Scott Morrison: Australia investigates former leader’s secret ministerial ‘power grab’

New Labor Party Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced an investigation, in the rare step of publishing the Solicitor General’s advice to the government on the matter.

“The council is a very clear critique and critique of the implications for our democratic system,” Albanese said, describing the events as “extremely extraordinary and unprecedented.”

Albanese, who defeated Morrison in the federal election in May, was highly critical of his predecessor for appointing himself to five senior government positions, including in health care; finance; treasury and internal affairs; and Industry, Science and Resources between 2020 and 2021, largely without the knowledge of the ministers who held each role.

The Solicitor General found that Morrison’s secret appointment to office was “valid” but “inconsistent with the conventions and practices” of responsible government.

The revelations of the secret portfolios emerged last week in excerpts from a book published about Morrison’s tenure, based on an interview the former leader gave to the authors.

Morrison defended his actions in a lengthy Facebook post last week, and on Tuesday reiterated his statement that he felt it was “prudent” to empower himself in case the responsible minister became incapacitated during the pandemic.

“I agree that many Australians will not agree, accept or understand all the decisions I made during those difficult times,” he said in an interview. The statement was posted on Facebook on Tuesday.

“I can only state that the decisions I made as prime minister were made in good faith and in good faith.”

Some of his former colleagues were reportedly furious at not being briefed about what the Australian media called a “power grab”.

Former Home Secretary Karen Andrews, who she said was unaware that Morrison had appointed himself to her job, urged him to retire from politics. “He needs to step down and leave Parliament,” Andrews told Sky News last week.

Morrison has so far resisted calls to step down.

Request

Little is known about the investigation and its scope, but Albanese said it would be led by “a prominent person with a legal background.” According to him, this will not be a political investigation, but “a number of questions clearly arise.”

Some of the questions the government wants answered include: “Why did this happen, how did this happen? Who knew about it? What are the implications for our parliamentary system? Are there any legal consequences behind the decisions made? How can we avoid this? again?” said the prime minister.

Morrison is known to have used power on at least one occasion to deny an application for a gas exploration license off the coast of New South Wales. The interested company, BPH Energy, is seeking judicial review of the government’s decision to reject the application.

Albanese said that Morrison’s decision to take on new roles may have had other, as yet unknown, implications.

The former prime minister “was the minister of health and the minister of industry at the time we were considering setting up an mRNA vaccine manufacturer in Australia,” Albanese said.

And he said that Morrison may have influenced funding decisions in the departments he ran.

“I know it is certainly not normal for the prime minister to be the final decision maker on grants in excess of $800 million for the production fund. Now, in my opinion, this is also an issue for accountability,” Albanese said. said.

Morrison highlights the controversy

The controversy took on a life of its own on social media, where users photoshopped Morrison’s face into images of people playing different roles. The common theme was that Morrison was everywhere, especially where you least expect him.

Morrison seems to have followed this trend, commenting on the images and then creating some of his own, including one in which his face was superimposed on that of a comedy troupe.

“It was fun joining all the memes,” Morrison said in the accompanying post. “But now there are so many that I can’t keep up. We Australians can always laugh at ourselves.”

However, Albanese made it clear that he was not amused by Morrison’s attempt to brush off the criticism.

“This undermining of the parliamentary system of government, of the entire Westminster system and of our democratic traditions of accountability, is no laughing matter,” he said last week.

And on Tuesday, Albanese said Morrison should apologize to the entire country.

“Scott Morrison owes an apology to the Australian people for undermining our parliamentary democratic system of government that we have, which cannot be taken for granted.”

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