‘Extremely grateful’ former PM Morrison quits politics

Kat Wong, Andrew Brown and Tess Ikonomou |

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his resignation from politics.
Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced his resignation from politics.

Former prime minister Scott Morrison has announced he will resign from politics for a job in the corporate sector.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Morrison confirmed he will leave federal parliament at the end of February.

“It has been my great privilege to represent the wonderful people of Cook for more than sixteen years in our federal parliament,” he said.

“The decision to leave is always a difficult one when you have been doing something you love and feel passionate about.

Scott Morrison and his family.
Scott Morrison says the timing is right for a new season with his family and fresh challenges. (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

“However, I believe the timing is now right to move on to a new season with my family and take on fresh challenges.”

Mr Morrison wrote on social media he remained “extremely grateful” to his family, friends, and local community for their support.

“That has enabled me to serve my country at the highest level and make Australia a stronger, more secure and more prosperous country,” he said.

Mr Morrison served as Australia’s 30th prime minister from 2018 until May 2022, when his coalition government lost the federal election, and he later moved to the backbench.

His resignation will trigger a by-election in the southern Sydney electorate of Cook.

“By giving advance notice of my intention to leave parliament at the end of February, this will give my party ample time to select a great new candidate who I know will do what’s best for our community and bring fresh energy and commitment to the job,” Mr Morrison said.

Scott Morrison.
Scott Morrison is a big wearer of baseball caps and an avid supporter of the Cronulla Sharks. (David Mariuz/AAP PHOTOS)

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton paid tribute to Mr Morrison who presided over “some of the most difficult challenges an Australian prime minister has known since the Second World War”.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will be able to reflect on Scott’s broader legacy,” he said.

“But on the announcement of his retirement today – and on behalf of the Coalition – I want to thank Scott Morrison for his service to our nation, for his dedication to  the Liberal Party, and for his personal friendship.”

First elected as the representative for the NSW seat of Cook in 2007, Mr Morrison’s term, and the period shortly thereafter, has been plagued with controversy.

A mural of Scott Morrison among flames.
Scott Morrison’s handling of a bushfire crisis was widely criticised and tarnished his reputation. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

He drew criticism during the 2019 Black Summer bushfires when he flew to Hawaii for a family holiday, later saying “I don’t hold a hose mate”. 

His government’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic won plaudits but was later condemned for its slow vaccine rollout and shortage of rapid antigen tests.

In August 2022, it was revealed Mr Morrison had secretly appointed himself minister of health, home affairs, treasury, industry and finance at various times during the pandemic.

That led to him becoming the first former prime minister to be censured by the House of Representatives in 2022.

Before his run as prime minister, Mr Morrison was appointed immigration minister and he and then prime minister Tony Abbott launched Operation Sovereign Borders, known as the “stop the boats” policy.

He also served as the social services minister from 2014, where he helped establish the robodebt scheme, which issued hundreds of thousands of incorrect debt notices to low-income Australians.

Mr Morrison was found by a royal commission to have misled cabinet about robodebt.

Under then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Morrison was appointed treasurer before taking the top job in a 2018 leadership spill.

Before his parliamentary career, Mr Morrison was the State Director of the NSW Liberal Party between 2000-2004.

The NSW Liberal Party said Mr Morrison had served the nation with distinction.

“Scott had been a committed servant of the Liberal Party, and after a successful career in public service we wish him all the best for his post-politics endeavours,” the statement reads.