- Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to five key ministries during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Former PM has defended the move, saying he felt sole responsibility for the nation.
- Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says his government will seek legal advice on the legality of Morrison’s actions.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Sunday said his government might look into former Prime Minister Scott Morrison being secretly sworn into key ministries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Morrison, who resigned as Liberal Party leader after losing a general election in May, was secretly sworn in to five key ministries during the pandemic, an unprecedented assumption of powers, it was revealed this week.
The move drew criticism from the Labor government and Morrison’s own party, but the former prime minister defended it on the grounds that he felt sole responsibility for the nation during the pandemic.
On Sunday, Albanese stated that the government would receive advice on the legality of Morrison’s actions from the Solicitor General, the country’s second highest law officer, on Monday.
Albanese stated that the government would also consider an investigation and reforms to ensure that the actions would not be repeated.
“We’ll examine all of those issues after we receive the Solicitor General’s advice. I am running a proper cabinet government, that has proper processes, and we’ll give full consideration to it,” Albanese told Sky News television.
He stated that, while the Solicitor General would provide legal advice, there were also broader issues that needed to be investigated.
“There’s separate questions about the functioning of our democracy, about conventions and whether any conventions have been overturned, and whether there’s a need for any reforms required to ensure that something like this can never happen again,” the prime minister said.
Albanese previously stated that Morrison had undermined the Westminster system by secretly appointing himself to portfolios including home affairs, treasury, health, finance, and resources between 2020 and 2021.
Morrison has stated that after being sworn in by the governor general, he did not “take over” the ministries, and that no ministers were interfered with except on one occasion, when he rejected a resource project.
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