The Public Life of Scott Morrison

The Young Scott Morrison

Born in the Eastern Sydney suburb of Bronte on 13 May 1968, Scott Morrison comes from what is now the richest enclave of the richest electorate in Australia. His family, however, was not of the elite as Bronte was a pleasant, working class suburb up till the 70’s when the moneyed discovered the beach. His father, John, whose forebears were from Northern Ireland, was a police commander who founded the local Boys Brigade in Bondi Junction, played rugby for Randwick and was an active member of the local RSL. Politically active, John Morrison served 16 years on the local council as an Independent and became mayor of Waverley in the mid 1980s. Scott’s first political act was at the age of nine, handing out his father’s how-to-vote.

For a full report on Scott Morrison’s ancestry, please have a look at this.

Morrison - schoolkidYoung Scott was a member of the Uniting Church in Bondi Junction, where he became “a dedicated Christian” in the words of his father. Like his parents, he was involved in a range of activities – rugby, music, rowing and drama. He even had a short-lived professional TV career.The AFR on Aug 9, 2015, reported that ‘An investigator found a clip on YouTube that seemed to solve the mystery. It’s an exquisite 30 seconds titled “1970s Vicks Vaporub commercial ‘The Love Rub‘”, which features a sick child in pyjamas who looks uncannily like a Lil’ ScoMo. ScoMo claims it’s not him. He’s also peddling a line that he was actually in a Vicks cough drops commercial, with the jingle “Vicks’ll lick a ticklin’ throat”.

Young Scott was a member of the Uniting Church in Bondi Junction, where he became “a dedicated Christian” in the words of his father. Like his parents, he was involved in a range of activities – rugby, music, rowing and drama. “He was well liked, a very personable chap,” recalls Reverend Ray Green, who knew him as a child. “He was definitely a leader. People used to follow him around. He was also liked by the girls. There were quite a few in the Girls Brigade who thought he was the ant’s pants.” His future wife, Jennifer, had grown up in the St George area of south Sydney, solid battler territory, and used to tease Scott about coming from the posh side of town. Meeting at church in 1980, they started dating when they were 16 before marrying at the age of 21. He remembers his future wife as “feisty”.

From early on, Scott and his elder brother Alan, who grew up to become a superintendent in the NSW ambulance service, were both given a strong example of community service.

June 2012, Nick Bryant wrote in “The Monthly”, “Morrison is now a Pentecostal and thus part of the most rapidly growing denomination in the land. He worships at an American-style morrison1mega-church called Shirelive in his constituency, where the gospel of prosperity is preached in an auditorium that can accommodate over 1000 evangelicals. With its water baptisms and designer-shirt pastors, Shirelive has close ties with the better-known Hillsong community. The founder of Hillsong, Harley Davidson–riding pastor Brian Houston, is one of Morrison’s mentors. In Who’s Who Morrison lists the church as his number one hobby, and his maiden speech reads in part like a personal testimony delivered on the last night of a church retreat. It included passages from Jeremiah and also the Book of Joel: “Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

Bryant continued, “School for Scott Morrison was Sydney Boys High, one of the best in the public sector, while his student years were spent at the University of New South Wales where he received an honours degree in applied science, studying economics and geography.

That led to jobs in a number of industry groups, including the Property Council of Australia and what was then known as the Tourism Task Force (now the Tourism and Transport Forum). He served as the number two at the TTF before jumping ship to its main rival, Tourism Council Australia. Afterwards, the TTF changed its employment contracts to prevent others from “doing a Morrison”.

George Venturini, in a two part series written for the AIMNetwork postulates a connection at Sydney University between Morrison and the “Uglies”, a rightwing faction of the NSW Liberal Party. The founder of the well-named “Uglies” was Lyenko Urbanchich, or Ljenko Urbancic a Yugoslav refugee who had been a member of the Yugoslav Nazi Party, Zbor.

Venturi wrote, “For over two decades he stacked Liberal branches along the eastern sea-board part of New South Wales. His control of the Liberal Ethnic Council of New South Wales, set up in 1977, was absolute. His faction was openly called ‘the Uglies’. It did not die with the death of Urbancic in 2006; on the contrary, it continued by the care of an Upper House’s member – (Ed Note – The Hon David John Clarke MLC) with quiet success. The key to that is anti-Semitism – broadly defined, and most of the time discreet, whispered, nudge-nudged and wink-winked. The transfer of that prejudice was to embrace in an attitude of diffidence, in time mounting to hatred, for most people from the Middle East (in a convenient Anglo ‘definition’): ‘the Arabs’, the Turks – who won at Gallipoli, the Lebanese – often lambasted as ‘bloody Lebs’, the Iraqis attempting to take refuge after ‘the good, real-Australians’ had recently invaded and devastated their country, and of course the Israelis, and the Palestinians. So Morrison was, quietly at first, in his comfortable milieu.”

