Following the release of the damaging report from the robodebt royal commission, the former prime minister Scott Morrison is facing calls from across the political spectrum to step down from his seat in parliament.
David Littleproud, the leader of the Nationals, Bridget Archer, a member of Parliament for the Liberal Party, and Andrew Bragg, a senator, are among those who have recommended that Scott Morrison should retire as the member for Cook. Nevertheless, some of his colleagues believe that bad findings may make it more likely that he would dig in his heels.
Prior to the publication of the Robodebt report, there was widespread speculation in the New South Wales Liberal Party that Morrison would resign from parliament in the middle of the year. Despite the fact that he has never publicly confirmed his long-term plans, the notion was widespread.
On Monday, the minister of government services, Bill Shorten, increased the amount of pressure that was placed on Morrison by stating that any “self-respecting politician” would be “embarrassed and humiliated” by unfavourable findings from the royal commission.
“What Mr Morrison does is an issue for him and the Liberal party,” Shorten stated to the reporters.
“Mr. Morrison served as the minister of social security for the Liberal party… when the robodebt system was made available… The decision is with Mr Morrison. It seems as though he inhabits a different reality than the rest of us.
“… everyone who reads the royal commission is going to take, I think, a different judgment about the suggested schedule for Mr. Morrison’s continued service in parliament.
Littleproud stated that Morrison had been removed from his position as prime minister in a “fair and square” manner and that it was now up to Morrison to “determine if he still has the heart to continue on.”
The leader of the Nationals party made these comments to Sky News. “If he hasn’t, he should get out of the road because the people of Cook deserve someone who has the fire in the belly to stand up and to represent them in Canberra,” he said.
“Mr. Morrison now has to get back to first principles – he is there to represent the people of Cook, and if his heart’s not in that, it’s probably time for him to move on and let someone else who does have the passion and the fire in their belly to do that.”
Bragg stated on Radio National that “there were very significant governance issues here, the commonwealth effectively ran an illegal scheme for some years, and the people who were involved in that should consider very carefully their next steps.” Bragg’s comments were made in response to the fact that “there were very significant governance issues here.”
Bragg pointed out that Morrison had disagreed with the findings, but he argued that the real question for those who hold public office is whether or not there is anything else they would like “to achieve in public life in the service of the people.” “And if the answer to that question is no, then I think people should just move on.”
Archer, the only Liberal MP to endorse a resolution to censure Scott Morrison over his several ministries, said it was up to Morrison when to resign, but in her view, he should go. Archer was the only Liberal MP to support the motion.
According to the media, Archer was quoted as saying, “I personally think it’s always difficult for a former prime minister to stay on in parliament.”
“This, along with other factors, does make it difficult for the party to put the past in the rearview mirror and move on to more positive things,”
Before the release of the findings from the royal commission, the leader of the opposition, Peter Dutton, requested that the NSW Liberal Party complete the preselections early in order to comply with the recommendations made by the 2022 election review to provide candidates with more time to prove themselves.
Cook was the only seat that was excluded from the decree, which led to rumours of an upcoming byelection or the worry that an early preselection would force Morrison to reapply for the position.
In addition, Commissioner Catherine Holmes came to the conclusion that Morrison “allowed cabinet to be misled” because he did not make the “obvious inquiry” into why his department had altered its perspective on whether or not legislation was required to change social security law. She came to this conclusion because Morrison did not ask why his department had changed its mind.
Morrison has claimed that he “completely” rejects unfavourable findings in a statement that he released on Friday. He claims that these findings are “wrong, unsubstantiated, and contradicted by clear documentary evidence presented to the commission.”
Morrison, in his capacity as the cabinet minister who was responsible for bringing the robodebt plan before the cabinet, stated that he had “acted in good faith and on clear and deliberate department advice that no legislation was required to introduce the scheme.”
James Paterson, the shadow minister for home affairs, stated that whatever actions Scott Morrison takes are “a matter for him” and that none of Morrison’s colleagues “are in a position to direct Scott Morrison on how he responds to this report.”
According to what Paterson said on Radio National, “He is now a member of the backbench in the parliament.” “Peter Dutton has been very clear, and we have expressed our sincere regret for the harm caused to those who were targeted by robodebt,”
Andrew Wilkie, an independent member of parliament, expressed to the Australia his “very strong” conviction that “the strongest possible action should be taken” against anyone “identified as incompetent, or acting improperly.” Wilkie said he felt “very strongly” that “strongest possible action should be taken.”
Wilkie asserted that if the conclusions of the royal commission were validated in a court of law, “then frankly, they should throw the book at these people.”