Scott Morrison and Australia’s Lobby Complex
The former Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has been somewhat of an absentee in the Federal seat of Cook. Since losing the May 2022 election, he has been aggressively chasing up contacts and deals on the consultancy circuit, bellyaching about the usual talking points: the gruesome China menace; defence matters; and, just to round it off for good measure, additional iterations of the China menace.
In March, he proved particularly jingoistic, telling Sky News Australia that Canberra needed, not only its “own capability” but “the interlocking alignments and alliances that actually provide the counterbalance to the threat.” This was code for a further renting of Australian sovereignty, a concept that has become increasingly irrelevant.
Morrison’s movement to the world of the consultant-lobbyist is a seamless one, unsurprising given his innate incapacity to understand the broader public interest. It is even questionable whether he ever left that cosmos, being very much a colluder and conniver in murky, unaccountable transactions forged in a “mates” world.
From the other side of the policy aisle, he engaged the Liberal Party lobby firm Crosby Textor in 2005 during his disastrous stint as director of Tourism Australia. Crosby Textor also gained much during Morrison’s prime ministership, having its advisors, including Yaron Finkelstein, posted to positions in the Prime Minister’s office. For Finkelstein, access to the PM was plum and exclusive.
If recent reports are correct, Morrison is staying true to form, heading to work for a UK business with ties to the defence sector. As one source put it, “He won’t go until it is locked in but it is fair to say he is actively seeking life after politics.” That same source also revealed that the defence business was involved in “the AUKUS space”.
When asked to comment on the issue, the habitually mendacious MP for Cook claimed to be “very engaged with things in my local electorate and enjoying being back in my local community.” Such enjoyment was evidently being shared alongside his role as advisory board member for the US-based Hudson Institute’s China Centre, a position he was appointed to in December last year.
The latest revelations, if true, make it a splendid state of affairs for a figure seen as essential in – history will reveal how much in due course – in brokering the grotesquely indulgent, needless AUKUS security pact.
As the Saturday Paper rightly points out, Morrison is not “going to the other side”. He had “always been a shill for corporate interests. His approach to defence was always about his fortunes, not his country’s.” Accordingly, his relations with the defence industry, even as Prime Minister, evinced a shameless sense of planning for the future, when the gold-plated lobbyist door would be flung open.
Morrison’s behaviour is merely emblematic of the broader problem of lobbyists and their location at the heart of Australian politics. As practitioners of a craft often shrouded in secrecy, they sell their services in order to woo and convince the political classes about their merits. A minister new to the portfolio can be particularly susceptible, reaching out beyond the pool of expertise within the department. This can be a hazardous enterprise: no longer is one seeking advice delivered without fear or favour by a public servant, but by one most happy to pursue a naked agenda.
In 2021-22, the Morrison government spent $20.8 billion on consultants and outsourced services amounting to some 37% of the entire workforce. The Australian public service audit of employment found that the equivalent of nearly 54,000 full time staff were employed in that capacity.
The lobbying code of conduct, the register of lobbyists, and the ministerial code of conduct have done little to overcome these pressing problems in Canberra. Senior ministers have found it irresistible to toss a few gobbets of information towards their friends and acquaintances on how best their consultancy firms might acquire government contracts. The outgoing MP and shadow assistant treasurer, Stuart Robert, was a stellar example.
As for Morrison himself, he has a mere six months to go in satisfying the ludicrous 18-month grace period before lobbying on issues connected with his former portfolio of interests. Given that he secretly got himself appointed to numerous portfolios other than his own, the list is extensive. The time, however, is woefully inadequate, and does nothing to dispel any conflict of interest.
The ministerial code of conduct also requires former ministers to “not take personal advantage of information to which they have had access as a minister, where the information is not generally available to the public.” This is an unenforceable, and essentially dead letter. To Clancy Moore, the chief executive of Transparency International Australia, the code remains “effectively a toothless tiger”.
A few suggestions have been made to correct these maladies of the ailing democratic process. Appointment diaries of elected representatives and senior bureaucrats, as a start, can be made open to the voter. This is certainly the view of barrister and spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance Greg Barns, and it is a sensible one. But short of adding fangs to any measure, the heated and busy revolving door of Australian politics and the private sector will continue to spin. Morrison can be assured of prancing out with impunity in “the AUKUS space”.
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personally, if some dipstick organisation wants to throw money away for shits like morrison and abbott, i dont care. They are throwing money away and i hope they go bust.
