Former PM Morrison wanted investment and ‘citizenship loss’ powers
It has been unclear why he took on the treasury portfolio which was held by Josh Frydenberg.
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sought to be sworn in as treasurer so he could hold foreign investment powers, seeking the home affairs portfolio in relation to "decisions on citizenship loss," according to documents obtained under freedom of information (FOI) reveal, according to The Guardian.
During his term as prime minister, Morrison was criticized and censured for secretly co-ministering 5 ministries, a case of abuse of power. However, until now, it has been unclear why he took on the treasury portfolio which was held by Josh Frydenberg.
“We are advised the Treasury swearing relates to FIRB,” an email dated 21 April 2021 states, extracted from documents released under FOI laws, which exposed treasury activities related to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). The email was written by senior Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet official John Reid.
The FIRB's role is to examine proposed investments in Australia subject to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act, in addition to making recommendations to the treasurer on the proposals.
The same email showed Morrison had sought home affairs in relation to “decisions on citizenship loss”.
On November 30, Morrison told Canberra that the reason he had taken over the treasury role “as a dormant redundancy for decisions that were not subject to cabinet oversight, was to be able to take swift action, if necessary, in the national interest in a time when Australia’s interests were under constant threat.
“I consider that these decisions, in hindsight, were unnecessary and that insufficient consideration was given to these decisions at the time, including non-disclosure,” he told parliament.
Virginia Bell, a former high court judge, made changes regarding the transparency of ministerial appointments, leading him to become the first former prime minister censured by parliament.
In August, incumbent Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Canberra's plans to open an independent investigation after a report concluded that Morrison "fundamentally undermined" governmental principles by sneakily abusing ministerial powers.
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