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Why is Scott Morrison remaining in the Parliament?

The answer to my headline will be revealed a little later, or it may not, depending on how you digest what l am suggesting.

Tony Abbott stayed on after being rolled by Turnbull. Rudd did so when Gillard successfully challenged. Both were motivated by the possibility of regaining power. Abbott didn’t and became a hindrance to Turnbull, but Rudd did and became Prime Minister for a second time.

So, what could be Morrison’s motivation for staying on? Perhaps his ego is telling him to be patient for another opportunity. Maybe he believes God’s will is for him to fulfil his destiny. Maybe there is another reason. Maybe it’s for the money (though I’m not suggesting it is).

In May, the Australian Associated Press fact-check reported that Morrison’s yearly salary was $549,250.

But that was while he was prime minister. But:

As of 2019, the annual base salary of a member of the federal Parliament in Australia is $211,250 per annum. Parliament House, which is what Morrison will receive as long as he stays in Parliament (provided he doesn’t become a shadow minister).

That’s plus expenses which can be very lucrative. (Writing for Yahoo Finance, Eliza Bavin puts it at $300,000 PA.)

“Now, let’s discuss the parliamentary pension for when Morrison finally decided to exit.

When Tony Abbot departed in 2019, the Sydney Morning Herald reported he would receive 6.5 per cent of the base parliamentary salary (now $211,250) for time spent as an MP and 6.5 per cent of the PM salary (now $549,250) multiplied by the years spent in each job respectively. This figure is then multiplied by 75 per cent of that total, giving a slightly smaller number.

If we do some similar maths for Morrison for the time spent as a Minister, Prime Minister and regular MP, the total comes to about $200,000 annually.”

It’s not a lousy superannuation package; whatever way you look at it, think about all the perks that go with it. Free travel, an office with a personal secretary. Labor has promised to have a Royal Commission with terms of reference up and running before Christmas.

But could there be another reason for him staying on? Yes, there could be, and its name is Robodebt.

The terms of reference could include the following:

  1. To establish who was responsible for establishing Robodebt scheme.
  2. To establish what advice and what process or processes informed the design and implementation of the Robodebt scheme.
  3. To investigate the handling of complaints about the Robodebt scheme – including in relation to the scheme’s legality – by Services Australia, the Department of Human Services, other relevant Commonwealth agencies and Ministers.
  4. To determine how much the implementation, suspension and wind-back of the Robodebt scheme cost taxpayers.
  5. To investigate the harm caused to law-abiding Australians by the Robodebt scheme.
  6. To investigate the use of third-party debt collectors under the Robodebt scheme.

The Australian (firewalled) described Robodebt as:

“… the worst example of maladministration and callous indifference since the Coalition took office, but the PM won’t be held to account.”

In fact, it’s much worse than that; it is possibly the most callous scheme ever devised by a political party in Australian political history. And further to that, Scott Morrison’s fingerprints are all over it. It has been alleged (repeat, alleged) that Morrison told the department to continue even after being told that the scheme was illegal.

Image from Graham Perrett MP (Facebook)

When the unlawful scheme was conceived, Mr Morrison was social services minister and continued the welfare debt recovery program as prime minister and even underpinned a return to surplus on a projected windfall.

And if that were the case, then it would be better in Morrison’s defence to give legal evidence as an MP and former Prime Minister than as a private citizen. There would be protection in doing so in the event that some pro bono work is required at a later date.

The former Government unfailingly did all it could to cover up and obstruct enquiries into the origins of Robodebt and has consistently refused to take responsibility for the damage it caused, including the real possibility that many people committed suicide.

Eventually, after Labor helped instigate a class action, the Government caved in, and a $1.8 billion settlement was made to repay the scheme’s victims. The offer saved Morrison, Roberts and Porter from appearing in the witness box. However, now that we have a Royal Commission. People will have to front up and tell the truth.

Who was responsible for establishing the scheme? Why did the Commonwealth “unlawfully claim nearly $2 billion in debts from 433,000 people?”

This highly:

“… illegal and immoral Robodebt scheme caused serious harm to many Australian families – who have reported that this contributed to stress, anxiety, financial destitution and even suicide.”