Nov 3, 2012, Jane Cadzow wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald,Cruising through Brisbane in a Commonwealth car, Morrison mentions that his favourite novels are David Malouf’s The Great World and Kate Grenville’s The Secret River – both critically acclaimed Australian works. “I don’t read international fiction,” he adds. “I just don’t relate to it. I’m interested in our stories.

His Parliamentary Website supplies a potted pre-parliamentary employment record.

  • BSc(Hons)(NSW).
  • National Manager, Policy and Research Property Council of Australia 1989-95.
  • Deputy Chief Executive, Australian Tourism Task Force 1995-96.
  • General Manager, Tourism Council 1996-98.
  • Director, NZ Office of Tourism and Sport 1998-2000.
  • State Director, Liberal Party (NSW) 2000-04.
  • Managing Director, Tourism Australia 2004-06.
  • Principal, MSAS Pty Ltd 2006-07.

It also contains his maiden speech to the Federal Parliament in which he spoke of his early years and his upbringing.

I turn now to the most significant influences on my life—my family and my faith. Family is the stuff of life and there is nothing more precious. I thank my family members here in the gallery today for their support. It is my hope that all Australians could have the same caring and supportive environment that was provided to me by my parents, John and Marion Morrison, and my late grandparents, Mardie and Sandy Smith and Douglas and Noel Morrison, whom I honour in this place today. My parents laid the foundation for my life. Together with my brother, Alan, they demonstrated through their actions their Christian faith and the value they placed on public and community service. In our family, it has never been what you accumulate that matters but what you contribute. I thank them for their sacrifice, love and, above all, their example. To my wife, Jenny, on Valentine’s Day: words are not enough. She has loved and supported me in all things and made countless sacrifices, consistent with her generous, selfless and caring nature. However, above all, I thank her for her determination to never give up hope for us to have a child. After 14 years of bitter disappointments, God remembered her faithfulness and blessed us with our miracle child, Abbey Rose, on the seventh of the seventh of the seventh, to whom I dedicate this speech today in the hope of an even better future for her and her generation.

Like Father Like Son?

Waverley Council created a “Recognising Our Community Leaders Walk” where a plaque is installed in the promenades along Bondi or Bronte Beach in their honour. The Walk commenced in 2005, and the first person honoured was John D Morrison, for his exceptional contributions, reaching all areas of the local community.

He was Mayor of Waverley Council for 1985/6. He was a police commander who founded the local Boys Brigade in Bondi Junction, played rugby for Randwick and was an active member of the local RSL. John Morrison was also politically active, serving 16 years on the local council as an Independent His son’s first political act came at the age of nine, when he handed out how-to-vote cards on behalf of his father.

Jan 2, 1986, the Sydney Morning Herald reported,– “The Mayor of Waverley, Mr John Morrison, has been appointed police inspector of the same municipality of which he is mayor. It is believed this is the John Morrisonfirst time that a man has held both positions in NSW. Mr Morrison yesterday took up the post of the Chief Inspector of 10 Division, which covers the municipalities of Waverley and Woolllahra.

Inspector Morrison, an Independent member of Waverley’s ruling Liberal-Independent coalition, said he did not expect any conflict of interest between his two roles. “The police have always worked in close co-operation with Waverley Council. Any conflict of interest would only come with a confrontation and I am not expecting any disagreements between the council and the local police.” NSW police were not permitted to stand for local government election until 1964. When Inspector Morrison was elected to the waverley Council in 1968 he was one of the first two policemen in the State to be elected to local government.

Feb 22nd 1986. Sydney Morning Herald, MH Ross Coulthard and Marian Theobald reported on a council meeting. “Waverley Council at a stormy meeting on Tuesday night refused to dissociate itself from a memo by a Liberal alderman criticising the South Pacific Festival. The memo, written by Alderman Carolyn Markham to the Town Clerk, Mr Robert Ball, described the recent South Pacific Festival as a forum for “fanatical anti-Aussie” political pundits preaching their “scarlet philosophy“.

When the matter came to a vote, only the Labour Aldermen voted for dissociation from the memo.

Apr 24, 1986, The Sydney Morning Herald’s Marian Theobald reported that “The Police Appeals Tribunal has relieved the Mayor of Waverley, Alderman John Morrison, of his position as chief inspector in the Waverley and Woollahra areas after an appeal by a senior police officer.

Apparently, as this is hearsay, Morrison Senior used to make MP Ernie Page, a previous mayor, mad by never telling him the time of meetings. Morrison JR is doing the same thing to the media with his weekly briefings.

John Morrison appears to have been an ambitious man, willing to twist situations to his own advantage and with questionable racist attitudes. At least that is the impression I have of him from what I have been able to read on the internet. I stand to be corrected.

