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Scott Morrison retires from politics

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Scott Morrison's political career will come to an end at the end of February, the former Prime Minister announced on Tuesday.
Scott Morrison's political career

Scott Morrison confirmed today he will retire from politics next month.

The former Prime Minister said he wants to take on new challenges and spend more time with his family and “church community”.

Morrison was Prime Minister from 2018 to 2022. He’s been in Federal Parliament since 2007 as the member for Cook in Sydney’s south.

Scott Morrison’s political career

Morrison was Shadow Immigration Minister from 2009 until 2013, and became Immigration Minister after the 2013 election.

He was a key figure in establishing Operation Sovereign Borders, which was accompanied by the ‘Stop the Boats’ slogan. The program still operates today.

Morrison then served as Minister for Social Services and Treasurer before he ran for the Liberal Party leadership in 2018 (when Peter Dutton challenged Malcolm Turnbull). Morrison won and became Prime Minister. He led the Coalition to victory in the 2019 election.

Prime Ministership

Morrison’s time as PM was shaped by disasters including the Black Summer bushfires in 2019-20 and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He established the National Cabinet to coordinate the COVID-19 response with state and territory leaders.

Morrison also made significant investments in mental health reform amid rising concerns during the pandemic.

COVID portfolios

After losing the 2022 Federal Election, it emerged that when Morrison was PM at the start of the pandemic, he secretly swore himself into five ministerial positions. This included the portfolios of health, treasury and home affairs.

In most cases, the ministers did not know Morrison had been sworn into their portfolios.

The House of Representatives voted to formally censure Morrison over the matter.

Robodebt

As Social Services Minister, Morrison played a key role in the rollout of Robodebt, an illegal debt collection scheme used for welfare recipients from 2015 to 2019.

Under the scheme, hundreds of thousands of people were wrongly told they owed the Government money. Robodebt raised around $1.73 billion in unlawful debts.

Morrison testified at the Royal Commission into Robodebt. He said he wouldn’t have proceeded with the scheme if he knew it was unlawful.

What now?

Morrison’s resignation will trigger a by-election in his seat of Cook — that’s an election held outside of the normal election cycle to replace an individual MP.

Cook, which includes the Sydney suburb of Cronulla and the area surrounding it, has been held by the Liberal Party since 1975.

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