Scott Morrison has skipped the entire first sitting week of Parliament to attend an international summit which does not start until Thursday evening.
The former Prime Minister is now under pressure to reveal whether he is being paid to attend the event, which is also drawing speeches from British Prime Minister David Cameron, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former Prime Minister Ukrainian Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
On Monday, Mr Morrison said he was ‘unable to attend the first three sitting days of the new parliament this week’ but failed to mention that the conference does not start until Thursday while parliament is in session Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Mr Morrison is traveling to Japan with his wife, Jenny Morrison and posted on Facebook today that he had visited Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to convey his condolences on the death of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Broadcast more about politics with Flash. More than 25 news channels in one place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends October 31, 2022 >
Labor leader Tony Burke has raised questions about Scott Morrison’s overseas trips, warning that if he gets paid for side hustles while skipping Parliament he must report it.
The former prime minister has raised fresh questions about his political future after revealing he will not stand when parliament resumes today.
he revealed he will not be standing when Parliament resumes today.
Instead, he will travel to Japan to mingle with former prime ministers on the international conference circuit, where he is expected to earn lucrative speaker fees.
He will also continue to receive his salary of $211,250 a year as a backbench MP despite not reporting for work in Canberra during his overseas trip.
Government Affairs Director Tony Burke said Mr Morrison should declare any free flights, accommodation or speaking fees to Parliament.
But he also raised questions about whether it was appropriate to get paid for speaker gigs if he didn’t show up for his day job.
“Sometimes people have deeply personal reasons why they can’t come because of illness or a loved one,” Burke said.
“And those quiet conversations have been with the whip, between the whips, and so there are occasions when it’s appropriate and it happens.
“If someone gets paid to do another job, then I don’t know how they’ll fare with the taxpayers paying them to do this one.”
Mr Morrison has just returned from another overseas trip where he spoke at an ‘Asian leadership conference’.
This trip also almost certainly involved a free flight, accommodation, and most likely speaker fees.
News.com.au has contacted Mr Morrison’s office for clarification.
A spokesperson for Mr Morrison told news.com.au he would report any income in the usual way.
“Mr Morrison will comply with disclosure requirements for Members of the Australian Parliament as and when required,” a spokeswoman said.
Mr Morrison has 28 days after returning to Parliament to declare free flights and income.
However, it is unclear whether these requirements require the former prime minister to reveal exactly how much he is paid or whether he simply has to declare that he received “speaker fees”, flights and accommodation.
Mr Morrison stressed that he had accepted the invitation before the publication of the parliamentary calendar.
“Before the new government announced the schedule of sittings for the remainder of 2022, I had already accepted an invitation to join other former prime ministers of Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand to take the speak at an international event to be held in Tokyo this week”,’ he said.
“As a result, I will not be able to attend the first three sitting days of the new Parliament this week.
“During my stay in Tokyo, in addition to delivering a speech on the Quad’s role in promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific, I will host a series of meetings with Japanese political and business leaders and have the opportunity to join other former leaders in expressing my condolences on the passing of Prime Minister Abe following his assassination.
“I will return to Australia to attend Parliament on August 1, 2022.”