Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to five other ministries while he was Australia’s prime minister, in what his successor has called an “unprecedented shattering” of the democratic system. Some of the ministers knew that they shared powers with the leader of the Executive, but others were not informed.
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The current prime minister, Anthony Albanese, said on Tuesday that I was waiting for legal advice about the possible consequences of the secret appointments and that he was “open to reforms and suggestions” so that the situation would not be repeated.
Morrison is now facing calls to resign in Parliament over the revelations, including from one of his former ministers. Karen Andrews, a former Home Secretary, which is one of the departments Morrison self-appointed, said: “This is totally unacceptable, for a prime minister to behave in this way undermines everything a federal government is constitutionally meant to stand for.”
Morrison remains a member of the Liberal Party, now led by his former defense minister, Peter Dutton. Dutton defended Morrison’s actions and accused Albanese of trying to take “political advantage” of the situation. Dutton said he was unaware of the appointments, but that he would wait for legal advice before commenting further.
No act or official record
In a statement on Tuesday, Morrison apologized to his former ministerial colleagues “for any offence” and described his action “as an emergency safety measure” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Between March 2020 and May 2021, Morrison appointed himself to the portfolios of Health, Economy, Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Home Affairs and Finance without the knowledge of the public and, in some cases, without alerting the existing minister. .
There was no official announcement or record of Morrison’s inauguration for any of the five portfolios. His self-appointment gave her decision-making power in those crucial areas if he thought so. That made him the final arbiter, though few within his cabinet knew he had those powers.
the governor general [representante de la reina en el país]David Hurley swore Morrison in as minister for the portfolios based on Morrison’s own advice.
The appointments came to light after two journalists from news corp who were promoting his book on the Morrison government’s response to the pandemic revealed that the then prime minister had been sworn in as health minister and finance minister at the start of the first wave of COVID.
Just over a year later, Morrison used the same constitutional article to swear himself in as Minister of Resources, overturning a decision made by the current Minister of Resources, who until then was unaware that he shared the portfolio with the Prime Minister.
In May 2021, Morrison added the latter two portfolios to his list without the knowledge of either existing minister. Then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Josh Frydenberg had been one of his closest confidants, but said he was unaware that Morrison had also taken over the portfolio.
The revelations have put the Australian Government and public opinion in check, as no one has been able to explain why the appointments were necessary or why they have been hidden from the Australian public. “I cannot conceive the attitude that has caused this,” Albanese said. “I cannot conceive how that happens. And I can’t conceive how a cabinet allows that to happen.”
Before the news of the five portfolios was made public, Morrison had said that he did not recall appointing more than three additional positions, but said the moves were necessary to “safeguard” the portfolios. “Things were moving very fast at the time,” she said. “No one of us is perfect. There was no bad faith in it.”
Translation of Celia Broncano