Scott Morrison skips parliament until August as he heads to Tokyo for meeting with Japanese PM
Scott Morrison SKIPS Parliament until August as one of his most outspoken critics calls for ex-Prime Minister to be fined $13,320 and have his wages turned ON for the week
- Ex-Prime Minister Scott Morrison fails to show up in Canberra as parliament resumes
- He is currently in Tokyo at a conference with other conservative former leaders
- Insiders wondered if he will be happy with relegation to the opposition backbench
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be absent from parliament until August, with a critic demanding a $13,320 fine for his no-show.
Australia’s 47th Parliament opened in Canberra on Tuesday with photos showing Morrison’s new seat in the backseat of the opposition is conspicuously vacant.
The elected representative for Cook’s seat, in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, is visiting Tokyo for a conference with other former conservative world leaders.
Morrison shared a photo with his wife Jenny on Tuesday at an event with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his wife Yuko.
Mr Morrison’s empty seat in the opposition backseat (bottom left) on Tuesday as Parliament resumed
The ex-Prime Minister flew to Tokyo, where he attended breakfast with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and their wives
“It was an honor for Jenny and I to be received by Prime Minister and Ms. Kishida at their residence in Tokyo for breakfast this morning,” he wrote.
Hours earlier, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) chief Sally McManus had criticized the former prime minister’s absence from parliament.
“If an employee refuses to show up for work, it’s called ‘unprotected industrial action’ and will be fined $13,320 and withholding wages for that week,” she said.
Morrison will return to Australia for the second week of parliamentary session from August 1, and said he had already booked the trip to Tokyo before Canberra’s dates were announced.
But some wondered if Morrison would be happy with new excavations in Parliament House’s outer corridors.
“Is it possible that he is no longer in parliament at all,” tweeted political commentator Michelle Grattan.
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 on internal party speculation, on condition of anonymity, saying many did not expect Morrison to stay until the next election.
Although Morrison has not publicly indicated that he will leave parliament, a by-election would have to be held for Cook’s traditionally safe Liberal seat if he were to leave politics.
“He has spoken to local members and told them he is in no rush to leave,” said an NSW Liberal insider.
‘Our estimates are that he will be there for another 12 months’
Another Liberal said it was ‘just a matter of when’ [Morrison] decides to go.”
Morrison publicly revealed the trip to Tokyo on Monday in a statement, saying it was planned before he knew when parliament would begin.
Before the new government recommended the meeting schedule for the remainder of 2022, I had already accepted an invitation to speak with other former Prime Ministers from Canada, the UK and New Zealand at an international event to be held in Tokyo this week, ‘ he said.
“As a result, I will not be able to attend the first three days of the new parliament this week.
“Both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were informed this week of my intended trip and absence from Parliament.”
ACTU boss Sally McManus (pictured) demanded a fine of more than $13,000 from Mr Morrison every week he is absent from Parliament
Mr Morrison said he would deliver a speech on the Quad’s importance in “promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific” and will also attend meetings with Japanese political and business leaders.
“I will hold a series of meetings with Japanese political and business leaders and will have the opportunity, along with other former leaders, to express my condolences on the death of Prime Minister Abe after his assassination,” he said.