Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese speaks to media after a parochial church service in Canberra on July 26, 2022. STRAFP SYDNEY Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his predecessor Scott Morrison had undermined our democracy by secretly appointing himself minister for home affairs and treasury during the COVID 19 epidemic, in addition to the health, finance and resources portfolios previously revealed.
After a review of the matter by the Prime Minister's department, Albanese told reporters that Morrison had taken on the health and finance portfolios in March 2020, home affairs and Treasury in May 2021 and resources in April 2021.
He said it was completely extraordinary that these appointments were kept secret by the Morrison government from the Australian people.
Albanese will get legal advice on the issue from the Solicitor General on Monday and said he was critical of the Morrison government for allowing a centralization of power by the prime minister.
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I can't believe how the government has functioned whereby they said I'm the Prime Minister of Australia and I'd also like to be the Minister for Health, Finance, Treasury, Industry, Science, Home Affairs and Resources Morrison earlier on Tuesday defended taking on extra ministerial positions without his cabinet's knowledge during the COVID-19 epidemic, saying that it was an unprecedented time and that the powers served as a safeguard.
Morrison's actions have attracted criticism from his Liberal party's coalition partner, the National Party, and former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, as well as undermined Westminster parliamentary traditions.
Morrison, who lost office in a national election in May, said in a radio interview on Tuesday that he didn't make the arrangements public because they were a safeguard only and ministerial powers for health and finance were not triggered.
He told radio station 2 GB that we had to take some extraordinary measures to put safeguards in place, likening it to having two keys on a nuclear submarine.
Morrison said that it was an oversight and regrettable that the finance minister was not informed that his role had been duplicated.
He said the resources minister role he took over in 2021 was different because he had used the power to stop approval for a gas exploration project off the coast of Australia, which was opposed by local communities. The decision is being challenged in court.
He said that I wanted to be the decision maker on that one because of its importance.
Albanese said it was concerning that two people had different positions on matters, and they had different positions in the resources portfolio.
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The Prime Minister's responsibilities were breached by not mentioning in Parliament who was responsible for ministerial portfolios, a clear breach of the obligations he has to the Parliament, he told ABC radio earlier on Tuesday.