Former prime minister’s portfolio saga Signs of Australian political decline: expert

Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been heavily criticized for secretly swearing into the portfolio of five ministers, but some political experts said the episode was a sign of long-standing problems in politics. I’m here.

On August 17, Morrison was forced at a press conference to explain his actions and his decision not to notify fellow ministers in the health, finance, finance, home affairs, and industry portfolios.

Morrison said he did not exercise his ministerial powers at the time, except for the decision to halt the PEP 11 gas project in response to pressure from moderate MPs who feared losing their seats.

But the move surprised and angered several former colleagues, with former Home Secretary Karen Andrews saying she believed Morrison should resign from parliament.

“This is totally unacceptable, and if he is prepared to act like that without a proper explanation, we are far past the time when such an explanation should have been given. Even so, the time has come for him to leave Congress and look elsewhere for work,” she said. told reportersMorrison later apologized to her.

Meanwhile, current Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the former prime minister “deliberately undermine” Democracy in Australia.

“Having a shadow ministry is one thing. This was a shadow government, so [Treasurer] Josh Frydenberg [Finance Minister] Matthias Komann, [Home Affairs Minister] Karen Andrews and others were not even informed of secretaries to ministries such as the Treasury Department and the Home Office,” he told reporters in Brisbane on August 17.

fray of democracy

However, experts point to some ongoing problems with the political state that contributed to the saga, with Morrison’s behavior being more of a symptom than a cause.

One is a lack of experience as managers and leaders at the highest levels of government. Career politicians (who join political parties after graduating from university) have surged over the decades and now occupy positions in Australia’s major political parties.

This, in turn, according to Australian newspaper foreign editor Greg Sheridan created a situation in which Morrison felt the need to take responsibility and centralize decision-making.

An example of this is the May 2022 elections, where Morrison and a few others will nominate candidates for several seats, rather than enforcing pre-selection rules so that candidates can be chosen from among grassroots members. It was a decision to pick by hand.

Former Labor National Party leader Warren Mandin also said there was a “big problem” as the major parties were failing to pick candidates from outside the system.

“People with life skills and varied work experience in the private sector, community, government, and academia – they have not only experience outside of politics, but an understanding of the general public and how things work. “Today, we’re just recruiting from the inside, and that’s causing problems.”

Another ongoing political trend is the increased centralization of power spurred by the pandemic, with ministers holding multiple significant portfolios.

For example, in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has a total of five portfolios including Prime Ministership, National Security and Information, Child Poverty Reduction, Ministerial Services and Arts and Culture.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan now holds the Leader and Treasurer (Deputy) portfolio, and New South Wales Treasurer Matt Keane holds the Deputy Prime Minister and Energy portfolio doing.

“What happened during the pandemic, the Australian prime minister has become more powerful than the prime minister,” Mundin said. “It’s a very strange and crazy world and it affected a lot of people. I think there’s a problem with politics today.”

Daniel Y. Teng


Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. His focus is on national politics such as federal politics, the COVID-19 response and Australia-China relations. Any tips? Please contact [email protected]