Scott Morrison has left Question Time early amid speculation he will soon abandon politics in favor of the private sector.
The former prime minister was reprimanded by the House of Representatives on November 30 over the Minister for Everything scandal.
Parliament condemned him by a vote of 86 to 50 for secretly swearing in five additional ministries in 2020 and 2021.
Apart from a defiant speech defending himself against censorship, Mr Morrison has not spoken in Parliament since his defeat in the May 22 election.
MP Cook left the Chamber just before 3pm on Tuesday, well before Question Time ended at 3.21pm.
Scott Morrison poses in his office after Question Time on Tuesday amid speculation that he will soon retire from politics
MP Cook left the Chamber just before 3pm on Tuesday, well before Question Time ended at 3.21pm
Mr Morrison is believed to have left to prepare for an interview with Australia’s Associated Press, which only began after Question Time had concluded.
He is paid $217,060 a year, the base salary of a backbench, while he is in Parliament.
Sky News reported that “informed sources” believed he would leave politics by the end of the year for a lucrative consultancy job abroad.
Mr Morrison replied that if he had anything to say about his political future, he would do it.
For now, he insisted he was “dutifully doing his job as a local MP and had returned home to The [Sutherland] Shire is looking for a quiet life with his family,” Sky reported.
The Liberal Party stalwart said in another interview over the weekend he was enjoying his time as a backbencher.
“It’s quite liberating,” he said when asked what it’s like to be a backbencher, noting that it’s “tiring” to hold government offices and then be prime minister for a decade.
Liberal Deputy Leader Sussan Ley said she had been friends with Mr Morrison “for many years” but had not heard about his retirement plans.
“He will make a decision in the best interest of himself, his family and the Cook people,” she said.
Reports emerged on Tuesday that “informed sources” believed he would leave politics by the end of the year for a potential consulting job abroad
Mr Morrison stood in the Chamber to vigorously defend his actions as he became the first former Prime Minister to face a House of Representatives motion of no confidence
Speculation about Mr Morrison’s job began almost immediately after his crushing defeat by Anthony Albanese and intensified as the ministerial scandal broke.
He was secretly sworn in as Treasurer and Minister of the Interior; finance; Health; and Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.
None of the Ministers for these departments, except Greg Hunt for Health, were aware that he had secretly doubled their jobs.
Labor claimed its actions had undermined, rejected, attacked and abused the standards expected of parliamentarians and struck at the heart of Australian democracy.
Aside from saying that some (but not all) of the appointments were unnecessary, Mr Morrison vigorously defended his actions during the motion of no confidence and offered no apologies.
“To those who wish to give their verdict today on my actions in support of this motion of censure, I simply suggest that you pause and consider this: have you ever faced a crisis where the prospects were completely unknown?” he said.
Mr Morrison appeared completely undisturbed as he sat in Parliament on November 30 and listened to his peers reprimand him
“Under such circumstances, could you make all decisions perfectly? And where you may have made mistakes, were you lucky that they didn’t have a significant impact on the outcome and the outcome itself turned out to be world-leading?
“Once you’ve looked at your own experience or what happens when you’ve had more government, then you might want to throw the first stone at that point.”
There was such a finality to Mr Morrison’s speech that Environment Secretary Tanya Plibersek predicted he would not even see 2022.
‘Scott Morrison says sorry, not sorry. My prediction – he’ll pull the needle over Christmas. This is his last week,” she wrote on Twitter.
The man once mocked as “Squat Morrison” for taking 13 days to move out of the Kirribilli home after losing the election has so far stayed.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11829081/Scott-Morrison-bails-Question-Time-early-retirement-speculation-mounts.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Scott Morrison jumps early into Question Time as speculation over retirement mounts