But sources close to Tourism Australia say the boot planted in his back had nothing to do with the "Where the bloody hell are you?" campaign, which was a success and followed on from Morrison's equally impressive work on the "100% Pure New Zealand" campaign.

As a former director of the NSW state Liberal Party, Morrison's appointment, late in 2004, attracted criticism from some quarters as a job-for-the-boys gig and also ruffled feathers among Liberals who felt that by making the move, he was putting self-interest over the needs of the party.

But the real reason behind his sudden departure was tension with the board, chaired by Tim Fischer. Sources say board members decided enough was enough a few weeks ago when Morrison instituted a major restructure of the organisation's 200 or so staff without adequate consultation with board members.

Tourism Minister Fran Bailey is a good brawler, but according to our sources, this time around she backed the decision to get rid of Morrison but didn't instigate it.