Scott Morrison (politician)

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The Honourable
Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison.jpg
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Preceded by Tony Burke
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Cook
Assumed office
24 November 2007
Preceded by Bruce Baird
Personal details
Born Scott John Morrison
(1968-05-13) 13 May 1968 (age 46)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party
Residence Lilli Pilli, New South Wales
Alma mater University of New South Wales
Occupation Politician
Profession Marketing, Tourism, Property, Politics

Scott John Morrison (born 13 May 1968) is a member of the Australian House of Representatives and a member of the Liberal Party. He was elected in the 2007 Australian federal election to the Division of Cook, an electorate in the southern suburbs of Sydney, which include Cronulla, Caringbah, and Miranda.

His role as the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection[1] has been controversial while implementing Operation Sovereign Borders to deter asylum seekers. Morrison and his colleagues have been referred to the International Criminal Court for 'crimes against humanity',[2] potentially breaching the Refugee Convention and the Convention on the Rights of the Child - allegations also asserted in a joint statement from 53 Australian legal scholars.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Scott Morrison grew up in Bronte, eastern Sydney. His father was a policeman and his mother worked in various administrative jobs. Outside their day jobs, Morrison's parents ran youth programs for the local church. His father was also involved in aged care and served as a local councillor for 16 years.

Morrison was educated at Sydney Boys High School, where he completed his Higher School Certificate, and other state schools. He then went on to the University of New South Wales, where he received an honours degree in Applied Science, studying economics and geography.

Pre-political career[edit]

Before entering Parliament, Morrison was the Managing Director of Tourism Australia[4] and NSW State Director of the Liberal Party of Australia from 2000-2004. Prior to this, he served in senior executive roles in the tourism and property sector in Australia and New Zealand, including the Property Council of Australia and the Tourism and Transport Forum.

Political career[edit]

Morrison sought Liberal preselection for the Division of Cook in the 2007 election following the retirement of Bruce Baird, who served as the Member since 1998. He lost in the ballot 82 votes to 8 to Michael Towke, a telecommunications engineer and the candidate of the Liberals' right faction.[5] However, allegations surfaced that Towke had engaged in branch stacking and embellished his resume.[6] The state executive of the New South Wales Liberal Party disendorsed Towke and held a new preselection ballot, which Morrison won. The allegations against Towke were subsequently proved to be false, and The Daily Telegraph was forced to pay an undisclosed amount to settle a defamation suit filed by Towke.[5]

In September 2008, Scott was appointed as a member of Malcolm Turnbull's coalition frontbench as Shadow Minister for Housing and Local Government.

Morrison has served on parliamentary committees, including Deputy Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, House Committee on Economics, House Committee on Families, Community and Housing, and House Committee on Health and Ageing. He has also served on Coalition's Policy Committees on Social Policy, Education and Industrial Relations and Legal and Immigration issues as well as the Party Leader's Taskforces on Party Reform and Reform of Federalism.

On 8 December 2009, Morrison became Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, coming into the cabinet for the first time during Tony Abbott's first cabinet reshuffle shortly after winning leadership. He served on the Shadow Cabinet Committee on Border Protection. Abbott described Morrison as "a great talent who was one of the bright new stars of the new generation of MPs."[7]

In December 2010, 48 asylum seekers died in the Christmas Island boat disaster.[8] On 15 February 2011, Morrison caused controversy[9] when he publicly questioned[10] the decision of the Gillard federal Labor government to pay for relatives of the victims to travel to funerals in Sydney. After fellow Liberal and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey denounced Morrison's statements,[11] Morrison said that the timing of his comments was insensitive,[12] but did not back away from the comments themselves.

In February 2013, Morrison was accused of vilifying asylum seekers with his hard-line reaction to a Sri Lankan man living in Sydney on a bridging visa being charged with the sexual assault of a university student.[13] He said that the police should be notified of where asylum-seekers are living in the community if any antisocial behaviour occurred, and that there should be strict guidelines for the behaviour of those currently on bridging visas while they await the determination of their claims. The new code of conduct was released by the immigration minister for more than 20,000 irregular maritime arrivals living in the community on bridging visas. In December 2013 the Government revealed the rule that requires asylum seekers who arrive by boat and are in Australia on temporary visas to sign this code of conduct.[14][15] He has defended the use of the term "illegal arrivals" to describe asylum seekers and he has earlier said asylum seekers have been referred to as "illegal arrivals" who "turn up illegally" on "illegal boats". He further said that "I've always referred to illegal entry" - as opposed to claiming asylum, which is legal - commenting, "I've never claimed that it's illegal to claim asylum."[16][17]

On 18 September 2013, Morrison launched Operation Sovereign Borders, the newly elected Coalition Government strategy aimed at stopping unauthorised boats departing for Australia.[18] The practice has been controversial as it violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child[19] and Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.[20]

In February 2014 Scott Morrison was accused of "bungling"[21] and "desperate cover ups"[22] over the release of information about the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati on Manus Island. Initially Morrison had claimed that Barati was outside the boundaries of the detention centre when he was killed. Morrison subsequently retracted that claim following reports confirming that Barati was in fact murdered inside the detention centre, and therefore whilst under his duty of care as Minister of Immigration.[22]

In September 2014, another Iranian asylum seeker, Hamid Kehazaei, was pronounced brain dead as a result of severe septicaemia, a disease that kills 1200 Australians every year,[23] after reportedly seeking treatment on Manus Island for days.[24] Scott Morrison's policies and perceived negligence have been the focus of numerous protests against conditions in detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.[25]


  1. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "Asylum seekers: Andrew Wilkie takes Australia to international criminal court". The Guardian Australia. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Australian State and Federal Elections". The Poll Bludger. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Sheehan, Paul. Nasty saga you nearly missed. The Sydney Morning Herald, 2009-10-26.
  6. ^ Liberal Party disendorses Michael Towke. PM (ABC News), 2007-08-03.
  7. ^ Maiden, Samantha (8 December 2009). "Abbott gives fresh start -". Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Authorities: Death toll up to 48 in Christmas Island shipwreck". CNN. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2013. 
  9. ^ Hartcher, Peter (19 February 2011). "Ugly game of race baiting". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Coorey, Phillip; Needham, Kirsty (16 February 2011). "Hockey calls for compassion in funeral row". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ "Coalition calls for asylum housing review". Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  14. ^ "Refugees caught swearing could be sent back to warzones". smh. 2 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Scott Morrison's new rules put asylum seekers on notice to behave". smh. 21 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  16. ^ "Immigration Minister Scott Morrison defends use of term 'illegal arrivals', plays down PNG police incident". smh. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  17. ^ "Scott Morrison correct on 'illegal entry' of people without a visa". smh. 13 September 2013. Retrieved 13 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Cowie, Thea (2013-09-18). "Coalition launches Operation Sovereign Borders". SBS News. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Peer, Sophie (2014-07-03). "A child will die in immigration detention unless the system changes". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  20. ^ Laughland, Oliver (2014-07-03). "UN: 'profound concern' at Australia's handling of Tamil asylum seekers". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  21. ^ "Tony Abbott defends Scott Morrison's bungled information on Manus Island violence". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Scott Morrison admits information he gave on Manus riot was wrong". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  23. ^ Burke, Latika (September 8, 2014). "Hamid Kehazaei treated as death in custody". Fairfax (SMH). Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  24. ^ "Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei brain dead in Brisbane hospital: Refugee Action Coalition". ABC News. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  25. ^ "Why I prayed for asylum seekers in Scott Morrison's office". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Bruce Baird
Member for Cook
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Burke
as Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection