Jet-setting Scott Morrison has made an appearance in Canberra to be sworn in as an MP after he skipped Parliament last week to attend an international conference in Japan.
The former Prime Minister was joined by Barnaby Joyce, who was forced to rush home last week after his 98 year old father James Joyce died at the family home.
Now that Mr Morrison has been sworn in as an MP he has 28 days to reveal to Parliament if he was being paid when he attended the international event.
The man who hosted the Tokyo address is Haruhisa Handa, a Japanese sect leader, businessman, self-help author and philanthropist in Australia who sponsors the opera.
He also leads the Shinto-based religion World Mate, formerly known as Powerful Cosmo Mate.
The organisation previously settled sexual harassment allegations and had a tax evasion claim dismissed in the 1990s.
There’s speculation in the Liberal Party that Mr Morrison was paid up to $50,000 or more to attend the event, plus air tickets.
But the former prime minister has yet to reveal if he was paid – and how much – and may be able to simply stipulate he was paid a speakers’ fee without revealing to Parliament how much he was paid.
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Mr Morrison had barely packed away his passport and suitcase from his trip to the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul a fortnight ago before jetting off again.
In a statement, Mr Morrison insisted he didn’t know parliament was on in July when he booked his trip.
“I will return to Australia to be present in the parliament on August 1,’’ he said.
However, it soon emerged that he was skipping the entire first sitting week of parliament to attend a conference that did not begin until Thursday night.
He was travelling in Japan with his wife, Jenny Morrison, and insisted it was “privately funded” without revealing by whom.
Labor frontbencher Tony Burke warned if Mr Morrison was getting paid to attend the conference while skipping parliament, he needed to declare it.
“If someone’s being paid to do another job, then I’m not sure how they get away with the taxpayers paying them to do this one,’’ he said.
So far, the former prime minister has not denied he was accepting paid work while parliament was sitting – only that it will be declared in due course.
“Mr Morrison will be complying with the disclosure requirements for members of the Australian parliament as and when they are required to be made,’’ a spokeswoman said.
The former Prime Minister said on Facebook that the opportunity to join other former PMs from Canada, UK, Ireland and NZ in Japan was too good to pass up.
“An important opportunity to meet up again with current and former PMs Kishida and Suga as well key Japanese business and industry partners who are heavily investing in Australia, especially in our hydrogen and resources sector, including Inpex, Kawasaki, Nippon Steel, Mitsubishi, ENEOS, J-Power, Itochu and Sumitomo,’’ he said.
“The Japan-Australia relationship has never been stronger and it is important to continue to take every opportunity to strengthen our engagement.
“Key to our discussions this week was the centrality of achieving energy security within the Indo-Pacific to achieve broader economic and regional security.”