A jack of all trades, and you are all so lucky to have had me (and me and me and me)

Scott Morrison this week became the first former prime minister to be censured by parliament for cloning himself. Here, exclusive to InQld, he explains why he did it. At least, this is how columnist Madonna King sees it.

Dec 01, 2022, updated Dec 01, 2022
Casting an eye over Peter Dutton's job as Opposition Leader perhaps? If on Scott Morrison still had the authority to sign up for the role.
 (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Casting an eye over Peter Dutton's job as Opposition Leader perhaps? If on Scott Morrison still had the authority to sign up for the role. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Mr Speaker, I rise to defend myself against this farcical censure motion which risks my legacy; a legacy that should long be remembered for the way in which I navigated the biggest threat in peace-time Australia.

A prime minister’s job is all encompassing. No-one in this Parliament knows that like me. And contrary to the opinion on the other side of this House, I freely admit to making mistakes.

For example, with the benefit of hindsight, I probably should have taken on more roles during that period when our country was under siege from a pandemic no-one forecast.

Speaking of forecasts, I probably should have taken on the post of BOM director. If I had, we’d be talking about the weather – not some silly expensive rebrand. And I am an authority on this because I spent a long time as Scotty from Marketing.

In fact, I did consider adding that to the handful of ministerial portfolios I was forced to secretly take on. But I felt like it was a conflict of interest to take on the head roles at BOM and Fire Services – and as I pointed out to that one cheeky firefighter, it’s not my job to hold the hose.

Nor is it my job to explain how fair, judicious and independent inquiries should run, but if I had more time, and was still in the job, I’d probably offer to mentor former High Court justice Virginia Bell too.

What’s her qualifications to judge me, and my decision-making, in the hothouse of a national pandemic? Has she ever been prime minister? Sat in Parliament? Had the expectations of a nation on her shoulders?

My actions were “corrosive’’ to trust in government, she decided. Where does that sort of rubbish come from? She probably supports this federal integrity commission too. I’d run that myself, but couldn’t be bothered now that  I’ve been turfed out by an ungrateful public that don’t understand how democracy works.

To ensure our borders remained in tact, as the pandemic arrived at our shores, do you really believe Karen Andrews was the best Home Affairs minister on offer? Really? She said she had “absolutely no knowledge’’ I had appointed myself to her job. And that was why: she had “absolutely no knowledge’’.

You see, these things are very nuanced, Mr Speaker; that’s something Greg Hunt understood as health minister. And that’s why I confided in him – no-one else – in March 2020, that I’d given myself his portfolio responsibilities. He appreciated my support, Mr Speaker.

Unlike Josh Frydenberg, who proved recently why I never considered him a friend. No wonder he was thrown out at the last election, and I’m still here. I needed to know that he was budgeting in the right jars. I’ve read the Barefoot Investor, Mr Speaker. I know how to put different money in different jars.

Poor old Keith Pitt. He didn’t even realise I was the Minister for Industry, Science, Energy and Resources until I stopped that drilling project. Fancy running a portfolio and not know you weren’t running it. That’s the National Party for you.

I thought of appointing my wife Jenny, who I did go to for advice from time to time, to help run that Party; to instil the values of my family, not those of Barnaby Joyce.

But don’t get me started on the National Party. Or Queensland. They deserve each other!

Mr Speaker, I am proud of my achievements in this place. I am proud of the government that was me.

And I have no intention now of submitting to the political intimidation of this government, using its numbers in this place to impose its retribution on a political opponent.

That’s corrosive to trust, someone should tell Virginia Bell. So is attacking an honourable member, like me. The 30th prime minister of this nation.

Sometimes, Mr Speaker, you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it.

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