Scott John Morrison is an Australian politician who is the 30th and current Prime Minister of Australia. He took office in August 2018 upon his election as leader of the Liberal Party and subsequently led the Coalition to victory at the 2019 election.
Morrison was born in Sydney and studied economic geography at the University of New South Wales. He worked as director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport from 1998 to 2000 and was managing director of Tourism Australia from 2004 to 2006. Morrison also served as state director of the New South Wales Liberal Party from 2000 to 2004. He was first elected to the House of Representatives at the 2007 election for the Division of Cook in New South Wales, and was quickly appointed to the shadow cabinet.
After the Coalition's victory at the 2013 election, Morrison was appointed Minister for Immigration and Border Protection in the Abbott Government, where he was responsible for implementing Operation Sovereign Borders. In a reshuffle the following year, he became Minister for Social Services. He was later promoted to the role of Treasurer in September 2015, after Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott as Prime Minister.
In August 2018, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton unsuccessfully challenged Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Leadership tension continued, and the party voted to hold a second leadership ballot on 24 August, with Turnbull choosing not to stand. In that ballot, Morrison was seen as a compromise candidate and defeated both Dutton and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to become Leader of the Liberal Party. He was sworn in as Prime Minister by the Governor-General later that day.
Morrison went on to lead the Coalition to a surprise victory in the 2019 election. He was criticised for his government's response to the 2019–20 bushfires and the 2021 Parliament rape allegations. Morrison has won praise for his government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the establishment of the National Cabinet.
Early life and education
Morrison was born in Waverley, Sydney, New South Wales, the younger of two sons born to Marion (née Smith) and John Douglas Morrison (1934–2020). His father was a policeman who served on the Waverley Municipal Council, including for a single term as mayor. Morrison's maternal grandfather was born in New Zealand. His paternal grandmother was the niece of noted Australian poet Dame Mary Gilmore. In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of her death, he delivered a tribute to her in federal parliament. Morrison is descended from William Roberts, a convict who was convicted of stealing yarn and transported to Australia on the First Fleet in 1788.
Morrison grew up in the suburb of Bronte. He had a brief career as a child actor, appearing in several television commercials and small roles in local shows. Some reports have suggested that he was the iconic 1970s Vicks "Love Rub" kid, but footage to confirm or refute this has not been found; he has stated he was in a different Vicks commercial. He attended Sydney Boys High School before going on to complete a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) honours degree in applied economic geography at the University of New South Wales. He contemplated studying theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, but he instead chose to enter the workforce after completing his undergraduate education, in part due to the disapproval of his father.
After graduating from university, Morrison worked as national policy and research manager for the Property Council of Australia from 1989 to 1995. He then moved into tourism, serving as deputy chief executive of the Australian Tourism Task Force and then general manager of the Tourism Council of Australia; the latter was managed by Bruce Baird, whom he would eventually succeed in federal parliament.
In 1998, Morrison moved to New Zealand to become director of the newly created Office of Tourism and Sport. He formed a close relationship with New Zealand's tourism minister, Murray McCully, and was involved with the creation of the long-running "100% Pure New Zealand" campaign. He left this position in 2000, a year before the contract schedule.
Morrison returned to Australia in 2000, to become state director of the Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division). He oversaw the party's campaigns in the 2001 federal election and in the 2003 New South Wales state election.[