Scott Morrison looked for most of the week like a man who was about to be censured by parliament as a disgrace for secretly swearing in to five additional ministries.
As his fate was being discussed, the former prime minister sat in the ‘naughty corner of the House of Representatives, looking completely unbothered.
On Tuesday, Mr Morrison smiled and waved to photographers during Question Time. This was when both sides were arguing over his censuring.
He Alex Hawke, his seatmate, was seen in high spirits that day. He laughed and chatted with him and showed him some things on his phone.
However, this was probably a fabrication as Mr Hawke told an author just 15 minutes before that he had a rift between himself and Mr Morrison. He said the former PM should not have quit after losing the election, but was ‘addicted the power’.
Morrison was not able to finally take the process more seriously after Wednesday morning’s moment.
Scott Morrison appears completely unstressed as he listens to his colleagues censure him in Parliament on Wednesday
As the House of Representatives debated his fate, the ex-prime minister sat quietly in the naughty Corner’ of his seat looking totally unbothered.
Instead, he scrolled through the screen on his phone and tablet while Leader of the House Tony Burke introduced the censure vote with a sharp 15-minute speech.
Sometimes he would just read something funny and share a laugh with Hawke.
No one was shocked when Burke claimed that not only did he not meet the standards for parliament but he also ‘undermined and rejected them, attacked them, and abused them.
There was nothing else when he was warned for preventing parliament from performing its duties, undermining public confidence and deceiving his coworkers.
While Mr Morrison did look up several times, Mr Burke claimed he had violated the principles responsible government. He didn’t even tell ministers whose portfolios it was that he swore in to.
Staring straight ahead, he blinks rapidly, like a deer under headlights. After about 15 seconds, his smile vanished and he went back to his phone.
He glanced briefly at the packed press room several times as if to gauge reactions from the more attentive media.
Morrison did look up several times and stare straight ahead. His smirk faded for about 15 seconds, then he returned to his phone.
Uncharacteristically, his party was quiet as well, listening or fiddling with their smartphones until Mr Burke warned those who supported the censure but continued to support it.
‘They’ve got to lock in; they’ve got to follow what their leader wants… that is exactly what happened for the whole of the last term. He said that it was exactly how every precedent was destroyed.
Mr Morrison’s demeanour only changed when he rose to defend himself after Mr Burke finished his condemnation.
Fully engaged and fired-up, he presented his case in a 24 minute rebuttal. He justified his actions and refused to apologize.
Since his May 21 loss in the election, Mr Morrison was the first to speak to parliament. His raised voice reminded of his daily performances while he was on the opposite side of the chamber.
His defense consisted of the fact that the Covid pandemic as well as the trade war with China were a dangerous and uncertain period that required unorthodox solutions.
He began, “I am proud to my achievements in this area and I am proud to my government,” he said.
“I am proud that in a time of extreme trial, my government stood up to the abyssal of uncertainty that was facing our country and the coercion by a regional bullying and saw Australia through the storm.”
As the House of Representatives censured Morrison for being the first ex-prime minister to do so, Mr Morrison stood up in the chamber and vigorously defended his actions.
Only he was able to face such difficulties, only he made tough decisions, only he looked down at Beijing and emerged stronger.
How dare anyone to judge him.
“For those who want to add their judgment today on my actions supporting this censure move, I simply suggest they stop and think about the following: Have you ever dealt with a crisis in which the outlook was completely uncertain? He added.
“In such circumstances, were your decisions correct? Did you make mistakes, but they had no significant impact on the final result? The result was world-leading.
“Once you have examined your experience and what happens to you when you have been more involved in government, you might be able to set the first stone in this area.”
Multiple times, Morrison accused the government of using the censure against him to exact political retribution – something he was not willing to’submit’ to.
He responded, “I will accept the instruction of faith and turn the other side,” he said, noting his silence as if it were a virtue.
Morrison looked not like a man about be censured at any point during the week.
He On Tuesday, he was in particularly good spirits. He chatted and laughed with Alex Hawke and showed him his phone photos.
Mr Morrison even smiled at photographers during Question Time on Tuesday when both parties were fighting over his censuring.
He suggested instead of’retribution”, that the government “appreciate in humility” and “gracefully” learn from the way he led the country.
This is despite the fact that humility was a quality Mr Morrison rarely possessed and rarely displayed, especially when he was soundly defeated.
He was in fact self-indulgently bragging about his achievements for minutes, as though they should exonerate him of any guilt for deceiving the Australian people.
Although there was no connection between his pandemic handling and his becoming a’minister for all’, he maintained that it meant that at least some of his actions were necessary.
He stated that he would not abandon these decisions and consider them completely necessary when he was appointed to oversee finances and health.
Morrison admitted only that he had secretly sworn in to his home affairs and treasurer in hindsight.
At the unveiling of his portrait, Mr Morrison didn’t seem to be too bothered by his impending censuring. He shared a laugh at Tony Abbott’s former prime ministership.
He tried to minimize the appointments by calling them “dormant redundancy only, to be activated under extraordinary circumstances”.