In April of this year, the then Opposition Leader Anthony told the ABC that Robodebt was a “human tragedy.”

“Against all evidence, and all the outcry, the government insisted on using algorithms instead of people to pursue debt-recovery against Australians who, in many cases, had no debt to pay,” Mr Albanese said.

“It caused untold misery.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded, telling the ABC that:

“The problem has been addressed” when asked if the Coalition planned to hold inquiries into the program.

“There have been numerous inquiries into this and there’s been court matters which we’ve fully cooperated in and almost $750 million in response to that,” Mr Morrison said.

“And the changes in the scheme have been in place.

“So the problem has been addressed, but any such inquiry, I imagine, would have to start with the process of income assessment, averaging of income, which was introduced by the Labor Party.”

Why did the Government undertake Robodebt when there were significant questions about its legality? We now know that this was Scott Morrison’s scheme; he was the Social Services Minister at the time of the 2016 election when he proudly boasted it would pump billions into the budget bottom line.

John Howard told Tony Abbott that he would be opening a can of worms with his Pink Batts and Julia Gillard Royal Commissions, and it has turned out that way. There is an immediate call for them at the mere whiff of a scandal, but this is profoundly different. It has the stench of Morrison written all over it.

Robodebt has unnecessarily inflicted unwanted anguish and mental stress on those susceptible to it. We may never know the number of suicides caused by the receipt of automatically generated debt letters, but we need to know the truth. So, the case for a judicial inquiry into this debacle is irresistible. It would be able to examine not only the issue of what was known about the unlawfulness of the scheme but the “human cost” of it, plus the Government’s “use of private debt collectors” to pursue victims.

Do you shape the truth for the sake of a good impression? On the other hand, do you tell the truth even if it may tear down people’s view of you? Alternatively, do you simply use the contrivance of omission and create another lie. I can only conclude that there is always pain in truth, but there is no harm in it.

My previous post: The one that the Murdoch media got horribly wrong.

My thought for the day

Time doesn’t diminish the crime.

 

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23 comments

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  1. Terence Mills

    Morrison tried to change the Liberal Party to something resembling a pentecostal revival meeting : he wrecked the Liberal Party branch structure in New South Wales just to get his hand-chosen acolytes into our parliament. He made Australia a mean and nasty country and he told lies to us and to world leaders.

    Morrison and Stuart Robert got down on their knees to pray for Turnbull’s downfall and they saw that as a divine signal for the coming of Scott Morrison – he was not, as it turns out, the messiah just a very naughty boy.

    This man has no place in politics in this country, he should just go – I hear that Hillsong are looking for a spruiker !

  2. happy clapper

    Good question, why is Stomo staying silent? Answer: there is a god 🙂

  3. Patricia

    I would have thought that John Lord would know more about the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme, commonly known and the Defined Benefits Superannuation Scheme.

    From the 2004 federal election all new parliamentarians were not able to access this scheme. Morrison was elected in 2007 and as such he has had paid into his nominated superannuation fund the amount of 15.4% of his salary, just like other commonwealth workers.

    Morrison does not get a $200K pension for life, he gets the usual perks for a former PM though, Office, staff, office supplies, phone, car expenses, travel etc.

    Someone of John’s standing who still writes of politicians getting a life time pension when they were elected is perpetuating the myth that the defined benefits scheme is still in action, and it is for those who were elected prior to the 2004 election. By the same token those who were in the DBS contributed, hence why they all it a contributory scheme. They contributed 11.5% of their salary for the first 18 years and 5.75% every year after that.

  4. Kathryn

    Why is Morrison STILL desperately hanging on in Parliament like a pathetic little limpet?

    Answer: Because the non-achieving, bone-idle pathological liar, Sloth Morrison KNOWS what WE all know and that is he is completely UNEMPLOYABLE out in the REAL world! The unimaginative, talentless, chest-beating, self-promoting bully, Morrison, was dismissed or “mysteriously” let go from just about every job he failed to hold down before he rose to autocratic power to become the worst, most corrupt and destructive PM in living memory! Everything Morrison and his dysfunctional cabinet of skirt-lifting misogynists, callously inhumane sociopaths, prosperity-seeking miscreants and sanctimonious bible-thumping hypocrites touched turned to chaos in rapid time; everything the Abbott/Morrison regimes said was a self-serving bald-faced lie and NOTHING they did EVER achieved a single thing to benefit ANYONE except themselves and their non-taxpaying billionaire donors in the Top 1%.