What i find dangerous is these clowns have had access to confidential government information. What i also find disgusting is their pension entitlements are way way beyond what ordinary folk have. Do they have any problems feeding themselves at the trough?
As an aside, if the world was fair, these clowns wouldnt even get a job shovelling shit. No doubt Roberts will follow Morrison, they have just been waiting to catch a gravy train. Who in their right mind would employ these guys anyway?
The most disgusting, defective, inadequate, untrustworthy, self fixated, substandard, lowerthanabugsbotty boofhead in Australia’s political history now wants extra money from foreigners. Extinction and oblivion are suitable,, not employment in the graft and corruption chain. Everyone, every official, must ignore this reeking brown extruded log of larcenous lying lubricity.
Another clinically mendacious ex COALition clown, Barnaby Joyce, is currently busy shoring up some post-wilderness relevance and his chances of a comfy after-politics situation by slowly throttling the Winterbourne Wind Farm development at Walcha.
That he must divide his community in the process is of little concern to a man for whom betrayal has become second nature.
(Accidentally posted elsewhere on this site, with apologies.)
A Snake is a Snake does not matter which way it moves
There is adequate evidence to demonstrate that Scummo the Self-Serving of the Secret Seven Ministries given ROYAL facilitation by gg David Hurley of the Henley Rowing Regatta et al on behalf of Charlie Chuckles, has eyes only for his own pecuniary interests.
Perhaps it is time for a group of lawyers to determine whether Scummo can be indicted for treason for his actions and plans against the best interests of Australian voters.
Snakes only bite humans when cornered, handled, or badly startled. Their usual response to something inedible is to slither away. They do not deserve the comparison to ScoMoFo, Roberts, Joyce, et al.
Well, he’s been sacked from every major job he’s had. One wonders how long he’ll last in the new one. At least we will be (more or less) free of his crap for a while.
and the good news is that following the mass exodus of so many in the liberal party, we now have stewie and scotty taking to a leaky life boat
the sooner the better
just as long as they can be found when the federal ICAC finally starts its’ inquiries
Sorry folks, intended to post link only, all thumbs today…
No apology necessary, frances. It’s your contribution that we appreciate, thumbs included.
leefe, given the imperative of due diligence as a precursor to employment in any position higher than a garbo these days, with no disrespect to folk who work in that vital profession, it’s surprising that anyone, anywhere, would consider Morrison for any type of post-political employment, RWNJ or military lobbyist firms perhaps being the exception, where he’d be a reasonably comfortable fit amid the similarly deluded. Or perhaps a Pastor Scott role awaits among one of the increasingly on-the-nose Hillsong franchises, preferably in the States where this kind of religious chicanery finds its most comfortable niche.
In passing, I’d like to add, ‘won’t someone think of the children?’ I shudder to contemplate the psychological burden of being saddled with that mendacious carpetbagger as a father.
That’s very kind of you, Roswell…appreciated by newbie getting to know ropes! 🙂
The world may appear to be in a bit of a mess, but it would seem that the most lucrative, and rewarding avenues seem to be in the “defense/attack” field. Bringing on the next bit of biffo.
Who wants to fix the climate, cure cancer, or do anything the least bit of benefit to society?
It`s easy to see that the future lies in submarines, tanks, bombers, blowing stuff up and scarring the population shitless.
Morrison may be a bit stupid, but he follows the money.
Douglas, thats a fine turn of phrase, “Morrison may be a bit stupid, but …….” hahahaha Morrison fancies himself as an expert in advertising and defence. Well clearly he has failed in all his endevours so why shouldnt this one turn out equally as shit. Besides can you imagine the conversation of Albanese with Scotty? ” Scotty, go fuck yourself”. hahahahaha. I dont see it lasting.
Morrison the crooked bastard shoud be in jail, he & his mob were traitors against the hard toiling people of Australia. Perhaps he is better considered as a maggot, and no longer permitted to dwell in and feed from the body of Australia.
Williambtm, not to be too picky but maggots actually do good work as an essential part of the recycling process that Mother Nature requires, and it’s hard to see what Morrison ever did that was good for the body of Australia. Preferentially, I’d call him a parasite of the most malevolent kind.. as in cryptic ,- even his Daggy Dad schtick was a put on for personal gain – devious, destructive,ruthless in the sense of personal ambition for the sake of it, survival at any cost. Parasitic to a ‘T’. Apart from the maggot simile, spot on with your observations.