Scott Morrison SKIPS parliament until August as one of his most vocal critics calls for the ex-PM to be fined $13,320 and have his pay DOCKED for the week
- Ex-prime minister Scott Morrison a no-show in Canberra as parliament resumes
- He is currently in Tokyo at a conference with other conservative former leaders
- Insiders questioned if he will be content relegated to the opposition backbench
Former prime minister Scott Morrison will be absent from parliament until August with one critic demanding he be fined $13,320 for his no-show.
Australia’s 47th Parliament opened in Canberra on Tuesday with photos showing Mr Morrison’s new seat on the opposition backbench conspicuously vacant.
The elected representative for the seat of Cook, in Sydney‘s Sutherland Shire, is visiting Tokyo for a conference with other former conservative world leaders.
Mr Morrison on Tuesday shared a photo alongside his wife Jenny at an event with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko.
Mr Morrison’s empty seat on the opposition backbench (bottom left) on Tuesday as Parliament resumed
The ex-PM jetted off to Tokyo where he attended a breakfast with Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and their wives
‘It was an honour this morning for Jenny and I to be hosted by PM and Mrs Kishida at their residence in Tokyo for breakfast,’ he wrote.
Hours earlier, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) boss Sally McManus slammed the ex-PM’s absence from parliament.
‘If a worker refused to turn up to work it’s called ‘unprotected industrial action’ and they would be fined $13,320 and have their pay docked for the week,’ she said.
Mr Morrison will return to Australia for the second parliamentary sitting week from August 1 and said he had already booked the Tokyo trip before Canberra’s dates were announced.
But some questioned whether Mr Morrison would be content relegated to new digs in the outer corridors of Parliament House.
‘Is it possible he might not be back in parliament at all?’ political commentator Michelle Grattan tweeted.
Mr Morrison is still the elected representative for Cook but some have questioned whether he will remain in Parliament until the next election
NSW Liberal sources also spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald about internal party speculation, on the condition of anonymity, and said many expected Mr Morrison to not stick around until the next election.
While Mr Morrison has made no public indication he will leave parliament, a by-election would need to be held for the traditionally safe Liberal seat of Cook if he did quit politics.
‘He has been talking to local members, telling them he is in no rush to leave,’ one NSW Liberal insider said.
‘Our estimates are that he will be around for another 12 months’
Another Liberal said it was ‘just a matter of when [Morrison] decides to go’.
Mr Morrison on Monday publicly revealed the Tokyo trip in a statement, saying it was planned before he knew when parliament would commence.
‘Prior to the new government advising the sitting schedule for the remainder of 2022, I had already accepted an invitation to join other former prime ministers from Canada, the UK and New Zealand to address an international event to be held in Tokyo this week,’ he said.
‘As a consequence I will be unable to attend the first three sitting days of the new parliament this week.
‘Both the prime minister and leader of the opposition were advised of my intended travel and absence from the parliament this week.’
ACTU boss Sally McManus (pictured) demanded Mr Morrison be fined more than $13,000 each week he is absent from Parliament
Mr Morrison said he would give an address on the importance of the Quad in ‘promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific’ as well as attending meetings with Japanese political and business leaders.
‘I will be holding a series of meetings with Japanese political and business leaders and will have the opportunity to join other former leaders to express my condolences for the passing of Prime Minister Abe following his assassination,’ he said.