The New Daily takes a look at the interesting history of Australia’s 30th Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
1. He entered Federal Parliament at the election of 2007, which saw Kevin Rudd become prime minister. Soon after the Coalition victory of 2013 he became Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and implemented “Sovereign Borders”, an initiative aimed at preventing people smuggling and asylum seekers deaths at sea.
2. The day after Kevin Rudd’s national apology to indigenous Australians, Morrison said in Parliament that he felt “proud”. “There is no doubt that our Indigenous population has been devastated by the inevitable clash of cultures that came with the arrival of the modern world in 1770 at Kurnell in my electorate.”
3. Morrison grew up in Bronte a beach suburb in Sydney’s east. His father was a policeman and his mother worked in administrative positions. Morrison’s parents ran youth programs for the local church. His father was involved in aged care and served as a local-government councillor for 16 years. Scott’s first political act came at the tender age of nine, handing out how-to-vote cards for his dad.
4. Morrison attended Sydney Boys’ High School through to Year 12. In March 2015, approximately 300 alumni of the schools former students signed a letter protesting Mr Morrison’s attendance at a fund-raising event. The letter accused Mr Morrison of having “so flagrantly disregarded human rights”.
5. Veteran Canberra journalist Laurie Oakes once said on television that the government “should avoid the goading and arrogance of Scott Morrison, where he just pours mullock on journalists”. Oakes added that his attitude towards journalists was disgusting. “When people like Scott Morrison give us the finger when we ask tough questions, we’ve got to shine a light on that and expose it because it’s not acceptable.”
6. To become Liberal candidate for Cook in 2007, he lost the preselection ballot, 82 votes to 8, to Michael Towke, a telecommunications engineer and the candidate of the Liberals’ right faction. However, allegations emerged that Towke had engaged in branch stacking and embellished his resume.The Liberal Party’s state executive disendorsed Towke and Morrison won the pre-selection. Later, the allegations against Towke were disproved and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph was successfully sued by Towke.
7. When 48 people died in the Christmas Island disaster of 2010, Morrison objected to the Gillard Government offering to pay for families’ fares to the funerals in Sydney.
8. In his maiden speech, Morrison paid tribute to British anti-slavery figure William Wilberforce, and also to Desmond Tutu and U2 singer Bono for their humanitarian attitudes to suffering in Africa. Also from his maiden speech: “So what values do I derive from my faith? My answer comes from Jeremiah, chapter 9:24: ‘I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things, declares the Lord.’
9. He is an evangelical Christian who worships at a Hillsong-style Pentecostal church in Sydney. One mentor is the founder of Hillsong, Harley Davidson-riding pastor Brian Houston. In Who’s Who Morrison mentions the church as his number-one hobby.
10. When he was the managing director of Tourism Australia, he oversaw the infamous “Where The Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign that featured model Lara Bingle.
11. Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that Morrison was “the greatest grub in the federal parliament” for stoking xenophobic and racist fears for political advantage. Pauline Hanson said she would prefer him as PM to Tony Abbott
12. The BBC’s Nick Bryant ungenerously wrote: “My hunch is that Scott Morrison doesn’t spend much time agonising over the contradictions that have marked his career, or fretting about the veering course of a political journey that has taken him from the moderate wing of the party, to the right. The main point for him is that his career has been heading in an ever-upward trajectory.”
13. Since acquiring his Bachelor of Science (Hons) at Sydney University, Morrison has worked at the following:
• 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
14. He met his wife, Jenny, at church, aged just 12. She had grown up in the St George area of south Sydney, solid battler territory, and would tease Scott about coming from the posh side of town.
15. Scott Morrison was born in 1968, the year The Beatles released the “White Album”, the year that all of Kylie Minogue, James Bond actor Daniel Craig, singer Celine Dion and Australian actor Hugh Jackman were born. It was also the year in which both Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.
Doug Aiton is a newspaper journalist and radio broadcaster. He has worked for The London Times, The Age, ABC Radio and 3AW.