This cheery Chinese New Year message shows the rebranding of Scott Morrison is underway

One of the big moves in Tony Abbott’s December cabinet reshuffle was Scott Morrison becoming Social Services minister, moving out of the immigration portfolio where he built a reputation the nation’s hardball-playing top border cop.

It was widely recognised at the time that the new portfolio, which oversees much-needed family and community support programs, would require a pretty rapid softening of Morrison’s hard edges.

A video out today shows that’s underway: Morrison has just released a video to mark the start of the Chinese New Year and it’s a big departure in style for the minister as he starts with a chirpy “Ni hao”, and proceeds to point out that the celebrations involving lanterns, lion dancers and dragon boat racers are “embraced by all Australians of all ancestries”.

“This is the year of the sheep, and the year of the goat,” Morrison says, “so it has very special significance for Australia. The sheep has brought our great nation great fortune.”

This is a big departure for the man who was the nemesis of desperate immigrants trying to reach Australia in leaky boats.

[Hat-tip: Latika Bourke]

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