1998-2000 The New Zealand Jaunt

In 1998 -2000 Scott Morrison went to New Zealand to run the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Sport answering directly to Tourism Minister, Murray McCully. He became known as Murray’s Rottweiler in a battle between the Minister and the Tourism Board. When the dust settled the casualties included the Board’s chairman and chief executive, as well as McCully himself. A Wellington newspaper reported that in the ensuring inquiry, Morrison emerged as “a cross between Rasputin and Crocodile Dundee.”

From NZ Hansard in a debate on a matter of public importance. McCully read into the debate, – On Morning Report on Wednesday, 10 February Helen Clark said: “I mean we are talking hush money here. We are talking allegations that people, when they left the board, had their silence bought because Mr McCully found it too serious for them to be speaking freely.” On Television One that night, she continued: “What we need to know is what were they being paid to keep quiet about.” Leaving aside the defamatory character of those statements, clearly this was an allegation of corruption—an assertion that I had acted improperly and then procured payments to be made to some individuals to buy their silence.”

Later in the debate, Helen Clark said, “We now have a report from the Controller and Auditor-General that outlines what happened through that process. We have received this afternoon a press release from the Tourism Board. That press release states quite clearly, as is stated in the report, that Mr Mogridge and Mr Wall had done nothing wrong, hence the Minister’s inability to shift them from their positions. Because they had done nothing wrong he had to come up with some scheme to get rid of them, to sideline them, and to put in place his bunch of cronies, led by Scott Morrison of the Office of Tourism and Sport, to manage the Tourism Board funding—the $67.5 million of taxpayers’ money that the ACT party is always so keen to demand accountability for. Well, it was keen until today, when it has rolled over in terms of the report of the Controller and Auditor-General; it had been determined to see accountability put in place.

2001 Federal Campaign

Irfan Yusuf

Irfan Yusuf

Septenber, 2006, in Crikey, Lawyer Ifran Yusuf reminisced about the Howard descent into racist attitudes. In 2001 Yusuf had stood for the Liberals in the Western Sydney electorate of Reid. In part, he wrote, the 2001 election when Howard’s NSW campaign manager Scott Morrison threatened me with disendorsement if I so much as spoke about the grief of an Afghan Australian who had lost two nieces when they drowned with hundreds of other asylum seekers fleeing the Taliban.

Morrison apparently denied him permission to publish it saying – “it compromises the party’s stand on security”.

November 3, 2012, Jane Cadzow wrote in the Fairfax Saturday magazine, Good Weekend about a visit with the Morrison Family,. Writing about his return from New Zealand, she wrote “Back in Sydney, where few knew or cared about the drama across the Tasman, he landed the job of director of the Liberal Party’s NSW division. He was at the helm for the federal election campaign of 2001, fought in the jittery aftermath of the September 11 attacks when fear of terrorists heightened suspicion of asylum seekers. Lawyer Irfan Yusuf, who stood for the Liberals in the western Sydney electorate of Reid, says he wrote a sympathetic article about a refugee whose two nieces had drowned en route to this country, but that Morrison denied him permission to publish it, saying, “If you, as a Liberal candidate, talk about refugees in that way, it compromises our stand on security and terrorism.” As Yusuf remembers it, “He was basically saying, ‘Look, if you want to have a future in the party, you shut up on this one.’ And, you know, I took it seriously, because he was the state director.” Morrison denies this conversation took place.

2004 Federal Campaign

In March, 2010, The Australian reported that the “OPPOSITION immigration spokesman

Ed Husic

Ed Husic

Scott Morrison has been linked with “conservative racists” accused of mounting a fraudulent leaflet campaign in the lead-up to the 2004 federal election. Labor senator Steve Hutchins today said Mr Morrison was the executive director of the NSW Liberal Party at the time of the letterboxing campaign in the Sydney seat of Greenway. Mr Morrison has rejected the comments as a “grubby smear”. In the lead-up to the 2004 election, anonymous campaigners dropped leaflets in letterboxes around Greenway purporting to be from the Labor candidate and muslim Ed Husic. The leaflets read: “Ed Husic is a devout Muslim. Ed is working hard to get a better deal for Islam in Greenway.” The fraudulent leaflets also carried the ALP logo and campaign slogan. Mr Husic went on to lose the election by 800 votes to Liberal Louise Markus.

The phrase “Plausible Deniability” springs to mind. Husic refuses to be interviewed about it. He says he doesn’t want to fuel the controversy. Husic reportedly said on a later occasion, “Before he came into Parliament Scott Morrison headed up Tourism Australia designed to bring people into Australia. And now we have a policy which is designed to keep them out.

2nd March, 2011, Nick Possum wrote in his blog, “From the Mean Streets”, “The Sydney Morning Herald and the dirty politics of the religious right.

