Scott Morrison. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP
Scott Morrison. Picture: Lukas Coch/AAP

Could this be our next PM?

SCOTT Morrison, or ScoMo, as he is often called, has been a leader-in-waiting for years.

The son of a police officer, Mr Morrison's hardworking character and leadership potential were quickly noted by his colleagues.

As one influential MP told the Women's Weekly back in 2015, before Malcolm Turnbull challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership: "If we lose the next election, Scott Morrison will be leader".

Lately, Mr Morrison has thrown his support behind Mr Turnbull, although he's previously expressed interest in the top job after the Prime Minister's poor Newspoll performances.

He told the ABC in April he would not pursue his ambitions while Mr Turnbull remained prime minister, insisting Mr Turnbull was the right person to lead the party not just to the next election "but beyond".

But the former immigration minister said he would be interested if "down the track, if an opportunity presented itself".

 

Scott Morrison (right) was publicly supporting Malcolm Turnbull just yesterday. Picture Kym Smith
Scott Morrison (right) was publicly supporting Malcolm Turnbull just yesterday. Picture Kym Smith

 

Today it looks like Mr Morrison's time has finally come, with the Treasurer seeking support for a leadership tilt after three senior ministers today publicly stated that Mr Turnbull had lost the support of the Liberal party.

Mr Morrison, like his rival for the leadership position, Mr Dutton, carved out a reputation as being a tough operator in the immigration portfolio.

He was given the portfolio under Mr Abbott's leadership and was part of the team that developed Operation Sovereign Borders to "stop the boats".

He caused controversy in 2011 when he questioned whether taxpayers should pay to fly a group of refugees to Sydney so they could the funerals of their relatives, who drowned off Christmas Island.

Mr Abbott later shifted Mr Morrison to the social services portfolio in December 2014, seemingly snubbing him for the defence role. Mr Morrison was elevated to Treasurer by Malcolm Turnbull after he took after the leadership.

While Mr Morrison publicly supported Mr Abbott during the spill, there's speculation his failure to endorse the former prime minister's leadership contributed to his defeat.

 

Scott Morrison is the number one ticket holder of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Picture: Craig Greenhill
Scott Morrison is the number one ticket holder of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Picture: Craig Greenhill

Mr Morrison has denied he had any arrangement with Mr Turnbull for his support but he did refuse to take up Mr Abbott's offer of Joe Hockey's position as treasurer after he realised Mr Hockey wasn't aware of the deal.

An evangelical protestant and member of the Horizon Church (formerly known as Shirelive), Mr Morrison has appealed to social conservative voters of the Liberal party.

But in the interview with Women's Weekly he said his beliefs did not define his politics.

"My personal faith in Jesus Christ is not a political agenda," Mr Morrison said.

Raised in the Sydney seaside suburb of Bronte, Mr Morrison was the son of a police officer who later entered council and became the mayor of Waverley.

He married his wife Jenny when he was 21 years old after they met through church connections. They went on to have two children.

Unlike many of his colleagues, he had a career outside of politics first, working at the Property Council of Australia, the Australian Tourism Task Force, Tourism Australia and then the Office of Tourism and Sport in New Zealand.

When he returned to Australia he became director of the NSW Liberal Party in 2000 before taking a job running Tourism Australia in 2004 where he was involved in the controversial "Where the bloody hell are you?" campaign.

Mr Morrison entered politics in 2007, winning preselection in the seat of Cook in Sydney's Sutherland Shire where the Cronulla race riots took place two years before.

 

Scott Morrison and his family.
Scott Morrison and his family.

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