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Australia announces inquiry into Morrisons secret ministries

Move employs solicitor general said ex-PMs actions were inconsistent with practices of a responsible government.

Published On 23 Aug 2022

Australias Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced an unbiased inquiry into his predecessor Scott Morrisons secret appointment to multiple ministries through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Albanese announced the move ahead Tuesday after Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue figured while Morrisons appointments were legal, they fundamentally undermined responsible government.

Our democracy is precious, Albanese wrote on Twitter. Australians deserve to learn who is in charge of making decisions with the person.

Today I announced the Cabinet has decided to an inquiry into the way the former Prime Minister secretly appointed himself to multiple ministries.

Our democracy is precious. Australians deserve to learn who is in charge of making decisions with the person.

Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) August 23, 2022

Morrison, who stepped down as leader of the Liberal Party after losing an over-all election in-may, has faced a barrage of criticism from the Labor government and their own party, after it had been revealed he was secretly sworn directly into ministries without telling parliament or his cabinet, an unprecedented assumption of power.

In the written advice, the solicitor general was critical that the general public and Parliament weren’t informed of Morrisons appointment to the ministries.

This is inconsistent with the conventions and practices that form an important area of the system of responsible government prescribed by the Constitution, the advice said.

That’s since it is impossible for Parliament and the general public to carry Ministers in charge of the correct administration of particular departments if the identity of the Ministers who’ve been appointed to manage those departments isn’t publicised.

Three ministers were unaware Morrison shared power over their ministries of home affairs, treasury and finance until the other day. Morrison said he only intervened in a single ministry, resources, to block an offshore gas project. Your choice is currently being challenged in court by the resources company.

Albanese told reporters in Canberra that the advice from the countrys second-highest law officer was an extremely clear criticism of the implications for Australias parliamentary democracy.

The prime minister said his cabinet had agreed you will have need for an additional inquiry in to the matter, even though nature and the scope of the inquiry are yet to be determined.

He added that Morrisons behaviour was extraordinary and said his predecessor needs to be held to take into account it.

Morrisons appointments were approved by Governor General David Hurley, the ceremonial head of state, but there is no public swearing-in ceremony.

Donaghue, the solicitor general, said Hurleys actions were in keeping with convention.

The Governor-General does not have any discretion to won’t accept the Prime Ministers advice with regards to this appointment, he wrote.

Morrisons office didn’t immediately react to requests for comment.

The former prime minister said the other day the coronavirus pandemic was a fantastic time and he secretly took on the ministries because he felt responsibility for the country was his alone.

Australia includes a cabinet-based system that uses band of ministers governing, rather than a presidential system.

The popularity of Albaneses government has soared because the May election win, with a Resolve Strategic opinion poll published by Nine newspapers showing Labor on a primary vote of 42 percent, up from 33 percent at the election, prior to the Coalitions 28 percent.



Al Jazeera and news agencies

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