No story about the 2004 Federal election more clearly illustrates the reactionary role played by the religious right than the Muslim-baiting of Ed Husic, Labor’s candidate for the seat of Greenway in Sydney’s west. On 27 October Eric Roozendaal, a member of NSW Parliament’s upper house managed to bring out some of the facts in an adjournment debate. He pointed out that, on the night before the election, a bogus ALP brochure saying “Ed Husic is a devout Muslim. Ed is working hard to get a better deal for Islam” was distributed in Greenway. Husic had been the victim of “a vicious and well-orchestrated attack on his religion and ethnicity”, Roozendaal said. He didn’t say who had produced the brochure, but he told Parliament that the direct beneficiary had been Louise Markus, the Liberal Candidate. Markus is a member of the Pentecostal Hillsong Church, which is also behind the fundamentalist Christian Family First Party. . . .

. . . . . it was the opposite of sinister that Husic didn’t mention his religious background. He followed the tested secular principle that a person’s religion – or the lack of it – is not the basis on which they seek election. The conservative Christian right, on the other hand campaigned precisely on the basis of their religious affiliation. Scott Morrison isn’t above it either.
A few days after Sheehan ‘outed’ Husic and too late for any response to be issued before the federal election the next day, a bogus ALP brochure was distributed in Greenway. It proclaimed “Ed Husic is a devout Muslim. Ed is working hard to get a better deal for Islam”. Those responsible were never identified, but Scott Morrison was state director of the Liberal Party at the time and it’s difficult to believe that Sheehan wasn’t getting some tips from Morrison’s office. . . . .

. . . . . In 2008 a Parliamentary investigation of the scandal by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters commenced. It reported in March 2010. By a strange coincidence of history Scott Morrison was its deputy chair, but he left the committee in February 2010 three weeks before it delivered its report.

Who The Bloody Hell are you?

From 2004 till 2006, Morrison was the Managing Director of Tourism Australia. While serving as managing director of Tourism Australia, he had a falling out with his boss, Fran Bailey.

Morrison was sacked two years into his contract.

Fran Baily

Fran Baily

February 2012. THE MONTHLY, Nick Bryant, After his days in New Zealand he was something of bureaucratic black belt fighting running battles with his nine strong Board. Its members complained that he didn’t heed advice, that he withheld important research data about the controversial campaign, was aggressive and intimidating and ran the government as if it was a one man show. But Morrison thought he had the upper hand. Confident that John Howard would back him, Morrison boasted that if Fran Baily tried to stop him he would bring her down. When Board members called for him to go however Baily agreed and soon it was Morrison who was on his way.

“Fran despised him,” said an industry insider. Her one win was ousting Scott. His ego went too far.” Another senior figure claimed that it was Morrison’s arrogance along with his misreading of John Howard and the dynamic of Canberra that proved his undoing. He was naive to think he could take on the politicians. Howard was always going to back his Ministers. (the real reason for Morrison’s departure was tension with the Board, chaired by Tim Fischer).

The Saturday Paper reported on 10th Nov, 2018, ‘Ever since Scott Morrison was sacked from his job as managing director of Tourism Australia in 2006, the reasons for his dismissal have been kept secret.

At the time and since, public speculation has variously attributed the now prime minister’s removal to a personality clash with his minister, a falling out over changes to the organisation’s structure, and a dispute over the agency’s contentious “Where the bloody hell are you?” campaign.

But an auditor-general’s report completed 10 years ago, which has escaped public scrutiny until now, reveals that in the period leading up to Morrison’s dismissal, his agency faced a series of audits and a review of its contractual processes ordered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, amid serious concerns about its governance.

The auditor-general’s inquiry into Tourism Australia – which followed these reviews, and was conducted after Morrison’s departure – reveals information was kept from the board, procurement guidelines breached and private companies engaged on contracts worth $184 million before paperwork was signed and without appropriate value-for-money assessments.

The audit report omits the next event in the chronology of relations between the minister and Tourism Australia – that Bailey sacked Morrison the same month.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report examines three major contracts that Tourism Australia signed while Scott Morrison was managing director. It criticises processes in all three cases but especially the contracts for global creative development – advertising campaigns – and media placement services.

Ten years since the audit, and 13 years since the contracts were signed, those two completed contracts appear not to be listed on the government’s AusTender website, where all contracts are required to be available for public viewing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 the “Travel Mole” reported ;

Ex Tourism Australia’s Scott Morrison makes anticipated next political step

A report in The Australian this morning reveals, as reported in TravelMole recently that Scott Morrison, the recently ousted head of Tourism Australia and former NSW Liberal director would remerge(sic) somewhere in the political arena. After a series of political stumbles the NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam’s office has been reorganised and Scott Morrison, now described as Political Consultant will join Mr Debnam’s team today, taking the role of what is described as a “minder” to “follow Mr Debnam along every step of the road to the March 24 state election”.

