“This is government by deception,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters on Tuesday. He accused his predecessor of “deceiving democracy” by taking on many government jobs and failing to inform the public.
Morrison, who remains a lawmaker but was replaced as prime minister in the May election, has been appointed minister of health, finance, home, treasury and industry from March 2020. through May 2021, Albanese said. These are all important roles in the cabinet, already filled by ministers – and Morrison gained more powers when he was sworn in as minister for those ministries.
Some of Morrison’s colleagues expressed outrage and surprise when they said they had no idea they were sharing the work with their boss.
Albanese said Morrison’s secret appointments were revealed following an investigation, and it was not clear if Morrison would retain his position until he was voted down earlier this year.
“It is completely unusual that these appointments are kept secret by the Morrison government from the Australian people,” Albanese said in Canberra. “It has undermined our democracy.”
Lengthy post on Facebook on Tuesday, Morrison defended his actions, citing the coronavirus pandemic and recession in Australia in 2020 and said he had acted in good faith during a crisis.
“These are unusual times and they require special measures to respond,” he said, adding that the risk of his ministers becoming “incapacitated, ill” or unable to work, he said. doing their job is “very real” during the pandemic.
“As Prime Minister, I think it is necessary to put in place protective measures,” he said. “… I have guarded against being given the power to run various state agencies if the need arises due to the incompetence of a Minister or in the national interest.” He added that he considers such actions “cautious” and “responsible”.
“In hindsight, these arrangements were unnecessary,” said Morrison, adding that “there was a lot going on at the time. “
He stressed that he was not trying to act “as a co-minister” and only used the additional work-related powers on a single occasion in April 2021 to overturn the approval of a controversial gas project off the coast of New South Wales. . He said that the specific decision was made “in the national interest” and was “the only matter where I am directly involved in this or any other ministry”.
Former minister Keith Pitt, who was responsible for the gas project and led the Ministry of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources at the time, told Australian media without his knowledge Morrison jointly oversaw his ministerial portfolio.
Another minister in Morrison’s government, Karen Andrews, who served as home or interior minister, told Australian radio that she also did not know that she was sharing her work.
“The Australian people have been disappointed, they have been betrayed,” she said, calling on Morrison to step down as a lawmaker. “For a former prime minister who has behaved that way, secretly sworn into other portfolios … that is completely unacceptable.”
Australian newspapers highlighted the outrage, while on social media the actions spawned memes and jokes about many of Morrison’s works.
“Scott Morrison cannot do his own job correctly, and it turns out he doesn’t trust his other Ministers to do theirs either,” said Melbourne lawmaker and Australian Green Party leader Adam Bandt. Written on Twitter. Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull also praised the “sinister secret state appointments” and said that any officials who were made aware “show a lack of respect and understanding of democratic governance in a blatant way.” serious.”
We should be very concerned that a PM, an AG, a GG and apparently their officials think Morrison’s sinister secret state appointments are legitimate. Does anyone oppose it? Resignation jn protest? All show a serious lack of respect and understanding of democratic governance.
– Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) August 15, 2022
Anne Twomey, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sydney, writes that a lack of transparency can affect government institutions.
Grandma Written in the comments section. “It is inappropriate for such matters to be kept secret – especially if it is to be kept secret from the Cabinet and from the minister who is formally assigned responsibility by the president for the portfolio,” she said. more.
Albanese told the nation he would seek legal advice from the country’s attorney general regarding Morrison’s actions to determine next steps.