In December 2019 then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison embarked on a family holiday to Hawaii amidst the Black Summer Bushfire crisis engulfing the country. This decision sparked widespread public outrage and controversy, with many Australians accusing Mr. Morrison of abandoning his responsibilities during a time of national crisis.
On Wednesday the 18th of December, Mr. Morrison’s office initially declined to comment on his whereabouts, only stating that he and his family were overseas “at an undisclosed location,” citing security concerns. The former-Prime Minister’s office later denied that Mr. Morrison was in Hawaii after images appeared on social media seemingly showing Mr. Morrison drinking beer on a beach with other tourists.
Meanwhile protests began outside of Kirribilli house calling for action on climate change. Some demonstrators wore Hawaiian shirts and carried signs asking “When do our firefighters get a holiday?" and “ScoMo where the bloody hell are ya?"
On Thursday the 19th of December, Mr. Morrison is confirmed to be in Hawaii with the social media posts coming from an Australian tourist who claimed to have “enjoyed bevies” with a “bit of a legend.”
On Friday the 20th of December media reported that Mr. Morrison’s decision to go on holiday had not been announced to the public. Mr. Morrison’s office stated that then opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, had been told. Mr. Morrison also released a statement confirming that he was in Hawaii and that he would be “returning to Sydney from leave as soon as can be arranged” and that he deeply regretted “any offence caused” to Australians.
On Saturday the 21st of December Mr. Morrison arrived just short of 8pm with intentions to meet with fire chiefs the following morning.
Almost 2 years later, Mr. Morrison’s Hawaii holiday was brought up in parliament during an exchange regarding Mr. Morrison’s honesty. On Monday the 22nd of November 2021, Labor’s Fiona Phillips asked Mr. Morrison why his office had “told journalists he was not on holiday in Hawaii … when it wasn’t true?”
Mr. Morrison responded claiming that Mr. Albanese had been told of his travel plans:
“I can only speak to what I have said. As the leader of the opposition will know because I texted him from the plane when I was going on that leave, and told him where I was going, and he was fully aware of where I was travelling with my family.”
Following Question Time, Mr. Albanese explained that he had been misrepresented:
“That is not true. On the 15th of December 2019 at 9.44pm the prime minister did text me saying he was going on leave…He did not tell me where he was going. He said he was going with his family. I kept that text message confidential, as you do, with private text messages between private phones…On the Friday he disclosed it in an interview with 2GB that he had texted me and that was the first time that that became public. But at no stage did he tell me where he was going.”