Scott Morrison has taken a crippling financial hit since he was dumped by voters and dropped to the backbench under new Coalition leader Peter Dutton.
Now insiders tip him to quit politics soon and take a high-paying job in big business, or even hit the lucrative Christian speaker circuit as a preacher in the US.
Mr Morrison had his annual PM’s salary of $549,250 slashed overnight, dropping dramatically from $45,750 a month, worth $26,692 a month after tax.
Instead he’ll now have to get by on a standard MP’s salary of $2,717 a week after tax on his new $211,250 a year pay packet.
That still equates to $107 an hour – compared to the minimum wage of $20.33 – but his daughters’ private school fees will eat up a quarter of that by themselves.
Ex-Prime Minister Scott Morrison faces a crippling financial hit after he was dumped by voters and dropped to the backbench under new Coalition leader Peter Dutton
He also lost access to the all-expenses-paid lifestyle that came with being PM, along with official residences and staff at Kirribilli House in Sydney and The Lodge in Canberra.
As PM, he could draw on $2 million a year in expenses – including staff costs – running up a bill of almost $600,000 between April and June 2021 alone.
By comparison, backbench Liberal MP Bridget Archer claimed about $35,000 a month in total for office, travel and staff expenses over the same period.
The Australian PM’s salary is one of the highest in the world, ranking fifth best-paid among world leaders, and around 10 times the nation’s median wage.
Mr Morrison admitted earlier this year he didn’t know the price of milk or the cost of rapid antigen tests – but he’s about to get a sudden refresher in the cost of living.
His dramatic change in fortunes means he’ll now be confronted with the harsh realities of soaring inflation and rising interest rates.
Scott Morrison return to the back benches sees his salary slashed overnight from $45750 a month to $2717 a week after tax, with a mortgage to pay and two daughters in private school
Despite the big bucks salary he’s enjoyed since taking the PM’s role from Malcolm Turnbull in the 2018 Liberal leadership coup, the ex-PM still has a mortgage.
In his most recent entry in the register of MPs’ interests, Mr Morrison revealed he is still paying off their Port Hacking family home in Sydney’s south.
He and wife Jenny bought the three-bedroom house in 2009 for $920,000 – now estimated to be worth about $ 3million – with a loan from the Commonwealth Bank.
School fees for daughters Abbey, 14, and Lily, 12, will also eat a huge chunk out of his backbench salary.
Their elite Baptist school charges almost $36,000 a year for them both (although he does get a 10 per cent reduction for having two children enrolled), which is equal to about a quarter of his annual take-home pay.
School fees for for daughters Abbey, 14, and Lily, 12, cost $36,000 a year, a quarter of the ex-PM’s new take home salary
TOP FIVE BEST PAID WORLD LEADERS
Highest-paid world leader, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on $2.3million pa
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong $2.3 million per year
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam $941,790
Switzerland President Ignazio Cassis $703,840
US President Joe Biden $555, 240
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese $549,250
He has also previously revealed he even has an overdraft facility with the Commonwealth Bank, as well as a couple of credit cards.
There is now speculation Mr Morrison will quickly tire of his new life as a semi-anonymous daggy dad in Sydney’s suburbs, and will yearn for a return to the limelight and a way to maximise his earnings.
New Opposition leader Peter Dutton is already braced for an early by-election in Mr Morrison’s Sydney seat of Cook in Sutherland Shire when the ex-PM decides to quit.
Mr Dutton named his new shadow Cabinet over the weekend, with no spot for Mr Morrison on the Opposition frontbench.
‘He’s gone to the back bench now; he’s not sought a position on the frontbench,’ Mr Dutton said.
‘The reality is – as we saw with Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and others right since federation – that you would expect to see a by-election at some stage.
‘But that’s an issue for Scott to work on and I’ll have those conversations with him at the appropriate time.
‘For now, I’m sure he’s concentrating on spending more time with his family, with his beautiful daughters, and just getting back to a normal life.’
A move to the US Christian speaker circuit could be the answer with guest sermons – like the one he gave at his local Horizon Pentecostal Church the day after his election loss – earning between $50,000 to $70,000 a pop in America, plus travel expenses. Some keynote speakers can command $100,000 a go in fees.
Close mate Brian Houston, the disgraced former pastor of Hillsong Church (see here with wife Bobbi), is now said to be earning big bucks by preaching on the religious circuit in Europe
He could even phone it in from home, with motivational virtual video sermons over the internet said to still earn between $15,000 and $30,000 each.
His close mate Brian Houston, the disgraced former pastor of Hillsong Church, is now said to be earning big bucks by preaching on the religious circuit in Europe.
‘Ex-PMs on the speaker circuit can get up to $100,000 in Australia – and much more in America,’ speaker industry expert David Straughton told Daily Mail Australia.
‘These guys still have phenomenal connections – you’re not really paying to hear them talk, you’re paying for access to them and who they know.
‘In the US, the faith market, as the Christian speaker circuit is known there, is about 40 per cent of the total market. It’s huge. There is massive money there too.’
Insiders tip Scott Morrison to quit politics soon and take a high-paying job in big business, or even hit the lucrative Christian speaker circuit as a preacher in the US delivering sermons as he did the day at his local Horizon pentecostal church after his election defeat
But he warned the ex-PM may have his work cut out trying to crack it there.
‘They’d go, “Who?” I think he’d struggle – he could try to use his Hillsong connections – but they have their own problems at the moment,’ he added.
Mr Morrison could also follow in the footsteps of former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and join the board or take a C-Suite job at a multinational giant, like she did with Optus.
Mr Straughton added: ‘A spot on the board or $100,000 speaker gigs is a great way for companies to repay politicians who have helped them while in power.’
Either way, there seems there is little hope of a political comeback for Mr Morrison.
‘Some ex-leaders or PMs stay around, others don’t, so there’s no set pattern,’ Australian National University professor Ian McAllister said.
‘Our surveys show he was the least popular party leader since we started polling on it in 1987.
‘His lack of popularity among the public would suggest that he will not have much medium or long term future in politics.’
Meanwhile, Labor’s Anthony Albanese has seen his annual salary go up by more than 40 per cent from $390,820 a year as opposition leader to $549,250 as the new PM.
Mr Dutton’s salary has also gone up despite the Coalition losing power.
His pay rose from $364,406 as defence minister to $390,820 as the new opposition leader.