ScoMo’s second act? Ex PM’s coy answer about a comeback

Peter Dutton has two vacant spots to fill.

Peter Dutton has two vacant spots to fill. Photo: AAP

Scott Morrison is on the comeback trail.

When not fending off questions about his secret self-appointments or travelling, the former prime minister has spent 18 months cutting a forlorn and mopey figure on Parliament’s backbenches.

But over the past fortnight, he has been sticking his head above the parapet with a frequency that only ever means one thing in political life.

First came a trip to southern Israel and a tour of the scene of the October 7 attack.

Morrison, who told the Parliament he took the trip on a private jet paid for by Boris Johnson, used his time in the Holy Land to do some spade work for this week’s question time attack by Oppositon Leader Peter Dutton.

“Jewish Australians need to know that their cause is the right one, given the atrocities committed against them,” he said in an interview, implying the government had been insufficiently supportive.

Then, in the last full week of parliamentary sittings this year, Morrison has lent his voice to no shortage of other causes.

Morrison has been broadcasting his views on issues from speaking out about exemptions to the Sydney Airport curfew for cargo planes to an alleged delay in selecting a design for an Indigenous cultural precinct in Canberra.

He even gave a justification for not telling colleagues about his secret ministries in a Sky News documentary about the Liberal Party’s near-decade in power.

“Hindsight is a lovely thing, when you’re in the pandemic,” he said. “I wish I’d spoken to Josh, but I thought that would have been disruptive.”

Morrison also said he regretted having “let down” former home affairs minister Karen Andrews, who described the steady drip of revelations about those self-appointments as the lowest point in her political career.

Andrews called for Morrison to quit Parliament over that behaviour.

But despite reports he was heading towards the exit with his eye on a plum job in the UK defence industry, the former PM has yet to do so.

Morrison has instead spent much of question time this year seemingly glued to his iPhone and refreshing social media compulsively while seated next to his oldest friend in politics Alex Hawke.

The former immigration minister is reportedly fighting to hold onto his seat this week.

But the Liberals have granted Morrison a reprieve from facing a preselection for Cook, apparently expecting that he would bow out closer to the next election.

On Thursday, Morrison’s office did not immediately return questions about whether he intended to stand for the seat again.

But in an interview with Morrison last week, columnist Andrew Bolt called for his return to the Coalition frontbench, even though the former PM had been treated like a “leper” by members of his side.

Dutton has two vacant spots to fill.

Morrison said he had not offered himself up for those jobs.

But he did not rule out accepting an offer and declined to say if he had any plans for serving through the next term of Parliament.

“I have, no … nothing beyond what I’m doing in this term of Parliament, Andrew, and that remains the case,” he said.

“We’re about mid-term and obviously, decisions are going to have to be made at some point in time.”

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