Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 by the John Howard government and since that time no one would say why. But now John Howard is quoted in the SMH as saying it was a ‘clash of personalities’ with the tourism minister which very much seems like an attempt to neutralize the scandal before the next federal election. This raises more questions than it answers as Morrison also left as the head of Tourism New Zealand in a hurry in 2000 with similar complaints about his performance and conduct.
We will have a look at the SMH article quoting John Howard in a minute but it worth reviewing the article I published in June 2019, which has had over 316,000 views, titled “Looks like PM Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 because of fraud and theft” and I said:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 and he has always refused to say why. One thing is for certain, it had to be massive wrongdoing by Morrison. Why? Because Scott Morrison, who was State Director of the New South Wales Liberal Party from 2000 to 2004, was sacked by a Liberal Party Minister in the Liberal Party John Howard government and they don’t sack one of their own for a minor reason or even a major reason. Morrison’s sacking had to be something, at the very least, bordering on criminal and more than likely actual criminal conduct.
Since 2006 Scott Morrison has refused to answer questions about his sacking and little has been known about the reasons for it until now. Journalist Karen Middleton published an article on Saturday (8/6/19) which she spent 6 months investigating and to me it makes it clear Morrison was likely sacked for deliberate lies and deception in relation to the awarding of government contracts worth $184 million.
Karen Middleton writes in The Saturday Paper:
Thirteen years after Scott Morrison was mysteriously sacked from a senior public sector job as managing director of Tourism Australia, a six-month investigation by The Saturday Paper has created the clearest picture yet of the events surrounding his dismissal.
Documents obtained by The Saturday Paper under freedom of information laws show Morrison received a pay rise less than a month before he was sacked, taking his annual base salary from $318,031 to $332,030, with discretion for his employer to add up to 2.5 percent on top.
Around the time of Morrison’s dismissal, it was suggested he was paid out after having his contract terminated more than a year early. Sources have since confirmed this.
It was long speculated that the sacking was the result of a personality clash between Morrison and Bailey or differences over her plans to restructure the agency.
But late last year, The Saturday Paper uncovered an auditor-general’s report from 2008 examining the handling of three major contracts, which had delivered a scathing assessment of Tourism Australia’s management.
The report provided the first indication as to the real reason Morrison was removed.
The contracts were worth $184 million, and the auditor focused most on the two biggest – those with companies M&C Saatchi for global creative services or advertising campaigns, and Carat for media placement.
The audit report revealed that information had been kept from the board, procurement guidelines breached and private companies engaged before paperwork was signed and without appropriate value-for-money assessments.
Both before and since becoming prime minister in August last year, Scott Morrison has refused to answer questions about why the tourism minister took the unusual step in July 2006 of sacking him as head of the agency. He has also refused to answer questions about the handling of the contracts, which were signed the previous year. He did not respond to questions for this story before time of press. (Click here to read the full article)
It’s starting to become more obvious by the day why Scott Morrison is so keen to crack down on whistleblowers because there are probably a few dozen people in government who know the real reasons for Morrison’s sacking and if they have access to the documents, they could bring him down. Morrison has known he is in trouble for 6 months since Karen Middleton started her FOI requests for documents from government departments. That would be an added reason why the Morrison government have gone so hard after whistleblowers in the last few months. (Click here to read more)
The SMH reported on Saturday (11/9/21) in an article titled “John Howard says ‘clash of personalities’ ended Scott Morrison’s tourism career”:
Former prime minister John Howard said Scott Morrison’s controversial stint as the boss of Tourism Australia ended for reasons including a “clash of personalities” with then-tourism minister Fran Bailey. New details of the bitter falling out are included in a biography on Mr Morrison, The Accidental Prime Minister, to be released on Wednesday.
Speaking for the first time about the events that led to Mr Morrison losing his $320,000-a-year job as the managing director of Tourism Australia in 2006, Mr Howard said he ultimately sided with advice from his minister Ms Bailey, whose relationship with Mr Morrison had become unworkable.
Mr Howard, who distanced himself from the spat at the time, confirmed he was aware of the bitter falling out between the pair, with the “So where the bloody hell are you?” tourism campaign acting as a flashpoint in the deteriorating relationship.
“The explanation for the dispute was a clash of personalities,” Mr Howard said. “They obviously didn’t get along.”
