Scott Morrison was seen patiently waiting for a ferry in scorching temperatures on his European holiday just weeks after he was condemned by a royal commission report into the Robodate scandal.
The former prime minister, his wife Jenny and their two daughters boarded a Seajet ferry to Sifnos in Greece’s Cyclades islands at 12:15pm local time on Wednesday, as the country was gripped by a severe heat wave and temperatures exceeding 41 degrees Celsius.
The trip, with ticket prices starting at €65 ($107 AUD), takes travelers on two and a half journeys to Athens, stopping at several Greek islands along the way.
Mr Morrison, traveling on Royal Australian Air Force VIP jets, sat in a cramped space with other passengers and their luggage under the hot sun for about 30 minutes as he waited to board.
He wore a navy blue polo, beige shorts, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a white cap over his luggage while listening to audio on his AirPods.
Scott Morrison is pictured sitting in a cramped area waiting for a ferry in scorching temperatures on the Greek island of Sifnos
Ferry trips, with tickets starting at €65 ($107 AUD), take travelers from Sifnos to Athens on the two-and-a-half journey, stopping at several Greek islands along the way.
A passenger on the boat, who did not want to be named, told Daily Mail Australia that the former prime minister seemed reluctant to recognise.
‘At first it was hard to recognize him because he kept his head down,’ the man said.
‘He was very aware of the people around him, perhaps not wanting to be recognized as the islands are popular with Australian travellers.’
‘She had her AirPods in Skomo, not really saying much to her family. He often had his head on his phone, probably to help keep his head down.’
The traveler noticed that his behavior was completely different from that of his wife.
‘Mrs Morrison was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the ferry and was excited – engaging with other passengers and giving them advice on where the ferry would stop,’ they said.
‘Mr Morrison was somewhat more reserved, with an anxious disposition and only murmured a few words to his family.’
The former prime minister and his family were waiting to board with their luggage, while they sat among other passengers
A passenger on the same ferry told Daily Mail Australia that Mr Morrison seemed unrecognizable as he kept his head down and focused on the phone.
He was wearing a navy blue polo, beige shorts, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a white hat on top of his luggage while listening to audio on his AirPods.
The scene was a far cry from when Mr Morrison drove around in a chauffeured car during his prime ministership.
The passenger added that the Morrisons ‘made a dash to put their luggage below deck’ as passengers were allowed to board the ferry.
They then queued up to take their seats in a small premium class cabin with less than 20 seats.
‘The whole family was sporting a healthy dose and it looked like it wasn’t the first stop on their European summer holiday,’ the person said.
‘If they don’t spend a few nights in Athens, they will probably catch a flight to another foreign destination. They seem to be traveling modestly as they catch a commercial ferry.’
The Morrisons began coming down to Athens to continue their family vacations.
The traveler noticed that the behavior of the former prime minister was completely different from that of his wife. While he was in ‘high spirits’ and ‘engaged with the other passengers’, he was ‘very reserved, with an anxious disposition and only murmured a few words to his family’.
They added that as passengers were allowed to board the ferry, Morrison ‘made a dash to put their luggage below deck’.
The scene was a far cry from when Mr Morrison would board a Royal Australian Air Force VIP jet or ride in a chauffeured car.
It comes weeks after the Robodate royal commission report was published, condemning its involvement in the ‘incompetent and cowardly’ project.
RoboDate is an automated method of calculating the alleged debt of welfare recipients by matching their estimated annual income to their reported salary, estimated by averaging data from the Australian Taxation Office.
Operating from 2015 to 2019, Robodate was shut down after it was found to be illegal.
But by then it had illegally extorted nearly $2 billion from more than 400,000 people and was linked to several suicides.
Commissioner Catherine Holmes handed down the findings after a massive nine-week inquiry into how the welfare debt recovery scheme was run by the former government which analyzed more than a million documents and interviewed more than 100 witnesses.
He determined that Mr Morrison had ‘allowed the Cabinet to be misled’ and given ‘untruthful’ evidence to the commission about income averages, one of the most controversial and ultimately illegal aspects of the now infamous scheme.
As Minister for Social Services, Mr Morrison was ‘responsible for administering social security legislation in accordance with the law’ when Robodate was established.
The report found: ‘Ministers are expected to take full responsibility for the content, quality and accuracy of advice given to Cabinet in their name.
‘Mr Morrison contributed to a certain atmosphere’ through his ‘strong language’ which put pressure on civil servants to ‘carry on and deliver’.
‘The policy direction set by Mr Morrison in the Social Services portfolio, as communicated by him publicly, was one of “ensuring the integrity of welfare”… Inadvertent non-compliance was often mentioned in the same breath as fraud, and any No pains have been taken to emphasize the distinction.’
The taxpayer was billed $477,528 for Mr. Morrison’s legal representation during the commission hearing.
Mr Morrison was pictured dining in Rome with his family on holiday in late June before handing down the Royal Commission’s report.
Much of Mr Morrison’s time in office has been marred by controversy, including taking his family on holiday to Hawaii during Australia’s worst bushfire season, inviting his embattled pastor Brian Houston to an official White House dinner and, after leaving office, revealing he had secretly recruited himself. Several ministries during the tenure of the Prime Minister.
Despite all this, Mr Morrison has retained his position as MP for Cook’s Sutherland Shire constituency – replete with a $211,250-a-year pay packet.
The former prime minister now spends his time sitting in the far corner of the backbench – as much work as can be done for a federal MP, leaning over his iPad next to his friend Alex Hawke.
He has spoken only a few times since losing the 2022 election – most recently in Parliament on June 13 to clarify his prior knowledge of Britney Higgins’ sexual assault allegations.
Scott Morrison was spotted on his infamous vacation in Hawaii in 2019 during the devastating bushfires across Australia.
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