Mr Morrison alluded to crying about the fate of young asylum seekers held in Nauru and Papua New Guinea at a fund raising lunch for the Lifeline suicide-prevention service. “You’ll find yourself on your knees. You’ll find yourself in tears,” he told a Sydney audience last November.
Refugee advocates say Mr Morrison’s stated beliefs are inconsistent with his policies.
“I think his view on asylum seekers is deeply hypocritical,” Melbourne barrister Julian Burnside said. “If you look at his maiden speech at which he parades his deep Christian beliefs, that’s absolutely irreconcilable with his treatment of asylum seekers. I don’t think any politician deserves to be taken seriously who says that.”
Mrs Morrison said that she woke at 5.45am to take her two primary-aged children, Abigail and Lily, to school in their father’s southern Sydney electorate.
The decision to stay at the school means their education will not be disrupted if the Coalition loses power at this year’s election and the Morrisons vacate Kirribilli House.
But Mrs Morrison has to commute for about two-and-a-half hours a day from the prime minister’s residence on the lower north shore to and from the Sutherland Shire on the city’s southern fringe.
“I might be the prime minister’s wife but I’m still a mum with two young girls and trying to keep things as normal as possible,” Mrs Morrison said in the interview. “One of those things was staying in a school they are familiar with because they are staying in an unfamiliar house.
“I think maybe people picture your life as the wife of the prime minister is glamorous, amazing and exciting. But no, I am doing the same thing everyone else does. It’s hard work being a parent.”
Mrs Morrison did concede she was excited hosting Princess Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, in Sydney last October. “He is very charming and quite good looking,” she said. “He’s got very beautiful eyes.”
Some prime minister’s spouses have been involved in behind-the-scenes politics, including Lucy Turnbull, Janette Howard and Therese Rhein, Kevin Rudd’s wife. Others have been more apolitical, such as Margie Abbott and Tim Mathieson, Julia Gillard’s partner.
A nurse, the couple attended a Christian youth camp together and started dating at 16. Mrs Morrison said her husband sometimes tests out ideas on her but she regarded herself as a political lay person.
“He doesn’t make policy for me, I can assure you,” she said. “We disagree on things probably a lot.”
The Nine Honey website has been pushing Mr Morrison’s office for some time for access to his wife, a source said. When Mrs Morrison finally agreed she asked for the interview to be conducted by Ms McCabe, who had spoken to the Morrisons for a 2015 profile of the couple in the Australian Women’s Weekly.
As Nine’s digital content director, Ms McCabe oversees the Nine.com.au news and entertainment website. Nine Honey, which is a part of the site, competes with Mamma Mia, Daily Life and other online media outlets aimed at female readers. The Australian Financial Review is owned by Nine too.