The Australian reports that it understands the move has been made on the advice and encouragement of John Howard, who worked closely with Mr Morrison on the successful 2001 and 2004 federal election campaigns. TravelMole subscribers will recall that last August as reported first in TravelMole that Mr Morrison, 38, took what was described as an “agreed separation” from Tourism Australia, where he was Managing Director, after a massive spat with Federal Tourism Minister Fran Bailey. It is also reported that he agreed not to talk publicly about the termination in exchange for a $500,000 payout.

It was rumoured elsewhere that a selection for a safe seat Liberal seat might have been part of the deal.

2007 Cook Campaign

MICHAEL TOWKE was pre-selected for the seat of Cook as Bruce Baird was retiring. He was then 34. He is Michael Towkea Lebanese Christian and comes from the same part of the worls as does Australia’s current treasurer. Cook was the scene of the “Cronulla Riots” of 2005. Despite this, as a major party organiser within the electorate, he won preselection with 82 votes while Morrison received just 8. What followed was, as had happened in the past when Morrison was thwarted, not pretty. That is not an accusation that Morrison was involved in what followed, rather it is an observation on the disruption and vitriol which has often appeared in the wake of Morrison disappointment.

On October 26th, 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article headlined “Nasty saga you nearly missed” and prefaced with the comment, ‘News Limited was willing to pay dearly for this story not to be published. It first offered a $110,000 payment, plus a private apology, to avoid going to court. But the price it demanded was that the matter be kept confidential. The company was told to take a jump. See you in court.

The article contained the following; “Towke is also a long-serving member of the Liberal Party. In July 2007 he won preselection for the then safe federal Liberal seat of Cook. He was set to replace the outgoing member, Bruce Baird. The contest attracted a large field, including Paul Fletcher, who recently won Liberal preselection for Bradfield (vacated by the former Liberal leader Brendan Nelson), and a former state director of the NSW Liberal party, Scott Morrison.

Towke won easily. On the first ballot, he polled 10 times as many votes as Morrison, 82 votes to 8, who was eliminated in the first round. His victory meant that a Lebanese Australian would represent the Liberal Party in the seat where the Cronulla riot and revenge raids had taken place 18 months earlier, in December 2005. ”The campaign against me started four days after preselection,” Towke said.

Two senior people within the Liberal Party, whose identity is known to a widening circle within the party, went through Towke’s nomination papers to find every possible discrepancy and weakness. Then they started calling selected journalists to tell them Towke was a liar. The first story appeared in The Daily Telegraph on July 18, 2007, under the headline, ”Liberal ballot scandal in Howard’s backyard.” Three days later, on July 21, a second story appeared in the Telegraph: ”Towke future on hold.” The next day, in The Sunday Telegraph, a third story: ”Party split as Liberal candidate faces jail.” ”That was the story that sent my mother to hospital,” Towke told me.

Sheahan concludes, “Two years later, Towke’s honour has been restored. His name has been cleared, his standing in the party rehabilitated, and his ties to the electorate broadened. Justice will be served when the two assassins within the party are politically terminated. That process has begun. The circle will only be complete if this Lebanese Australian represents the shire in Federal Parliament.

A former member of the Labour party claimed that Michael Towke disendorsed for the seat of Cook by 22 Liberals.

I am also interested in finding out the names of the “Two Assassins”!

Despite John Howard objecting to Michael Towke, he still apparently controls many of the Liberal Party branches in the Shire.

27 September 2007, Marie Ficarra, a NSW Upper House MP – spoke up for Michael Towke in an

Marie Ficarra

Marie Ficarra

adjournment debate. “Mr Towke was subjected to the most disgusting campaign of vilification that I have witnessed in more than my 26 years in politics. All allegations were unsubstantiated and false. I am alarmed by some media representative’s blatant racism and by the fact that they accepted from dishonest, unethical and anonymous sources false information regarding Michael Towke. One journalist recently published a ‘commander of the Bulldogs Rugby League Army and published a photograph that purported to be him. Further, a scurrilous Statutory Declaration against Mr Towke by property developer, MATHIEW DANIEL that was published and proved false (It said that Towke paid over $30, 00 to sign up new members).

Scott Morrison followed Bruce Baird into the seat of COOK following the 2007 Federal Election.

2008 Maiden Speech

14th Feb, 2008, extracts from Morrison’s maiden speech, are revealing.

In recent times it has become fashionable to negatively stereotype those who profess their Christian faith in public life as ‘extreme’ and to suggest that such faith has no place in the political debate of this country. This presents a significant challenge for those of us, like my colleague, who seek to follow the example of William Wilberforce or Desmond Tutu, to name just two. These leaders stood for the immutable truths and principles of the Christian faith. They transformed their nations and, indeed, the world in the process. More importantly, by following the convictions of their faith, they established and reinforced the principles of our liberal democracy upon which our own nation is built.”