Apparently one of these circumstances was overriding Energy Minister Angus Taylor to cancel the PEP11 offshore gas and oil exploration licence off the NSW Central Coast three months before the election.
He said, “I don’t resile form that action,” in his speech. He claimed it was legal and the only time he used any of the powers he had.
Morrison offered no apology, except the standard’sorry for anyone who was upset’ and nothing for actually doing it.
He stated, “I accept that the nondisclosure has caused unintentional offence and extend an apology for those who were offended.”
“But, I don’t apologise for taking actions, especially prudent redundancy, in a crisis national to save lives and livelihoods.
He declared that he was proud of his accomplishments and happy in what could be Morrison’s last speech to parliament
He stated, “I have seen bitterness devastate people who have arrived at this place, and it continues its grip on them each day of their lives, even decades later,”
“I am not one among them, and I will never be.”
Another way to say he regrets not.
They marched past Mr Morrison one by one, shaking hands, and patting his shoulder as they left the chamber after he had finished his fiery defense.
Sussan Ley, deputy Liberal leader, even had him hung as they exited the chamber
After his speech, many Coalition members ran out of the chamber. They didn’t pay attention to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus following up.
They walked one-by-one past Morrison, shaking his hands and patting his shoulders.
The disgraced ex PM then fled. Paul Fletcher (and Michael McCormack), Angie Bell (and Keith Wollahan), Jenny Ware and Aaron Violi (and Bridget Archer) were all still there.
The speeches against and for censure continued for another two hours, following the usual lines – condemnation from Labor and most Crossbench members, outrage from the Coalition, and more speeches.
Those who refused to support their leader simply claimed that the motion was unnecessary, partisan and a waste of time that could be better used on more pressing issues like the cost for living.
As speeches progressed, MPs moved from the chamber to hold sidebar discussions with political opponents.
Michael McCormack, Nationals MP, chatted with Mr Dreyfus who he called an out-of-touch inner-city snob just weeks before and Madeleine King, his Labor colleague.
Liberal MP Keith Wolahan spoke with Adam Bandt, Greens leader, and Ms Archer with teal MP Monique Kelly. Bob Katter made a bizarre speech and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was later in court with the teals.
Later, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with the teals to discuss the various speeches against or for censuring Mr Morrison.
An attendant then brought Ms Archer (who had indicated that she would vote for censure), a glass water, and a stand to hold her notes. She Was going to speak.
A maverick member called Mr Morrison’s actions ‘disrespectful’, and an affront Australia’s government system.
She said, “I have been a tireless advocate for greater integrity in politics and fought to establish an integrity commission that would restore the public’s faith”
“To be silent now would be hypocritical. I believe that we must be deliberate in our actions to prevent this from happening again.”
All this time, Mr Morrison did not seem particularly bothered by his imminent censuring as after leaving the chamber he shared a laugh with former prime minister Tony Abbott at the unveiling of his portrait.
At midday, it was clear that everyone was done and it was time to vote.
The MPs submitted their documents in the four-minute period that followed. Senators sat at the side of the historic moment to watch.
Senator Jana Stewart, a mother to her infant, was among them. Senator Penny Wong took turns holding the infant and playing with him while they took their seats.
Ms Archer walked out of her chair and across the aisle to a chair in the back. She sat with the majority of crossbench members to vote for Labor.
None of her colleagues looked up at her when she returned to the seat after the vote.
Bridget Archer, Liberal MP, walked across the aisle and to the back of the chair to cast her vote for Labor with the rest of the crossbench.
Over the next four minutes, MPs filed in and were joined by many senators who sat sidelines to witness the historic moment. Jana Stewart was among them, bringing her baby.
Senator Penny Wong enjoyed holding the infant and playing with it as MPs took to their seats
The final vote was 86-49, with 15 voting absent or present.
Sussan, the Deputy Liberal leader, was among those who were missing. But she was granted a pair to make sure the vote wasn’t lopsided.
Others, such as Karen Andrews (ex-home affairs minister) and Dai Le (independent), deliberately abstained. But they later said to media that the censure was still a waste.
As he has throughout the week Mr Morrison did not show emotion when the count was read, even though he knew it was a foregone conclusion.
The House then moved on to its next item, which was quite a surprise considering how important it had begun.
His political career has been so badly damaged by this saga and his response, that he may never again hold any meaningful position and could never be heard again in parliament.
Exit stage left? Many believe that Mr Morrison will resign at Chrsitmas because he is so traumatized by the whole story.
He thanked Josh Frydenberg and Greg Hunt (both of whose portfolios were he appointed himself to), and Mr McCormack along with his family and support.
He concluded by saying, “I conclude by thanksgiving the Australian people for being able to service my country in so many positions, but especially as prime Minister,”
“I gave everything I could to it. I did it to my best ability and with the greatest faith every day that I had the opportunity to serve the Australian people.
Many, including Tanya Plibersek (Environment Minister) believe that Morrison will finally do what was right on May 22, and resign.
Scott Morrison said sorry, not sorry. My prediction is that he will pull the pin on Christmas. He is leaving this week,” she tweeted.
But don’t put it past stubborn Squat Morrison not to cling to his $217,060 a year salary a bit longer, while doing as little work as possible.