Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was guilty of an “unprecedented trashing of our democracy” when he secretly appointed himself to five ministerial roles, according to current PM Anthony Albanese.
Albanese said Morrison, who lost this year’s General Election, “deliberately undermined the checks and balances that are so important and essential for our democracy” and that he is now speaking with the country’s solicitor general about the issue.
It has been revealed Morrison swore himself in as joint minister for the health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios during Covid.
In some instances this was done without the cabinet ministers affected being told and the move was never revealed publicly, until it was uncovered by local media in recent days.
The former Prime Minister, who was leader of the centre-right Liberal Party, today said he had sworn himself into these roles during Covid and that he had “acted in good faith in a crisis”.
Morrison said he had taken the action to protect against cabinet ministers becoming “incapacitated” with Covid and that it was a “break glass in case of an emergency safeguard”.
Albanese, new Prime Minister and leader of the Australian Labor Party, said: “I cannot conceive of the way that the government has functioned in a way where they said that ‘I’m the prime minister of Australia and I’d also like to be in charge of health, finance, treasury, industry, science, home affairs, resources.’”
“It is completely extraordinary that these appointments were kept secret by the Morrison government from the Australian people.”
There is now pressure on Morrison to resign as an MP, including from his former home affairs minister.
“For a Prime Minister to behave in this manner undermines everything that a federal government constitutionally should stand for,” Karen Andrews told news.com.au.