Canberra assessing claims regarding ex-PM Morrison's abuse of power
Incumbent Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announces the opening of an investigation into Morrison's abuse of power during the pandemic.
Current Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Monday that Canberra is looking into claims that ex-PM Scott Morrison had given himself the power to co-minister the health, finance and resources ministries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This isn't some, you know, local footy club. This is a government of Australia, where the people of Australia were kept in the dark as to what the ministerial arrangements were, it's completely unacceptable. There is an absolute need for clear transparency to come through here," Albanese told journalists.
ABC News cited Governor-General David Hurley as saying that he secretly assigned instruments to allow Morrison to run ministries jointly with other ministries during the pandemic which was "consistent with section 64 of the constitution."
Keith Pitt, the former minister of resources, told ABC that Morrison grabbed Pitt's portfolio to block a controversial petroleum exploration license in December 2021. Greg Hunt, the former health minister, according to the report, was also aware of Morrison's self-appointment and did not mind it.
However, other ministers, including ex-finance minister Mathias Cormann, were not aware of Morrison's power grab, according to the report.
"This is very contrary to our Westminster system, it was unbecoming, it was cynical, and it was just weird that it has occurred, and the Australians will be scratching their head to die knowing that the government that they thought was there wasn't actually an Australian government at all," Albanese said.
Albanese revealed that the Prime Minister's Department and Cabinet requested Mark Dreyfus - and the Australian Attorney General - to give a legal consultation on the matter, vowing not to project prejudice on Morrison's case as to whether had broken the law or not. However, he stressed that other secret appointments made by Morrison may have taken place.