Ex-Australian PM puts pressure on ScoMo amid self-appointment claims – ‘Profoundly wrong’ | World | News


Malcolm Turnbull, a former Liberal Party leader, has questioned the actions of Australia’s governor-general, David Hurley, in agreeing to swear Mr Morrison into the secret roles.

Mr Turnbull said that while the governor-general should act on the advice of the prime minister, the most important act of the job was upholding the constitution.

He said: “The governor-general is not just a rubber stamp.”

Mr Turnbull added: “There is something profoundly wrong that someone didn’t stand up and say ‘stop it ScoMo [Morrison], this is bonkers’ and that’s what worries me the most.”

On Tuesday, the current Prime Minster of Australia, Anthony Albanese, claimed his predecessor Scott Morrison had been appointed to five extra ministries during the pandemic, and had previously only acknowledged two of those appointments.

Mr Albanese said that he was told that Mr Morrison was the joint minister for the health, finance, treasury home affairs and resources portfolios for over two years.

Former ministers Mathias Cormann, Josh Frydenberg and Karen Andrews have said they were unaware Mr Morrison has appointed himself to administer their portfolios.

Mr Alabnese has said he is currently waiting for legal advice over the consequences of the secret appointments and was “open to reforms and suggestions” so that the breach could not happen again.

He claimed the situation “deliberately undermined the checks and balances that are so important and essential for our democracy”.

Mr Alabnese described the situation as an “unprecedented trashing of our democracy”.

The Prime Minister added it was “completely extraordinary” that the appointments were kept secret from the Australian public.

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Australian government ministers are usually publicly given their positions, as they are sworn in by the governor-general with cameras present and then the new appointment is announced in parliament.

Mr Morrison apologised on Tuesday but has also taken to social media to explain his actions.

The former Prime Minister wrote a 1,200-word Facebook post and said his decisions were “prudent and responsible”.

Mr Morrison said he took the appointments to ensure the government would remain operating in the event a minister was taken ill with Covid.

He wrote: “The risk of Ministers becoming incapacitated, sick, hospitalised, incapable of doing their work at a critical hour or even fatality was very real.”

The ex-Prime Minister also said he had forgotten he had appointed himself to extra portfolios and instead claimed: “there was a lot going on”.

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Mr Morrison is currently a backbencher in the Liberal Party and is now facing calls to reign.

One of his former ministers, Karen Andrews, described the situation as “totally unacceptable” and said, “It is absolutely time for him to resign from parliament”.

She said: “For a Prime Minister to behave in this manner undermines everything that a federal government constitutionally should stand for.”

Leader of the Liberal Party, Peter Dutton, has refused to back Ms Andrews’ calls for Mr Morrison’s resignation.





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