Looks like PM Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 because of fraud and theft

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was sacked as Managing Director of Tourism Australia in 2006 and he has always refused to say why. One thing is for certain, it had to be massive wrongdoing by Morrison. Why? Because Scott Morrison, who was State Director of the New South Wales Liberal Party from 2000 to 2004, was sacked by a Liberal Party Minister in the Liberal Party John Howard government and they don’t sack one of their own for a minor reason or even a major reason. Morrison’s sacking had to be something, at the very least, bordering on criminal and more than likely actual criminal conduct.

Since 2006 Scott Morrison has refused to answer questions about his sacking and little has been known about the reasons for it until now. Journalist Karen Middleton published an article on Saturday (8/6/19) which she spent 6 months investigating and to me it makes it clear Mossison was likely sacked for deliberate lies and deception in relation to the awarding of government contracts worth $184 million.

Karen Middleton writes in The Saturday Paper:

Thirteen years after Scott Morrison was mysteriously sacked from a senior public sector job as managing director of Tourism Australia, a six-month investigation by The Saturday Paper has created the clearest picture yet of the events surrounding his dismissal.

Documents obtained by The Saturday Paper under freedom of information laws show Morrison received a pay rise less than a month before he was sacked, taking his annual base salary from $318,031 to $332,030, with discretion for his employer to add up to 2.5 percent on top.

Around the time of Morrison’s dismissal, it was suggested he was paid out after having his contract terminated more than a year early. Sources have since confirmed this.

It was long speculated that the sacking was the result of a personality clash between Morrison and Bailey or differences over her plans to restructure the agency.

But late last year, The Saturday Paper uncovered an auditor-general’s report from 2008 examining the handling of three major contracts, which had delivered a scathing assessment of Tourism Australia’s management.

The report provided the first indication as to the real reason Morrison was removed.

The contracts were worth $184 million, and the auditor focused most on the two biggest – those with companies M&C Saatchi for global creative services or advertising campaigns, and Carat for media placement.

The audit report 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.

Both before and since becoming prime minister in August last year, Scott Morrison has refused to answer questions about why the tourism minister took the unusual step in July 2006 of sacking him as head of the agency. He has also refused to answer questions about the handling of the contracts, which were signed the previous year. He did not respond to questions for this story before time of press. (Click here to read the full article)

It’s starting to become more obvious by the day why the Scott Morrison is so keen to crack down on whistleblowers because there are probably a few dozen people in government who know the real reasons for Morrison’s sacking and if they have access to the documents they could bring him down. Morrison has known he is in trouble for 6 months since Karen Middleton started her FOI requests for documents from government departments. That would be an added reason why the Morrison government have gone so hard after whistleblowers in the last few months.

It must be remembered that Scott Morrison has only been Prime Minister since the 24th of August 2018 and not much was known about his background before then so uncovering his history will heat up now with the article by Middleton. There won’t be any turning back and journalists will continue to dig until the truth comes out and even more so since the Morrison government has gone on the attack against journalists with the AFP raids over the last week.

I published an article on the 5th of April titled “Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his dirty deal with the Labor Party and Sam Dastyari” in relation to Morrison’s dirty tactics to be pre-selected for the Liberal Party in the seat of Cook in 2007 and the article helps fill in the pieces considering the new details of his sacking the year before from Tourism Australia. (Click here to read more)

It’s interesting that on Thursday (6/6/19) the Government and AFP trotted out the acting commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Neil Gaughan, to threaten journalists further and deny that the AFP held back the raids on the ABC and the News Corp journalist’s home until after the federal election. One raid, maybe, but for 2 AFP raids on the media 3 weeks after the election, it is too much to believe it wasn’t a political decision by the AFP not to upset the government. Mr Gaughan didn’t do a very good job and was carved up by a Twitter user who specializes in body language as per below. (In the below tweet BL = body language)

From the pictures, it was not too hard to work out that Neil Gaughan was lying like there was no tomorrow at the press conference which might explain why AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin wasn’t there and he sent out a patsy to take the heat.

Morrison’s Wikipedia page says: “He lost his job in 2006, apparently due to conflict with tourism minister Fran Bailey over the government’s plans to further integrate the agency into the Australian Public Service.” (Click here to read more) That now needs updating given the new revelations.