From my faith I derive the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others; to fight for a fair go for everyone to fulfil their human potential and to remove whatever unjust obstacles stand in their way, including diminishing their personal responsibility for their own wellbeing; and to do what is right, to respect the rule of law, the sanctity of human life and the moral integrity of marriage and the family. We must recognise an unchanging and absolute standard of what is good and what is evil. Desmond Tutu put it this way: … we expect Christians … to be those who stand up for the truth, to stand up for justice, to stand on the side of the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the naked, and when that happens, then Christians will be trustworthy believable witnesses.” These are my principles.”

2010, President of the Uniting Church, THE REV ALISTER MACRAE said:

Mr Abbot and Mr Morrison who both proudly proclaim their Christian faith, ‘love they neighbour and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ have failed to demonstrate any commitment to one of the Jude Christian traditions most enduring directives ‘welcome the stranger.’

We are talking about people who often need to be treated for conditions such as PTSD and severe trauma. Callous and punitive policies such as this are not the mark of a fair and decent and progressive country.

2010 – 2012 Public Grubbiness Begins

Dr. Jamal Rifi 21st Jan, 2011, The Australian reported,A PROMINENT Muslim leader who climbed the Kokoda Track with federal Liberal immigration spokesman Scott Morrison in 2009 says his friend was “totally wrong” for questioning taxpayer-funded flights of family members from Christmas Island to Sydney for last week’s funerals of shipwreck victims. Jamal Rifi also said that if Mr Morrison had, as reported, suggested to shadow cabinet that the Coalition should make political capital out of anti-Muslim sentiment, he was unsuitable to the role of immigration minister.

Dr Rifi said he was surprised by Mr Morrison’s remarks about the funerals, and supported Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey’s retort.”What Joe Hockey said was spot-on,” he said. “Any government that respects itself would pay the families to attend those funerals.” Mr Hockey publicly slammed Mr Morrison’s statement over the government’s payment of flights for relatives to attend the funeral at the Rookwood Cemetery in western Sydney last week.

Feb 18th, 2011, The Australian published,Deborah Cameron on ABC 702 provides a helpful summary of Scott Morrison’s comments “ABC Radio’s AM on Tuesday: Reporter Barbara Miller: Do you think you run the risk of being seen as heartless on the day of these funerals to to be bickering over this money?

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison: Well, you’re asking the questions and I’m answering them. And when it comes to the question of do I think this is a reasonable cost then my honest answer is: “No, I don’t think it is reasonable.”

Scott Morrison has virtually said: Let their tears fall in the desert. They cannot come to the graveside. It was a very grave thing for him to say. It also goes to this question of a political conscience really. The sort of person you really are and the sort of person you might have to be in pursuit of a populist kind of line.

Sam North: I don’t know Scott Morrison so I can’t talk about his character. I do know that I believe that it is very difficult for Australia to have these debates because once the genie is out of the bottle you can’t put it back in. Once you allow major political parties to come out and start talking about this then it’s bad manners and it gets out and it’s no good for the country as far as I can see.

Cameron: I’d like to go back to the personal with Scott Morrison just for a moment. When he was elected to parliament he’d been a former director of the state tourism commission. So you thought, well, an international kind of guy, this. I didn’t mind all that sort of thing. He went public with a story about his own private life and he said how much he loved his own children. And then came here and sat in the chair you’re in, Adam, and he talked about walking the Kokoda Track in the wake of the Cronulla riots, with young Muslim leaders, because he believed that leadership needed to be shown on a such an important issue as unity in the community. You looked at him and thought here’s a fellow who might like to change the world. And now you look at him today, and you wonder. What’s going on in the mind of Scott Morrison?

Adam Kilgour: You don’t know if it was sent out as a dog whistle to throw out the anti-Muslim type sentiments into the community or whether it was premeditated but I think if it was premeditated it’s a pretty sad and cheap shot.”

February 19, 2011, Peter Hartcher, SMH called Morrison. “The greatest grub in Federal Parliament. A cheap populist with form. For him it’s just about clever lines. Consequences for himself and his party are all that matters.

2nd March, 2011, Nick Possum (From the mean streets) commented It’s a wonderful thing that some in the Liberal Party have finally had the bottle to challenge the shameful Muslim-baiting by the party’s immigration spokesperson, Scott Morrison, and other leading Liberals. Thanks to the whistle-blowers we now know that in December last year Morrison urged the shadow cabinet to appeal to atavistic prejudices about Muslim immigrants and their supposed inability to integrate.

Morrison made his suggestion when shadow ministers were asked for ideas for issues on which the Coalition should concentrate its political attack in 2011. The deputy leader, Julie Bishop, and even the notorious former immigration minister Philip Ruddock, were, reportedly, horrified.

