Scott Morrison Has Spent As Much Time Globe-Trotting As Kevin '747' Rudd
Scott Morrison has been dubbed 'the frequent flyer from the Shire' with new data showing the PM is on track to spend just as much time overseas as Kevin Rudd in his first two years as Prime Minister.
In 16 months, Morrison has spent the equivalent of two months abroad, visiting 28 destinations on 17 separate trips, costing the taxpayer $1.2 million.
Rudd's frequent overseas trips earned him the nickname 'Kevin 747', but Cronulla-dwelling Morrison has been dubbed "the frequent flyer from the Shire" by Labor.
In response to a Senate estimates question from Labor's Kimberley Kitching about Morrison's official overseas travel since ascending to the top job in August 2018, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet provided a list of 17 trips -- the first, to Indonesia, just a week after Morrison won the Liberal leadership following a party room revolt against Malcolm Turnbull.
Costs met by the taxpayer for the 28 locations visited -- from Singapore to Suva, Buenos Aires to Bangkok, New York to Nadi -- totalled $1,237,195.
In September last year, it was revealed Morrison had visited more countries in his first year in the top job than any of his recent predecessors, visiting one more country than Rudd.
Rudd, however, spent some $3.4 million on overseas travel in his first 12 months as PM and spent more days overseas than Morrison.
Morrison spent 64 days on overseas trips in the 15 months between August 30, 2018, when he flew to Jakarta, and November 5, 2019, when he returned from the East Asia summit in Bangkok -- that's more than two whole months, nearly 15 per cent of that 432-day period.
"Really he's just the frequent flyer from the Shire," Kitching told 10 News First.
"The Prime Minister said only this morning that one of the things that he learnt over this summer was that he has to show up. Well, he spent two months out of 15 overseas."
The Prime Minister's office told 10 News First that "he only travels overseas when it is necessary and will deliver outcomes that benefit Australian families and businesses."
Much of Morrison's travel has been focused on the nearby Asia-Pacific, with 18 of his trips being to some of our closest neighbours -- the Solomon Islands, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Fiji, Thailand, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, and visiting the Pacific Islands Forum and East Asia summit.
The PM also travels with a large entourage, bringing up to 17 staff at a time in his travelling party when he visited the United States last September. When he visited Auckland last February for leaders talks, 14 staff came along with him.
Morrison's most expensive trip was a nine-day American journey when he visited Washington DC for a state dinner hosted by President Donald Trump, then Wapakoneta, Ohio to open a recycling plant owned by Aussie billionaire Anthony Pratt. This was followed by stops in Chicago, and New York City to address the United Nations.
That trip in September 2019 cost $199,964.
In June, a four-day trip to Osaka, Japan for the G20 summit was just a shade easier on the wallet, at $194,759.
The list of trips provided by the department detail official trips, not private holidays -- like Morrison's vacation to Hawaii.