“That’s going to be true for many families around the country this year; there’ll be one less place and I’m thinking of all of them as well,” Mr Morrison told radio 2GB. “We’ll miss him, but it’ll be great to be all together.”
Senate president Scott Ryan is one politician who is incredibly grateful to be headed home for Christmas. The Melbourne native has been ensconced in the Canberra bubble with his family since August to avoid the strict two-week quarantine before every sitting that ACT health officials imposed on Victorian politicians.
Education Minister Dan Tehan has a summer of homegrown delights in his regional Victorian electorate of Wannon planned. This includes “the hole-in-one competition at Warrnambool, fish and chips on the wharf at Port Fairy, a swim at Cape Bridgewater beach at Portland, a hike in the Grampians, an ice cream in Timboon and a visit to the 12 Apostles”.
Nationals frontbencher Darren Chester was also spruiking the delights of regional Victoria, intending to spend his summer in his home region of Gippsland.
“I think Australians are all very tired and looking forward to a well-earned break after a challenging year,” he said. “Last summer we had to send our visitors home early because of bushfires and this year we’re hoping they get a decent break and enjoy our rivers, lakes, beaches and mountain trails.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is venturing further afield, heading to Tasmania to hike the 48-kilometre Three Capes Track – a getaway he’s planned for years.
Deputy Greens leader Larissa Waters is also bound for the Apple Isle, planning “a six-day hike of the Overland Track in Tassie carrying all the food and tents on our backs”. She’s also squeezing in “a long-delayed visit” to her grandmother in Melbourne and a few days on the beach on Stradbroke Island.
Greens leader Adam Bandt is spending Christmas at home in inner-city Melbourne with his parents visiting from Perth now the WA border has finally opened. Afterwards, he’s headed for “a beach shack” in Gippsland. “If I can read some Australian crime fiction and build a few sandcastles it’ll be a good holiday!”
The beach is also calling senior Labor MP Tanya Plibersek, who’s headed to Ulladulla on the NSW south coast, and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, bound for Innes National Park near Marion Bay in South Australia and “looking forward to some bushwalks, beach runs and lots of yummy home cooking”.
Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles has his eye on water features of an artificial kind, planning to take the family from Melbourne to the Gold Coast’s theme parks. “Family, water slides, maybe a couple of beers. What could go wrong?” he joked on Nine’s Today Show.
After a busy end to the parliamentary year where he negotiated several high stakes Senate victories – not to mention helping with his first budget update as Finance Minister – Simon Birmingham hasn’t finalised his own holiday plans. But with his Tourism Minister hat on, he was encouraging all Australians to take advantage of the country’s unique and wonderful experiences.
“This upcoming holiday season is the perfect opportunity to spend time with loved ones and have a cracking time, by booking one of the incredible tourism experiences on offer around Australia such as a cooking lesson, a whale-watching expedition, a diving experience or a whisky tasting tour,” he said – perhaps a hint at his own wish list.
Katina Curtis is a political reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra.