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  16 Aug 2022, 10:49
Update : 16 Aug 2022, 10:56

Australian PM accuses Morrison of 'trashing' democracy

SYDNEY, Aug 16, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

said Tuesday that his predecessor secretly seized control of five ministerial
posts, labelling it an "unprecedented trashing of our democracy".

Albanese said Scott Morrison had appointed himself to more ministries than
initially thought, and promised further investigation.

From March 2020 until he was swept from power in May elections, Morrison
appointed himself to oversee the departments of health, finance, home
affairs, treasury and resources, Albanese said.

The prime minister said he had asked the country's Solicitor-General to
advise him on whether Morrison's actions, which he called a "shadow
government", were legal.

"It is completely extraordinary that these appointments were kept secret by
the Morrison Government from the Australian people," he said.

Morrison on Tuesday said his actions were necessary during the Covid-19
pandemic, adding that they were made during a "very unprecedented time".

Some ministers of the former government have said they were not told that
Morrison appointed himself to their portfolios -- including then finance
minister Mathias Cormann, now secretary-general of the OECD.

In the wake of the revelations, Karen Andrews, who was Home Affairs Minister
in the Morrison government, called for the ex-PM to resign from parliament.

The political firestorm has drawn scrutiny of the Morrison government's
handling of the pandemic, and his decision to block a controversial offshore
gas project after making himself resources minister.

Morrison's conservative coalition lost power in May's election, ending nearly
a decade of centre-right rule.

In Australia, elected politicians are selected by the prime minister before
being sworn in by the governor-general in a formal ceremony that is usually
publicly recorded.

Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey described the allegations as "bizarre"
and said it raised possible legal challenges to some of the former
government's decisions.

"The secrecy involved in this is just simply bizarre. I mean, you know, you
just wonder what's wrong with these people, if they have to do everything in
secret," she said.

"It's just utterly inappropriate. We live in a democracy, which requires
transparency."

 

 

 

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