Scott Morrison has walked out of Question Time early as speculation mounts that he will soon quit politics for the private sector.
The former prime minister was censured by the House of Representatives on November 30 over the ‘minister for everything’ scandal.
Parliament condemned him on a vote of 86 to 50 for secretly swearing himself in to five extra ministries in 2020 and 2021.
Other than a defiant speech defending himself against the censure, Mr Morrison has not spoken in parliament since losing the May 22 election.
The Member for Cook left the chamber on Tuesday a little before 3pm, well before Question Time concluded at 3.21pm.
Scott Morrison poses in his office after Question Time on Tuesday as speculation mounted that he would soon quit politics
The Member for Cook left the chamber on Tuesday a little before 3pm, well before Question Time concluded at 3.21pm
Mr Morrison is believed to have left to prepare for an interview with the Australian Associated Press, which did not begin until after Question Time was completed.
He receives $217,060 a year, the basic backbencher salary, while in parliament.
Sky News reported that ‘informed sources’ believed he would quit politics by the end of the year for a lucrative overseas consulting job.
Mr Morrison in response said if he had anything to say about his political future, he would make it.
For now, he insisted he was ‘dutifully doing his job as a local MP and had returned home to The [Sutherland] Shire seeking to live quietly with his family’, Sky reported.
The Liberal Party stalwart in another interview on the weekend said he was enjoying his time as a backbencher.
‘It’s quite liberating,’ he said when asked what it was like to be a backbencher, pointing out that holding ministries and then being PM for a decade was ‘exhausting’.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said she had been friends with Mr Morrison for ‘many years’ but hadn’t heard anything about his retirement plans.
‘He will make a decision in the best interests of himself and family and the people of Cook,’ she said.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that that ‘informed sources’ believed he would quit politics by the end of the year for a potential overseas consulting job
Mr Morrison stood in the chamber to vigorously defend his actions as he became the first former prime minister to face a censure motion by the House of Representatives
Speculation over Mr Morrison’s job started almost immediately after his crushing defeat by Anthony Albanese, and intensified when the ministries scandal broke.
He had himself secretly sworn in as treasurer and minister for home affairs; finance; health; and industry, science, energy and resources.
None of the ministers for these portfolios, other than Greg Hunt for health, were aware he had secretly doubled up on their jobs.
Labor claimed his actions undermined, rejected, attacked, and abused the standards expected of parliamentarians, and struck at the heart of Australia’s democracy.
Other than acknowledging some (but not all) of the appointments were unnecessary, Mr Morrison gave a spirited defence of his actions during the censure motion, and offered no apology.
‘For those who wish to add their judgement today on my actions in supporting this censure motion, I simply suggest that they stop and consider the following – have you ever had to deal with a crisis where the outlook was completely unknown?’ he said.
Mr Morrison looked completely unbothered as he sat in parliament on November 30 listening to himself being censured by his colleagues
‘In such circumstances, were you able to get all the decisions perfectly right? And where you may have made errors, were you fortunate enough for them to have had no material impact on the result and the result itself proved to be world-leading?
‘Once you have considered your own experience, or what happens when you have had more in government, then you may wish to cast the first stone in this place.’
Mr Morrison’s speech had such an air of finality that Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek predicted he wouldn’t even see out 2022.
‘Scott Morrison says sorry not sorry. My prediction – he pulls the pin over Christmas. This is his last week,’ she wrote on Twitter.
However, the man once mocked as ‘Squat Morrison’ for taking 13 days to move out of Kirribilli House after losing the election has so far stuck around.