In July 2006, Ms Bailey met Mr Howard and convinced him the relationship had deteriorated to the point where Mr Morrison had to go. “I accepted the minister’s advice and backed her,” Mr Howard said. It was left to then-Tourism Australia board chairman Tim Fischer to break the news to Mr Morrison that his time was up, just over halfway through his three-year contract. (Click here to read more)
John Howard raises more questions than he answers
John Howard’s statement doesn’t pass the pub test. Why has it taken years for John Howard to make that statement when others always refused to say why Morrison was sacked? Why didn’t Howard make the statement years ago to stop the rumours about the reasons for Morrison’s sacking spreading all over the internet?
I also published an article in November 2019 titled “Scott Morrison left Tourism New Zealand in similar circumstances to his sacking by Tourism Australia. Why?” and said:
Scott Morrison at Tourism New Zealand
“Mr Morrison, an Australian, helped set up the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport in the 1990s and “He left with a year to go on his contract in March 2000.” (Click here to read more)
In June 2000 the NZ Herald reported:
The days of the Office of Tourism and Sport, a power-base of former Tourism Minister Murray McCully, may be numbered.
The Prime Minister has ordered a report from officials on the office, which was approved by cabinet, and on a body Mr McCully privately set up, the Tourism and Sport Ministerial Advisory Board.
The State Services Commission and Internal Affairs are looking at the office after criticisms in the Auditor-General’s report on tourism last week.
And if Labour is part of the next government, it will abolish the office. Labour’s sports and state services spokesman, Trevor Mallard, says the Office of Tourism and Sport was set up last year “to push the political interests of McCully.”
“It was designed to provide McCully with the advice McCully wanted and a method of sorting out organisations without McCully’s hands getting dirty.”
The office is a semi-autonomous body under the Department of Internal Affairs. The director, Scott Morrison, tenders advice to the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Sport, Fitness and Leisure. The office also oversaw a damning consultants’ report on the Tourism Board’s performance for Mr McCully, without input from the Tourism Board.
Confusion over roles of the various bodies – the Tourism Board, the Office of Tourism and Sport, and the advisory board – contributed to the breakdown in relationship between the Tourism Board and Mr McCully, the Auditor-General, David Macdonald, said in his report.
Mr Mallard said the way the Office of Tourism and Sport operated was one of the reasons Mr McCully had got into trouble.
And a key reason for that was that it was run by Mr Morrison, an Australian who was seen as Mr McCully’s “hard man.”
Australian standards of public sector behaviour “are lower than ours,” said Mr Mallard.
New Zealanders were much more traditional and had a Westminster-type approach. That meant more things on paper, more concern about process, and being less bombastic.
“My experience with Australian politicians is that rules and ethics are not as important to them as they are to New Zealanders.”
Mr Morrison said he did not want to respond to Mr Mallard’s personal comments. “I have no interest in New Zealand politics.” (Click here to read the full article)
Given the above and the fact that he still had a year to go on his contract everything points to Scott Morrison being tapped on the shoulder by the New Zealand government and being told to resign or be sacked.
In March 2000 Scott Morrison left Tourism New Zealand and moved back to Australia where, after a brief stint at KPMG, he was appointed as the State Director of the New South Wales Liberal Party until 2004. In 2004 he was parachuted into the role of Managing Director of Tourism Australia in a blatantly political appointment until even the Liberal Party couldn’t handle his dodgy conduct any further and they sacked him in 2006.
In 2007 Scott Morrison did his secret dirty deal with Sam Dastyari and stabbed Michael Towke in the back. Mr Towke was the pre-selected candidate for the seat of Cook and was in Morrison’s way so false rumours were spread and the state executive of the Liberal Party refused to endorse Mr Towke’s preselection after the rumours were published by News Corp. A second ballot was held, and Scott Morrison won. Mr Towke successfully sued News Corp.
Scott Morrison’s time at Tourism New Zealand, Tourism Australia and his preselection to parliament all show unanswered allegations of abuse of processes, procedures and total unaccountability which is exactly how Scott Morrison is running the country and performing as Prime Minister. (Click here to read more)
For John Howard to come out now a few months before the next federal election and downplay why Scott Morrison was sacked from Tourism Australia is too little, too late and not believable and Howard only addresses one of the many skeletons in Morrison’s closet anyhow.
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Categories: Prime Minister Scott Morrison