    If you have a long, hard look at the sad, elitist and corrupt history of the LNP (going back decades), it soon becomes clear that the LNP have NEVER EVER achieved a single thing that could be described as altruistic or that would provide benefit to the lives of ordinary working- or middle-class Australians. The horrendous fallacy that the incompetent, profit-obsessed yobbos in the LNP are better economic managers was, and still is, the GREATEST most OUTRAGEOUS LIE ever forced down the throats of gullible, Murdoch-manipulated fools who have been taken in by this wretched piece of right-wing propaganda for decades! The TRUTH is that the best economic Treasurers in our history were Paul Keating and Wayne Swan! Even the IMF (the world-respected International Monetary Fund) have confirmed that the absolute WORST economic waste came under the Howard/Costello regime after they spent countless BILLIONS on a politically-motivated and illegal invasion of Iraq that caused the death and displacement of countless millions of innocent people throughout Iraq and Syria!

    Morrison represents the very worst the LNP can offer: Greed, pompous hypocrisy, self-serving corruption and an insufferable arrogance that sees their rise to power through lies, treachery and betrayal of anyone standing in their way (including their OWN colleagues) as a God-given right to satiate their born-to-rule entitlement!

    Morrison will continue to cling on and on at taxpayers’ expense until he is forcibly removed and bodily dragged out of Parliament House a sight which would be a fitting end to his malignant career as one of the most reprehensible politicians in our history.

  5. David Evans

    Simpler explanation, morrison knows he would be unemployable in the Real World, and he is basicly just a bludger. He owes the country a great deal more than the country owes him. IMHO a life sentence would be too lenient.

  6. wam

    Why is a religious nutter like Kevin andrews still in Canberra?
    Ego is not a dirty word to them?

  7. Kaye Lee

    Kevin Andrews was dumped at preselection. The new Liberal candidate won Menzies by less than 350 votes.

  8. Phil Pryor

    Morrison is a grub, only good enough at grubbery, would fail privately as shown before, could not be seen publically in lobbying, yet has a future earning level of envy to us, with car, office, staff. He might make a decent cell inmate, yes…and may he rot for his sins.

  9. Henry Rodrigues

    Follow the money !! Scummo is useless accessory unemployable and unrepentant. Does any company or corporation, even amongst his fossil fuel circle or aquaintences, want him in their ranks, drawing a salary ? But as back bencher taking home $ 200,000 and lenghtening his period as an MP, with consequently higher pension etc. but still achieving bugger all, just bludging off the taxpayer, seems just the lurk and perk he is accustomed to. The church of grifters have take a lot of responsibility for this creep.

  10. Bert

    The moron won’t leave as he’s unemployable outside parliament plus he won’t be able to access his super until he’s 67 or 68. Might even have to be older as retirement age changes with year of birth.

  11. Mr Shevill Mathers

    He can remain as a back bencher and get paid for doing nothing, plus whatever lurks & perks they all enjoy, boozy lunches included.
    Where in the private sector would he enjoy such benefits? In it because he is lazy, lacking any positive-creative thinking, but it is easy money. He is good at wearing a Hi-Viz jacket & hard hat and able to spruik like a circus salesman (sorry circus performers). His successor is just as bad but in other ways and he will ensure that the ‘Indifference LNP Party will remain in the wilderness for a very long time.

  12. Keitha Granville

    Why? because he has been elected by the voters for another term. I am always furious with MPs who jump as soon as their party loses power, therefore making their bid for election a fraud. I reckon they should stay until the next vote and THEN step down.
    Any MPs who leave should have their seat filled by the candidate next on the ballot. That’d slow a few leavers down, cos it’d be handing a seat to the other side mostly.

    Ex PMs should NEVER be eligible to lead again.

