Former Australian PM Scott Morrison Announces His Resignation From Politicsthedigitalchaps


The prime minister endured a complicated tenure as leader, but also positioned Australia at the forefront of the global pushback against Beijing.

Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced he will quit politics by the end of February, stepping down from parliamentary service as the federal member for Cook in South Sydney for a career in the private sector. 

On Jan. 23, Mr. Morrison posted a lengthy message on Facebook, thanking his electorate and Liberal-National Coalition colleagues for their allegiance throughout his tenure. 

“I am extremely grateful to my family, friends, local community and local party members and supporters in Cook for their incredible support during this time, that has enabled me to serve my country at the highest level and make Australia a stronger, more secure and more prosperous country. It has been a great honour to serve as the Member for Cook and as Prime Minister,” Mr. Morrison wrote.

“I also thank my staff and parliamentary colleagues over the years for their friendship and support, especially my Deputy Leader Josh Frydenberg and Deputy PMs Michael McCormack and Barnaby Joyce.”

Mr. Morrison has since confirmed he will be working with a string of global strategic advisory firms. Some sources are purporting a potential relocation to the United States. 

Morrison’s Leadership

After only nine months in the prime ministership, he faced what was deemed by many, to be an unwinnable federal election in 2019 and comfortably defeated opposition leader Bill Shorten.

The backend of 2019 played out slightly less advantageously for Mr. Morrison as he faced criticism for taking an overseas holiday to Hawaii at the height of the summer bushfires. He later said he “deeply regretted any offence caused” by his holiday. 

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He faced another complex situation in 2021 when his government faced sexual assault allegations, most notably from former parliamentary staffer Brittany Higgins.

During the pandemic years, the former prime minister took a strong stance against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on several matters, including calling for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, and later, passing new laws to tear up Belt and Road agreements signed between Beijing and the Andrews Labor government of Victoria.

His government also endured the bulk of the CCP’s trade war, which it initiated in 2020 in response to the push for a COVID-19 inquiry. Beijing’s move compelled the Morrison government to encourage local exporters to begin shifting trade towards other markets to reduce reliance on China.

Meanwhile, Mr. Morrison also became well-known for his association with then-U.S. President Donald Trump, who called him a “man of titanium” and a “man of real, real strength and a great guy.”

Mr. Morrison was also integral in secretly engineering the AUKUS agreement between Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as a means of counteracting Beijing’s increasing influence in the region.

Britain’s former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Australia’s former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and U.S. President Joe Biden at a joint press conference via AVL from The Blue Room at Parliament, in Canberra, Australia, on Sept. 16, 2021. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)
Britain’s former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Australia’s former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and U.S. President Joe Biden at a joint press conference via AVL from The Blue Room at Parliament, in Canberra, Australia, on Sept. 16, 2021. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

AUKUS tightened and formalised several defence partnerships between the three nations, and saw the governments pledge to work together on fields such as quantum technology, undersea capabilities, hypersonics, and drone technology.

However, the most notable aspect of AUKUS was the arming of the Royal Australian Navy with nuclear-powered submarines using technology and skills from the UK and the United States.

Mr. Morrison is set to deliver a formal announcement regarding his resignation on Jan. 24. 

Morrison’s Career Before Politics

Mr. Morrison’s departure marks the end of a 16-year career in parliament, comprising four years of prime ministerial service. His resignation will trigger a by-election in Cook. 

Mr. Morrison’s future roles in the corporate world will be his first lengthy stint of employment outside the public sector.  

He began his career working as a policy research manager for the Property Council of Australia—a national lobby group representing property developers and owners—between 1989 and 1995. 

He then transitioned into tourism, serving as deputy chief executive of the Australian Tourism Task Force and general manager of the Tourism Council of Australia, before being appointed as director of New Zealand’s newly-created Office of Tourism and Sport in 1998. 

In 2004, after a four-year stint as NSW state director of the Liberal Party, Mr. Morrison became the inaugural managing director of Tourism Australia—a government body created by the Howard government. 

During his spell at Tourism Australia, Mr. Morrison faced pressure for his role in approving the contentious, “So where the bloody hell are you?” tourism advertisement.

The ad was banned by the British government’s advertisement department for use of the word “bloody.”

Mr. Morrison’s contract with the tourism board was terminated in July 2006.

He then entered parliament in 2008, where he spent a decade in roles such as federal immigration minister, social services minister, housing minister, and treasurer under both the Turnbull and Abbott governments before winning the Liberal Party leadership and thus prime ministership in 2018. 

As treasurer, Mr. Morrison signed off on the decision to ban Beijing-backed telecommunications company Huawei from joining Australia’s 5G network.