Former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison is jet-setting around the world in business class and private jets to stoke tensions in geopolitical hotspots.
His latest junket was to Israel on 4-5 November with fellow has-been Boris Johnson, where he voiced strong opposition to calls for a ceasefire to the bombing campaign that has killed thousands of children in Gaza.
Given that Australian citizens pay him as the Member for Cook, they have the right to know: how much Morrison is being paid to fly around the world like this, who is paying, and why?
Scott Morrison’s disclosures to Parliament’s Register of Members’ Interests shows that in the last year he has taken the following, foreign-funded trips:
- 4-11 December 2022—Washington DC, return business class airfare, accommodation and incidentals paid by the International Democratic Union.
- 16-18 February 2023—Japan, return business class airfare, accommodation and incidentals paid by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.
- 3 July 2023—London, return business class airfare for Morrison and his wife paid by the International Democratic Union.
- 9-12 October 2023—Taipei (Taiwan), return business class airfare, accommodation and incidentals, paid by the Yushan Forum.
- 28 October - 1 November 2023—London, return business class airfare, accommodation and incidentals paid by the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship.
- 1-2 November 2023—London, accommodation and incidentals paid by the Royal Overseas League.
- 3-4 November 2023—Edinburgh, return business class airfare from London paid by the University of St Andrews.
- 4-5 November 2023—Tel Aviv, return private charter flight, accommodation, security, and incidentals as a ‘guest” of Boris Johnson.
The Australian Parliament’s Register of Members’ Interests requires MPs to disclose the source of any payments, gifts and free trips, but not their financial value.
However, Scott Morrison’s itinerary this past year has been very similar to that of former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, who under the UK Parliament’s rules is required to disclose the financial value of any private gifts or support she receives.
In the past year, Morrison and Truss both attended the December 2022 International Democratic Union (IDU) forum in Washington DC, and the February 2023 Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) symposium in Japan. Both politicians also visited Taiwan, at separate times—Truss in May and Morrison in October—but the same group organised both trips. For those trips that coincided with Morrison’s, Truss declared the cost of her paid airfares, accommodation and incidentals to be:
- Washington IDU—£12,210 ($23,553);
- Japan IPAC—£8,600 ($16,500); and
- Taiwan Prospect Foundation—£10,841 ($21,000).
On top of that, Truss declared that for her speech in Taiwan she was paid £80,000 ($154,000) by the Prospect Foundation, which also organised the Yushan Forum in October at which Morrison spoke. In March 2022, Morrison’s American buddy Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State, was paid US$150,000 (around $235,000) to make a speech at the same Prospect Foundation. Morrison declared in his Register disclosure that he also receives “honorariums” for giving speeches.
So how much money is Morrison getting paid for his international jet-setting and his speeches?
The Australian Citizens Party (ACP) today called for full disclosure of Morrison’s foreign funding.
“Australians should be alarmed that foreign organisations are funding Morrison to stoke geopolitical tensions”, ACP Research Director Robert Barwick said.
“Morrison is working in league with US and UK neoconservatives who want to provoke war with China. By his own admission he visited Taiwan to undermine PM Albanese’s visit to China a few weeks later.
“This agenda is not in Australia’s national interest, which is to have peaceful relations with our biggest trading partner.
“Parliament must demand full disclosure”, Barwick said.