After the Christmas Island boat wreck Morrison was asked by a journalist Barbara Miller, “Do you think you run the risk of being heartless on the day of these funerals to be saying –to be bickering over money?” Morrison replied. “When it comes to the question of, do I think this is a reasonable cost than the answer is no, I don’t think it’s reasonable.”

February 2011, Lenore Taylor reported in The Sydney Morning Herald:

The opposition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, urged the shadow cabinet to capitalise on the electorate’s growing concerns about ‘Muslim immigration’, ‘Muslims in Australia’ and the ‘inability’ of Muslim migrants to integrate. Mr Morrison’s suggestion was made at a meeting in December at which shadow ministers were asked to bring three ideas for issues on which the Coalition should concentrate its political attack during this parliamentary term.

In February 2012, a Morrison press release on two cases of typhoid found one on an Australia-bound boat:

When illegal boats turn up in our waters there will always be the risk that people on these boats will carry serious communicable diseases. The more boats there are, the greater the risk of serious diseases presenting …

“As long as Labor’s soft policies on our borders continue, these boats will continue to arrive along with the risks they carry, including people with serious communicable diseases.

In March 2012, he warned asylum seekers may be carrying guns:

The guns on our streets, the guns being traded, the guns that form this black market have got into Australia through pretty porous borders.

In June 2012, he told 2GB asylum seekers were also arriving cashed-up:

I’ve been up at Christmas Island I’ve the seen the bags and the various other things of the passengers, and I’ve seen wads of cash before. I’ve seen large displays of jewellery and various other things, so a lot of money floating around when these boats come in is not uncommon as I understand it.

November 3, 2012 in The Watchman, Jane Cadzow wrote . “44% of Australians were born overseas. Australia is an immigrant country. To ferment ethnic, racial and religious frictions or resentments is deeply harmful in the national interest.

2013 The Grubbiness Grows

Feb 28th 2013. The Sydney Morning Herald reported, “A Liberal backbencher has accused his party of ”vilifying” asylum seekers after the Coalition immigration spokesman, Scott Morrison, called for ”behaviour protocols” for those released into the community. Mr Morrison also said there should be mandatory notification of asylum seekers to local police and residents in the areas where they are housed.

He said the charging of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker with the indecent assault of a young woman in a university dorm in Sydney ”demanded” an immediate suspension of the community release program and a review to determine new ”behavioural protocols . . . with clear negative sanctions for breaches”. But the Victorian backbencher Russell Broadbent said there should ”never be special categories of laws for different categories of people . . . The rule of law should apply to all and we should not set some people apart.

Morrison defended Fiona Scott who blamed asylum seekers causing traffic jams in the western suburbs. (2013 election). This one was just too silly for words!

16th August, 2013; The Central Telegraph wrote ,MORE than 30,000 refugees living in Australia will be denied permanent settlement and have their appeal rights stripped, under a new Coalition policy released on Friday. The policy would also force all those refugees who arrived by boat onto indefinite work-for-dole obligations. It marks a return to several Howard government immigration policies, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott saying “this is our country and we will determine who comes here”. All those who already arrived by boat – including at community detention centres and those at offshore centres – will be put on temporary protection visas. The policy would deny the “irregular maritime arrivals” from ever holding permanent resident status, and move the appeal process from the courts to an administrative function. Shadow immigration minister Scott Morrison said the policy would “end the tick and flick process” of the current government.

28th Sept, 2013; Michael Taylor wrote on his Blog at “Cafe Whispers”,Morrison’s media strategy is simple but effective. Every time a boat arrives he issues a press release and makes himself available for comment. The line is always the same. ‘We will tow them back.’ On July 5, 2013 he wrote that ‘if elected the Coalition will implement a full suite of proven border protection polices including turning boasts around.’

October 22, 2013, the ABC’s Emma Griffiths wrote,Immigration Minister defends the use of term ‘illegal arrivals’ to describe asylum seekers, saying he is calling a spade a spade. A leading member of the Anglican Church fears the term will create a ‘toxic atmosphere around asylum seekers. “It’s not calling a spade a spade,” said Canon Stephen Ames of St Pauls Cathedral Melbourne. “It is misrepresenting people who are fleeing for their lives and to call them illegal and to perpetuate that and other dehumanising kind of labels just doesn’t acknowledge the situation. The impression gets formed in the community that they’ve broken the law. It heightens fear and suspicion. These stereotypes get going.”

Morrison.“The Coalition will agree to police requests to provide address details of boat arrivals released into the community on bridging visas and to consult with police to any release of illegal boat arrivals into their community.”

20th Dec at the weekly Border Protection Press Conference, David Marr received no answers to any questions about the Health sevices on Christmas Island which has come into question after 15 doctors rasied concerns about “numerous unsafe practices and gross departures from generally accepted medical standards which have posed significant risk to patients and caused considerable harm”.! Oliver Laughland of the Guardian tweeted “Morrison was made aware of report on 6 December. @GuardianAus has a full video recording of the press conference we will put online later.

Here is his video of his questions and Morrison’s answers with added David Marr comments.

October 2014 – The Ego Takes Over

It is worth summarising 12 months of Morrison’s increasing reach as Minister for Immigration to Minister for Immigration and Border Protection;

  • Turning Customs into a para-military organisation;
  • taking control of much of Australia’s Navy;
  • introducing legislation to remove the power of Australia’s highest courts to oversee any of his decisions;
  • ignoring the requirements of the UNHCR.

The list could go on.

It seems that behind the scenes he has also been maneuvering to take responsibility for Bio security from Barnaby Joyce’s Agricultural Portfolio as well as attempting to move the foreign aid budget into an American-style Department of Homeland Security.

Now, finally, his machinations appear to have caused some major angst within Cabinet. Major enough to allow some leakage from within what has been a remarkably disciplined group. Perhaps Peta Credlin is beginning to lose control.

ABC News Online reported,Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is pushing for his Operation Sovereign Borders team to take control of Australia’s Ebola response with new powers to force visitors from West Africa to be isolated in quarantine. . . . Mr Morrison let his colleagues know he believed he and his department could take on a larger role in responding to the Ebola outbreak. The ABC’s AM program has been given accounts of discussions inside Cabinet’s National Security Committee.

Sources said Mr Morrison suggested introducing strict new mandatory quarantine measures for anyone arriving in Australia from Ebola-affected regions of West Africa. They said Mr Morrison flagged that a hard-lined quarantine approach could be best run by his existing Operation Sovereign Borders team.

One minister told AM the Immigration Minister’s approach is “annoying everyone on the National Security Committee because he’s not across all the facts on Ebola”. “He doesn’t have access to what the chief medical officer is advising the Health Minister,” he said. Another senior Coalition source said Mr Morrison’s behaviour was “out of control” and his “ego” was “getting in the way of his judgement“.

As expected, “A spokesperson for Mr Morrison said the suggestions were utterly false.”



As the editor of this biography, it falls to me to make a personal judgement on the life of the man I am studying. I have not met the man so I must judge him as a historian, on the written reports from his contemporaries.

I have found the information to be disturbing and worrying. So much so that I woke at 3am this morning, having been at work on this post for a fortnight, with the vision of Scott Morrison, the Pentecostal Christian, sitting at a money-changer’s table on the steps of the Temple. His Saviour Jesus in front of him, lifting the table in anger.

Morrison2Despite his protestations of “the values of loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, to act with compassion and kindness, acknowledging our common humanity and to consider the welfare of others” it is very hard to see them in his political actions. Either before ar after his election to Parliament. Yet it would be churlish to say that this attitude is deliberate or even noticed by him. Few men recognise the true sinner in themselves, choosing lesser sins to repent. It is often the mirror of life which sees the faults. For all the “joy” which is said to accompany the Christian life, Scott seems to be particularly joyless.

He seems to me to be a combative, greedy and uncaring person who has brutally clawed his way up through the heirarchies of each of his employers leaving many behind who would rue having met him. He seems to be applying the same skill-set to his political life and it would be well for Tony Abbott to watch his back.

The question which keeps popping into my head is, “What would his Proddy ancestor in Northern Ireland think this of this descendant who is working so closely with so many of those radical Micks?

Final Note. While this post was based on information emailed to me (and I thank the emailer), I take full responsibility for the content and the conclusions reached. Changes will be made as further information is gathered or errors discovered.

6 responses to “The Public Life of Scott Morrison

  1. Nice bloke…NOT!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joann Melville McGrath

    You can almost always learn and know the true character of any individual from their historical background as well as their behaviours and True characteristics. Scott Morrison is a very devious man. !!!



    It would be good to add this to ScatMo’s list of underhanded *#%@ he has done in the past to screw the little guy and take credit for it.


  4. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the background of Australians politicians(all sides)in the last decade and done formal study of a range of nations. The results drove me to abandon my previous ruthlessly apolitical advisory stance, driven by the cumulative results of #lnp recent years. Had Morrison managed to be re elected I placed serious civil unrest During his next spell allied to a terminal level of distrust in government and our system of government. I agree with most of this long post, but it still omits much of the systematic destruction he undertook of our social and political structures: these will now be his legacy and once fully appraised will be a devastating addendum to this piece

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Marcus. The problem with a blog post is that is written at a point in time.I made a decision a decade ago that I would not be revisiting the biographies on this page. They are based on recovered newspaper articles and have very little personal comment. I leave it to others to complete the tale as time and events continue.


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