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Scott Morrison reveals health issues on eve of book launch

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Former PM Scott Morrison has admitted to suffering from depression and anxiety (Screenshot via YouTube)

Former PM Scott Morrison has revealed his struggles with mental health, but many are criticising the revelations as a publicity stunt to promote his upcoming book. Belinda Jones reports.

FORMER PRIME MINISTER Scott Morrison has claimed in a recent social media post that he suffered from anxiety and depression while in office.

Morrison’s post linked an article in The Australian and ended with a plug for the website of his new book, Plans For Your Good.

Unsurprisingly, the reaction from social media users was swift and unequivocal. For many social media users, it was a prompt to recall the many times during Morrison’s Prime ministership when his political decisions were the impetus to many Australians and others suffering anxiety and depression.

For almost 400,000 Australians, then-Treasurer Morrison’s illegal Robodebt scheme caused real pain and anxiety, but there was little empathy from Morrison at the time or since. His determination to recoup millions from vulnerable Australians through an illegal scheme so he could get the Budget “back in black” ignored the pleas of thousands of wrongfully accused Robodebt victims. 

Faced with the threat of prison – “We will find you, we will track you down, you will have to repay those debts and some of you may end up in prison” – some took their own life, in many cases because of the anxiety and depression that resulted from Morrison’s heinous scheme.

Empathy from the Robodebt cohort of victims was in short supply on social media for the Prime Minister, who took taxpayer-funded empathy lessons while in office.

Prior to becoming Treasurer and Prime Minister, Morrison was the hardline Immigration Minister who enacted a brutal regime for asylum seekers. In a video ‘which was originally intended to be shown to asylum seekers in detention centres run by Australia’, an empathy-less Morrison tells those fleeing persecution to “go home” or face “a very, very long time” in detention. 

True to his word, Morrison oversaw the system that saw thousands linger in offshore detention for years, some taking their own lives.

The Nauru Files documented more than 2,100 incident reports which revealed systemic sexual and physical abuse of children and widespread self-harm and suicide attempts’. Morrison remained unmoved by these incident reports and stoically remained on his hardline immigration path.

In April 2021, mainstream media reported Morrison had ‘bowed to mounting political pressure’ to establish a Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide when it was revealed there was a backlog of 25,000 claims under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.

The Interim Report from the Royal Commission into Veteran Suicide was scathing of the Morrison Government’s actions:

‘In our view, the lack of response and progress from June 2019 to mid-May 2022 amounted to a dereliction of the Australian Government’s duty to veterans.’

During his time as Treasurer and Prime Minister, Morrison made significant cuts to health spending, putting pressure on all services, particularly mental health services.

In 2016, then Opposition Leader and Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten, said:

“Cutting Medicare is in the Coalition’s DNA. Scott Morrison has launched the biggest attack on Medicare in decades with one in six rebate items changing.”

Also, while in office, Morrison garnered a reputation for bullying women. He was described by former MP Julia Banks as menacing, controlling wallpaper. Former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate described Morrison’s treatment of her as “an utter disgrace” and the “worst bullying I’ve ever witnessed”.

In 2021, after Brittany Higgins revealed her story of being raped in Parliament House, a tone-deaf Morrison had to have his wife, Jenny, clarify the seriousness of the situation with the advice that he had “to think about this as a father first. What would you want to happen if it were our girls?”

Sexual abuse survivor and 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame succinctly summed up the feelings of many Australian women in response to Morrison’s lack of clarity:

“It shouldn’t take having children to have a conscience. And, actually, on top of that, having children doesn’t guarantee a conscience.”

Consequently, there was little empathy for Morrison from women on social media, who recognised retrospectively that all these incidents of Morrison’s lack of empathy for those suffering debilitating mental health issues took place in the same time frame Morrison now says he was suffering from anxiety and depression.

Interestingly, this recent admission continues a trend that Morrison has exhibited over the years of using the timing of revealing personal health issues to promote himself. 

Back in 2019, just prior to the Federal Election that year, it was revealed in mainstream media that Morrison’s wife Jenny had had a “gut-wrenching” 14-year battle with infertility.

Then in 2022, just before that year's Federal Election, Jenny Morrison again “opened up” to the mainstream media about her “excruciating” battle with endometriosis. This round of media also coincided with a policy announcement by Morrison of a $58 million commitment to fund endometriosis treatment and services.

And now, in April 2024, just prior to his book launch in May, Morrison himself has “opened up” about his waves of anxiety and “serious depression” that required medication while in office.

Morrison stated on social media that:

‘Sharing my story is intended to encourage others and normalise and de-stigmatise what is very common for many Australians.’

The trend of airing of these personal revelations in national media seems to be timed perfectly for maximum exposure on the eve of a big event in Morrison’s life, to promote himself or something he is doing. 

For many ordinary Australians suffering similar health issues as the Morrisons, these perfectly-timed revelations are cynically seen as a marketing tool for self-promotion by Morrison rather than a genuine attempt to encourage or de-stigmatise the plight of fellow sufferers.

For support with any of the issues raised in this article, please contact:

You can follow Belinda Jones on Twitter @belindajones68.

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