Scott Morrison reveals he was prescribed anxiety medication during prime ministership

Scott Morrison has revealed he was placed on medication to cope with “debilitating and agonising” anxiety during his tumultuous prime ministership as he navigated the Covid pandemic and Australia’s showdown with China.

Speaking to The Australian ahead of the release of his new book, Plans for Your Good: A Prime Minister’s Testimony of God’s Faithfulness, the former PM said that without medication he would have fallen into a serious depression during his time in The Lodge from 2018 to 2022.

“I think it just sort of built up,” he told the newspaper.

“I couldn’t put my finger on a particular time. It was a very stressful period and the combination of the weight of issues, the length of hours that we were working, the physical demands that brought and to be honest the stuff around China was as, if not more, distressing than the pandemic. You’re flesh and blood and so it would start to impact you.”

Opening up in his book for the first time about his mental health challenges, the 55-year-old said he sought help from his doctor in Canberra who prescribed him the medication.

“My doctor was amazed I had lasted as long as I had before seeking help,” he reportedly writes.

“Without this help, serious depression would have manifested. What impacted me was the combination of pure physical exhaustion with the unrelenting and callous brutality of politics and media attacks.”

The former PM adds in the book that he tried other methods to deal with his anxiety, such as swimming and cooking, but these were not enough.

“You dread the future and you can’t get out of bed,” he writes. “It can shut you down mentally and physically.”

The Australian describes the book as not a traditional political memoir but “rather an unusual blend of how his own faith as a Christian ­intersected with his time as Prime Minister”, in which he “speaks of how his faith sustained him and guided him on issues including the Covid pandemic, the creation of the AUKUS nuclear submarine pact and the threat posed by China”.

As Prime Minister, Mr Morrison oversaw the country’s controversial pandemic response, including the establishment of national cabinet in March 2020, international border closures and hotel quarantine, lockdowns and social distancing measures, and later the rollout the Covid vaccines, which were made mandatory for vast swathes of the workforce.

“We do not have a mandatory vaccination policy in this country, we do not have that, we are not proposing to have that, that is not changing,” Mr Morrison said after a national cabinet meeting in August 2021.

He also infamously angered Chinese officials in 2020 after calling for an independent inquiry into the origins of Covid. This led China to impose a series of trade tariffs on Australian products including wine and barley, some of which have since been lifted.

After losing the 2022 federal election to Anthony Albanese, Mr Morrison announced his resignation from politics at the start of this year and left parliament in February.

The outgoing Member for Cook reflected on his 16-year political career in a tearful final speech to parliament, with a heavy focus on his Christian faith and a warning against a “rise in secularism” in Australia.

In a brief nod to the laundry list of controversies he faced while serving as Prime Minister, which included secretly appointing himself to multiple government ministries, Mr Morrison said he planned to leave politics “released from any bitterness”.

“This is due to my faith in Jesus Christ, which gives me the faith to both forgive but also to be honest about my own failings and shortcomings,” he said.

He also went on to warn against what he described as growing threats within the Indo-Pacific, citing his role in the architecture of the AUKUS joint nuclear submarine deal.

“Our government stood firm against coercion of an aggressive Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, who thought we would shrink when pressed,” he said.

“Indeed, we not only stood firm, but worked with our allies and partners and those in our region who countered this threat to regional peace.”

Shortly after his exit from politics, Mr Morrison joined AUKUS-linked DYNE Maritime as a strategic adviser alongside former US Secretary of State and ex-CIA director Mike Pompeo.

He also joined corporate advisory firm American Global Strategies as a non-executive director.

“Scott Morrison signed Australia up to AUKUS, one of the most costly decisions in this country’s history, and now he is marching out of parliament and straight into a corporate job that is fuelled by money from AUKUS,” Greens defence spokesman David Shoebridge said last month.

“No one should be allowed to cruise on the backbench, running the time down on the pathetic 18-month ministerial pause on working for industries they regulated, all the while lining up jobs with those very industries.”

The ministerial code of conduct and the lobbying code of conduct require that former ministers serve an 18-month cooling-off period before lobbying on issues related to their former portfolio.

— with NCA NewsWire

Read related topics:ChinaScott Morrison

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