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Scott Morrison's Dismissal from Tourism Australia

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

In 2004 former-Prime Minister Scott Morrison was appointed Managing Director of Tourism Australia, a role worth $350,000-per-year and originally contracted for 3 years. The appointment, made by then-Minister for Tourism, Joe Hockey, had been described as reeking of "political cronyism." Mr. Morrison stayed in this role for 2 years before his contract was terminated in July of 2006.

The Tourism Australia Logo next to a photo of Scott Morrison from the mid-2000s.

In his time as Managing Director, Mr. Morrison oversaw marketing campaigns promoting Australia as a tourist destination, notably the "Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" campaign featuring Lara Bingle. In 2006, he was dismissed from the role by Tourism Minister Fran Bailey. Initially there was limited information regarding the dismissal and the reasons for it.

An auditor-general's report from 2008 detailed contracts worth up to $184 million between Tourism Australia and several advertising agencies. The report also 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."

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by The Saturday Paper also revealed that Ms. Bailey, expressed alarm just prior to Mr. Morrison being dismissed about how Tourism Australia was handling taxpayers’ money.

In the aftermath of relations regarding Mr. Morrison's secret ministries in 2020 and 2021, Ms. Bailey decided to speak to media regarding Mr. Morrison's dismissal from Tourism Australia:

"What has changed my mind is that all of those characteristics that make up Scott Morrison – the secrecy... the supreme belief that only he can do a job, the lack of consultation with those closest to him – those characteristics were evident 16 years ago, and perhaps we’re seeing the end result of those now.”

Ms. Bailey went on to say that during his time at Tourism Australia, Mr. Morrison "showed no respect for his colleagues and he left her – his boss, the government minister responsible – feeling bullied," and that "he doesn’t have any soft approach."

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