SO THERE we have it, the 30th Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, Member for Cook (a federal seat in NSW, Sutherland Shire), the next era of the Liberal party leadership looking to take the Liberal/National coalition forward to govern, but more importantly prepare for the next Federal Election.
Prime Minister Morrison is a former ceo of Tourism Australia, and is most recently known as the Federal Treasurer who had a big fight with the industry over the working holiday maker visa tax and the increase to the passenger movement charge currently set at $60 per passenger departure. So only time will tell if he will in fact be a Prime
Minister for the travel and tourism industry. To do this job in cabinet, Morrison has appointed Senator, Simon Birmingham to the position of Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
Senator Birmingham is also well known to the tourism industry having previously worked for an industry association in our sector and has always been a close friend to many in the industry as he has forged his career in parliament. From a travel industry perspective, the other Minister who is very important to us is the Foreign Minister who is the boss of DFAT.
Julie Bishop has been an outstanding Foreign Minister and a very good friend to AFTA over her time in the job. We wish her well as she leaves the ministry. The Prime Minister has elected to place Senator Marise Payne in the job of Foreign Minister and once again she has been a person who has kept a close eye on the travel and tourism industry over her time in parliament and will no doubt do well in this role.
While all these people including the Prime Minister will be new to their positions, the big question is - how long will they be in these roles? The Federal Election could be as early as this year, say Nov, but could also push out to Mar/Apr 2019, but unlikely to go much past then due to the Federal Budget being handed down in May each year. Governments tend to like to have a bit of time before the Budget to get things in place and prepared.
Also, will the Coalition win the election? This is the bigger question really and of course, if they don’t win all of this change will be a short memory for all, including those in the roles. As with all things Canberra, there is never a dull moment as things just keep on changing and keeping all of us who work in the political environment on our toes. On a final note, I would like to acknowledge the excellent work done by the former Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, Steven Ciobo. Steven has been an outstanding friend to the travel and tourism industry for his entire time
in parliament and in particular a loyal friend to AFTA. I am sure as he takes up his new role of Minister of Defence Industry, he will look back at his time with the travel and tourism industry and trade and have memories of good times in the past.
We all need to buckle up now and see how this new Prime Minister and Ministers responsible for the travel and tourism industry look to support us and bring in policies that make a positive difference to the industry and all those who work in it.