This story is just starting and the pressure will keep building until something gives.

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Tourism Australia appoints M&C Saatchi, Digitas


Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 6 December 2018


Tourism Australia has appointed M&C Saatchi as its lead creative agency and Digitas as its digital agency after a six month long pitch process, AdNews can reveal.

It’s a major coup for M&C Saatchi being one of the most prestigious and high profile accounts in Australia.

M&C Saatchi last held the account in between 2005-2008 under Scott Morrison’s reign as managing director. The agency launched the iconic ‘Where the bloody hell are you’ campaign for Tourism Australia, but later lost the account to DDB.

M&C Saatchi beat incumbent Clemenger Sydney in the PwC-run pitch, as well as DDB Sydney, BMF, Droga5 and Publicis Communications.

Clemenger Sydney took the account from DDB in 2013 with Tourism Australia also appointing DT (now AKQA), to handle its digital account at the time.

Publicis agency Digitas will now lead the digital creative services, replacing AKQA which defended the account in the digital pitch process.

The dual pitch processes ran separately but during the same time period and were led by CMO Lisa Ronson. Ronson has quickly become one of Australia’s most high profile marketers since taking the top job in 2014. This is first pitch she’s run in her time at Tourism Australia.

M&C Saatchi is now tasked with leading the creative output for Tourism Australia globally with China, UK, US and South East Asia identified as key markets, inking a three year contract. It also will re-evaluate the long-standing ‘There’s Nothing Like Australia’ platform.

M&C Saatchi’s tourism creds

M&C Saatchi has a long-standing history with Tourism Australia, having launched the Lara Bingle-fronted spot that has become infamous across the world. The campaign was banned across the UK for its use of the word ‘bloody’.

Its effectiveness has been debated, with some praising the ad for its provocativeness and memorability, but others criticising the work for not appealing to overseas tourists and using inappropriate language.

When M&C Saatchi won the account back in 2005, it gave up its position as creative agency for Tourism New Zealand. It was M&C Saatchi that coined the ‘100% Pure’ tagline for Tourism New Zealand – a tagline that is still used today.

Once a pitching machine, M&C Saatchi hasn’t landed a significant account in several years. It also lost the NRMA business last year, but Tourism Australia could mark the start of its revival heading into 2019.

No return for Droga5

A controversial part of the pitch process was the shortlisting of Droga5.

The New York-based agency hasn’t had a Sydney office since its abrupt departure from the Australian market in 2015. 

Following the success of Droga5’s Tourism Australia Super Bowl work, which teased bringing back the Crocodile Dundee movie, the agency landed itself on the pitch, ruffling the feathers of some local agencies. 

AdNews understands to win the account Droga5 was looking to tie-up with Thinkerbell. The speculation was strengthened when Thinkerbell launched the next iteration of the Crocodile Dundee campaign in October. 

According to sources, Tourism Australia was encouraging Droga5 to open a local office to service the account, but David Droga wasn’t interested in officially returning to the market.

If Thinkerbell was appointed, it’s likely the decision would have raised questions around a conflict of interest, with PwC – which owns a stake in the agency, running the pitch process. 

AdNews understands Droga5 was involved in the last TA creative tender back in 2013 and agreed to partner with Ogilvy to secure the account, but ultimately lost out to Clemenger and DT.

ScoMo’s missing contracts?

The Senate is currently chasing Tourism Australia for media and advertising contracts to the value of $100m that have been unaccounted for under the leadership of now PM, Morrison, between 2005-2008.

Last week, the senate supported a Labor motion to order the government to produce “all documents” relating to any contracts Tourism Australia entered between January 1, 2004 and January 31, 2006. It demanded the contracts be tabled this week.

The contracts involved M&C Saatchi, the first spanning across global creative advertising services. It covered the design, production and rollout of the controversial “Where the bloody hell are you?” tourism campaign, which was filmed offshore.

Details of the contracts themselves are not available on the AusTender website, where government contracts are posted. Morrison insisted they are confidential because the services they covered were delivered overseas.

Tourism Australia and all agencies mentioned declined to comment on the appointment. An announcement is expected in coming weeks.

*Update: Thinkerbell has confirmed it did not take part in the pitch process with Droga5

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