Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken out for the first time after it was revealed that he had secretly sworn in the roles of five multiple ministers, including health, finance, finance, home affairs and industry.
The former prime minister said his decision was a precautionary measure during the pandemic and that he would have made it public if he needed to exercise the powers granted to him.
“Sometimes we forget what happened two years ago, the situation we were dealing with. It was an unconventional time, an unprecedented time.” He said Sydney Radio Station 2GB.
“Boris Johnson nearly died one night. COVID forced him to resign from his cabinet.”
Morrison’s unprecedented move
Morrison’s defense Australian person When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australia in March 2020, he secretly claimed to have taken over health and finance portfolios.
The unprecedented move by the former prime minister was due to concerns that control of the country would have to be handed over to former Health Minister Greg Hunt if the government invoked emergency measures under the Biosecurity Act, according to the newspaper.
The Australians also said they wanted Morrison to be able to control the powers given to former health and finance ministers incapacitated by the virus, allowing the government to implement the biggest fiscal stimulus package in Australia’s history.
moreover, news.com.au The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Morrison had sworn in as resource minister and used that power to kill a gas project off the coast of New South Wales (NSW) previously approved by former minister Keith Pitt. . affairs and finance.
Online news outlets said the incident had nothing to do with the pandemic.In addition, Pitt said he was unaware of Morrison’s decision and was shocked to learn of the fact in December 2021.
Additional reports have surfaced that Mr Morrison has assumed other Cabinet positions, including the Social Services Portfolio Administrative Arrangements Order signed by Mr Morrison and Governor David Hurley on June 28, 2021.
When asked about the rationale behind the actions, the former prime minister called them “two key approaches.”
“We have had to take some extraordinary measures to play it safe,” he said.
“Fortunately, for our finance and health portfolios, we didn’t have to use any of these.
“The powers of these portfolios were not overseen by the Cabinet. rice field.”
However, the former minister denied that he had pledged to a portfolio of social services.
“No, as far as I know, no,” he said. “I don’t remember, but like I said, there were some administrative issues. I don’t dispute that.
“I would be happy if another (portfolio) came out.”
Morrison also said he did not have the legal authority to order ministers to make specific decisions directly, so he took every action to ensure that “responsibility remained with the prime minister.”
“If I wanted to be a decision maker, I had to take the steps I took.
“People know where the money stops, and the money stops at the prime minister. Because of its importance, I tried to be the decision maker on that issue.”
Finally, Morrison said it was an oversight in not telling former Finance Minister Matthias Koemann about the pledge to the financial portfolio, and that he believed the information was passed on through his office.
“It was disappointing … but things were moving fast at the time,” he said.
Response of the current government to the incident
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the incident was highly unusual and that what happened in the federal cabinet at the time was not in line with the Westminster government system.
“The Australian people have not been informed of what the ministerial arrangement is. It is totally unacceptable.” he told reporters in melbourne.
“We have a system of government without a president in this country, but what we get from Scott Morrison is the centralization of power, overruling cabinet ministers’ decisions, and everything is done in secret.”
As details of the incident emerged, the Prime Minister’s and Cabinet Offices investigated the legality of Morrison’s leadership.
After learning that Governor David Hurley was aware of Morrison’s actions, the Albanians refused to directly express their support for the Governor.
“The governor’s job is to follow the government’s advice at the time,” he told ABC. “I’m not going to pass judgment.”
A spokesperson for the governor said Harley followed a process consistent with the Constitution when appointing Morrison to the role of additional minister.
“The appointment was made in accordance with Article 64 of the Constitution,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“It is not uncommon for ministers to be appointed to manage departments other than portfolio responsibilities.
“These appointments do not require an oath ceremony. The governor-general signs an executive document on the advice of the prime minister.”
Australian National Party leader David Littleproud and opposition leader Peter Dutton said they were unaware of the former prime minister’s actions, despite serving in Morrison’s cabinet.
However, former Home Secretary Karen Andrews called on Morrison to resign from parliament.
“The Australian people have been disappointed and betrayed,” Andrews told AAP.
“For the former prime minister to act like that, to have secretly sworn to other portfolios, undermines the Westminster system and is absolutely unacceptable.
“If there was a reason for the prime minister to take on other portfolios, they should have been public, but they are now public by default.”
Andrews said Morrison was not informed that she had been sworn into her portfolio by the Prime Minister himself, the Prime Minister’s Office, or the Secretary of State.
“I have no knowledge at all…if anyone knew, they wouldn’t tell me,” she said.