Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison bids farewell to politics with parting warning

Feb 28, 2024
As Morrison steps away from politics, his journey is marked by a mix of successes, challenges, and controversies, leaving a complex legacy in Australian political history. Source: Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bid farewell to the Federal Parliament with an emotionally charged address, expressing no bitterness but acknowledging the numerous scars acquired during his tenure.

“I leave this place not as one of those timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat, I leave having given all in that arena and there are plenty of scars to show for it,” he told parliament on Tuesday, February 27.

While emphasising the importance of politics in service, Morrison cautioned against using it as a surrogate for finding one’s identity and life’s ultimate meaning. He urged consideration of alternative paths beyond the political realm.

“While politics may be an important and necessary place for service, I would also warn against it being a surrogate for finding identity, ultimate meaning and purpose in life,” he said.

“There are far better options than politics.”

He paid tribute to his parliamentary staff and party colleagues, public servants for their work during the COVID pandemic, as well as his protection team, singling out officers who were injured in a car crash in Tasmania during the 2022 election.

Addressing economic concerns, Morrison issued a stern warning against the “reinstitutionalisation” of the economy. Furthermore, he sounded a vigilant note on strategic competition and China, urging against complacency amid shifting tactics.

“The 2022 election may have provided an opportunity for Beijing to step back from their failed attempts at coercion, but we must not be deluded,” he said.

“Tactics change but their strategy remains the same. We’re not alone in waking up to this threat.”

Responding to Morrison’s departure, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese lauded him as a “formidable opponent” and expressed appreciation for his leadership during the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, which he deemed a “once-in-a-century” crisis.

“This was an unprecedented time. It was a time of real anxiety amongst so many Australians,” Albanese said.

“I don’t doubt that everyone at that time had good intentions. Not everything was perfect, but today’s not a day to dwell on that.”

A visibly moved Opposition Leader Peter Dutton paid tribute to Morrison’s unwavering commitment to family, extending sincere wishes for his well-deserved success in the future.

“I wish you every success that you deserve into the future,” he said.

Entering politics in 2007, Morrison climbed the ranks, becoming the Immigration Minister in 2013 with a focus on Operation Sovereign Borders.

Progressing swiftly, he took on the role of Social Services Minister in late 2014 and, a year later, became the Treasurer under Malcolm Turnbull. Eventually, he claimed the top office.

In a strategic move, Morrison ousted Turnbull from the prime ministership after winning against Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop in a leadership spill initiated by Dutton.

While in office, Morrison faced criticism for taking a highly-publicised holiday to Hawaii during the 2019/20 bushfires. Despite this, he led Australia through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, establishing a national cabinet for crisis management.

Following his election loss, Morrison drew attention for allocating himself control of five additional ministerial portfolios without his colleagues’ knowledge, raising governance concerns.

In July 2023, Morrison faced unfavorable findings in the Robodebt Royal Commission, maintaining his innocence.

One of his significant achievements was his role in crafting the AUKUS trilateral defense pact with the United States and the United Kingdom.

As Morrison steps away from politics, his journey is marked by a mix of successes, challenges, and controversies, leaving a complex legacy in Australian political history.

-with AAP.

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