Alex Hawke says he has nothing but the “highest regard” for former prime minister Scott Morrison, despite newly published quotes in which he conceded his close friend had made a severe error in judgment.
The member for Mitchell has rebuked views attributed to him in author Niki Savva’s new book ‘Bulldozed’ in which Mr Hawke – who is one of Mr Morrison’s closest friends in parliament – said the former prime minister should have “quit parliament” immediately after the election.
Savva writes Mr Hawke believed staying would “risk (him) becoming bitter and twisted”.
Mr Hawke also told Savva Mr Morrison got “addicted to executive authority” when speaking about his secret ministerial portfolio appointments.
Mr Hawke told Savva Mr Morrison “didn’t really want to take advice from people” and “wasn’t the greatest listener”.
In a statement, Mr Hawke said reports “ascribing certain views” regarding Mr Morrison “are not representative of views I hold about him”.
“I have only the highest regard for his character, ability and service as Prime Minister,” he said.
“Indeed, we have been friends for many years and my long-term, consistent, and positive views about Scott Morrison are well known, and my views on the great success of the Government under his leadership are forever on the public record to see.”
Mr Hawke said the “administrative decisions” taken by Mr Morrison regarding his appointment to additional portfolios “made sense at the time they were taken”.
“My only concern is in not ultimately being made aware of the unusual reserve administrative arrangements, even though these were clearly emergency and pandemic related,” he said.
Leader of the House Tony Burke will move a censure motion on Wednesday morning against the former prime minister following the handing down of the Bell report.
The opposition, including Mr Hawke, has lashed the decision.
“I don’t believe Australians support this political charged, payback approach,” Mr Hawke said.
Earlier, Mr Morrison thanked the party room for their support in recent days.
Story Credit: news.com.au