970s hit by New Zealand rock band Dragon, on the ukelele.
On Monday morning, the band weighed in. They first shared a TikTok video of Mr Morrison playing the instrument in front of superimposed images of the bushfires.
“Once again, Dragon are famous for all the wrong reasons,” they captioned an Instagram post.
They followed up hours later, with a public statement that lashed Mr Morrison for “co-opting” their music in an “attempt to humanise” himself.
“Like many times before, Dragon is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. This time, it’s Scott Morrison’s interpretation of April Sun in Cuba, written by two New Zealanders living in Australia (Paul Hewson, Marc Hunter, both since passed) about a long-ago diplomatic fracas on the other side of the world,” the band wrote.
“It is a cynical move for a politician to co-opt music in an attempt to humanise themselves come election time.
“Maybe if his trip had not been cut short, he could have learnt the lyrics to the rest of the chorus: ‘Take me where the April sun gonna treat me so right, so right, so right’.”
Mrs Morrison also featured prominently in the 60 Minutes interview – including taking the blame for the family’s ill-fated trip to Hawaii during the 2019 summer bushfires. Mr Morrison had said previously he went on the holiday because he had made a promise to his wife and daughters.
“I thought I was making the right decision for my kids. I obviously was wrong,” Mrs Morrison told Stefanovic.
She said she wished the holiday had never happened “but I can’t change it”.
She also took a swipe at former Australian of the Year Grace Tame, who has been a vocal critic of the Morrison government’s handling of women’s safety issues. Famously, she had a particularly frosty encounter with the Morrisons at The Lodge ahead of this year’s Australian of the Year ceremony.
“I just wish the focus had been on all the incredible people coming in,” Mrs Morrison said.
“I just found it a little bit disappointing, [because] we were welcoming her in our home.”
While Mr Morrison has previously brushed off the encounter, Mrs Morrison said she wanted her own daughters to be respectful.
“I want my daughters to grow up to be fierce, strong, independent, amazing people. I think they can still do that and show kindness to other people and be polite and have manners,” she said.
Mr Morrison’s personal standing has taken a hit in recent months, and Labor has repeatedly raised questions about his honesty and integrity. A series of polls shows the governing Liberal-led Coalition is trailing Labor ahead of the election due by late May.
It has also been a bruising period for the government, which last week opted not to proceed with debate on the religious discrimination bill in the Senate due to a lack of support. The timing means it is unlikely the Liberals can fulfil an election promise to enact such laws.
Winning support from female voters will be crucial to Mr Morrison’s re-election ambitions. A Newspoll published online by The Australian on Sunday showed the Coalition’s primary vote remains on a post-election record low of 34 per cent.
The “underdog” status claimed by Mr Morrison ahead of the 2022 election is not a new situation for the 53-year-old.
Ahead of the 2019 election, Mr Morrison’s government was behind in the polls after a messy leadership change. He described his subsequent election victory as a “miracle”.
On Sunday, he told 60 Minutes that doubters had been wrong before and “of course” he could win again.