  13. Albos Elbow

    Scummo, Comander Voldemort Potato Head and the Ex-Minister for Burning Fossil Fuels don’t give a shit and will live quite comfortably for the rest of their lives on the millions and millions in corruption money they got for delaying the transition to renewable energy in Australia by more than a decade.

  14. Michael Taylor

    I’ve never thought that Scott Morrison is in Parliament to represent his electorate, or his party for that matter. I’ve always seen him as a politician whose prime motive is to represent himself.

    Replace “What can I gain for my electorate?” with “What can I gain for myself?”

  15. Max Gross

    Criminal extortion racket perpetrated by Morrison and his cronies. Heads. Must. Roll.

  16. pierre wilkinson

    between the federal ICAC and the Royal Commission Scotty will have a lot of questions to answer…
    brown paper bags full of defense funds or parliament appointed lawyers notwithstanding, it could cost him …
    and as all other commentators have declared, who would have him?
    to paraphrase scotty re: Christine Holgate
    “He Should Go Mr Speaker”
    but he won’t

  17. leefe

    Because it beats working for a living.

  18. wam

    Thanks Kaye I was happy about andrews getting dumped but had a late night brainsnap and remembered we were the first ‘right to die and andrews xstian beliefs took it away and now we still don’t have it when everyone else in Australia does.

  19. Harry Lime

    Timely reminder Wam,my brother in law and friend exercised that right here in Victoria at noon on Wednesday,with his grandchildren singing him out (He had wrestled with MND for six and a half years).It was an uplifting experience,but with religious dinosaurs like Andrews,just another reminder of the drag these bastards are on our country.Fester Dutton promises to be just as bad,but I reckon they’re terminal.As for the Liar,he’s just scratching around for the next victim.

  20. Cool Pete

    In response to Keitha Granville, yes, he is there because he was re-elected to the seat of Cook, but let’s not forget that Kevin Rudd retired as an MP, necessitating a by-election, in 2014, which saw Terri Butler elected to Griffith. Similarly, Malcolm Turnbull retired as an MP after losing the leadership and said that former PMs are better off out of Parliament. I can understand why people are angry if they re-elect the serving PM as their sitting member and the party they lead loses government and they resign, however, I can also understand it from a leader’s point of view, because they will be reminded constantly that they lead the party to a disastrous defeat.
    Eliza Bavin, however, is being generous by saying, “When Botty departed.” Botty didn’t depart Parliament voluntarily, he was voted out by the electorate of Warringah, who’d had enough of him.
    For all the talk of the Pink Batts (it actually wasn’t Pink Batts that killed them, it was tin foil insulation), and the waste of money of a Royal Commission into Julia Gillard, which ironically, for Botty, exonerated her and revealed nothing we didn’t already know, Robodebt suicides have been responsible for more deaths than the Pink Batts Scheme, AND, so have the number of deaths of asylum seekers. What needs to be remembered, in some deaths (at least one) of asylum seekers, it was NOT like the case of a seemingly healthy 30 year old who turns up at the hospital complaining of chest pain who is seen by a junior doctor without supervision, who says, “Look, it’s probably indigestion. Go home and take some Mylanta or Gaviscon, and you’ll be fine,” and six hours later, that 30 year old dies of a heart attack; the doctors said, and the coroner, in at least one case ruled, that, a) the patient needed to be transferred to the mainland, and, b) had this been done, and the asylum seeker attended to in a mainland hospital, their death would have been preventable!

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    It could be the women of three generations who find they like him being away from home most of the time. Here is one PM, like Abbott, who won’t see anyone rushing to give him a job; unlike Abbott, now Downer, I can’t see him haunting the UK & Europe.

  22. GL

    12 – 18 months down the track and he’ll make a run at trying to stab the Spudinator in the back and take over again. Plus the 3k+ a week isn’t to be sneezed at.

  23. David Ruston

    Is Morrison remaining in parliament in order to have his legal expenses paid for? Will he use Parliamentary Discretion not to answer any questions at a Royal Commission or a Federal ICAC? Perhaps he took all of the evidence against him home to Kirrabilli and that’s why it took him so long to move out. Will he just stay as a back bencher, contribute nothing and collect his pay and entitlements each week and ignore any move to kick him out? Silent but deadly springs to mind.

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