Brett Worthington comments for ABC News (15.8.22) on the startling revelations surrounding former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his ‘secret’ appointments to joint ministerial positions during the pandemic.
‘There’s a school of thought that suggests Scott Morrison had no need for a cabinet room, let alone ministers to sit at the table alongside him.
‘A man with autocratic tendencies, his Messiah instincts were fuelled when he single-handedly defied the odds and won the unwinnable election in 2019. It set the tone for a government driven for three years by central command with a tight inner circle. In the 2022 election he gave those tendencies a name — the bulldozer.
‘A former cabinet minister once joked that the backbench was only told about decisions that had been taken when ministers were ready for it to be leaked to the media. But as Monday’s revelations have shown, there were deep-seated secrets that even those in-the-know cabinet ministers didn’t know.
‘That Morrison had himself sworn into the health and finance portfolios in the dark days of a deadly pandemic was one thing. Having himself sworn in as a resources minister more than a year later is in a league of its own.’
Parliament must act to ensure Australia never has ‘secret ministers’ again
Luke Beck writes in The Conversation (17.8.22) about the troubling details of Scott Morrison’s secret ‘swearing in’ to multiple portfolio positions. The author argues that legislation must be created to ensure such a secretive ministerial power grab never happens again.
‘It was revealed this week that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was secretly appointed in 2020 and 2021 by Governor-General David Hurley as a minister in the health, finance, treasury, resources and home affairs portfolios.
‘The cabinet didn’t know, the parliament didn’t know, and the public didn’t know about these appointments. So far, it appears Morrison only exercised his secret ministerial powers in the resources portfolio.
‘The situation has been described in various ways, including as “the sort of tin-pot activity that we would ridicule if it was in a non-democratic country” by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese; “sinister” by former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull; and “unusual, unorthodox and strange” by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
‘It is intolerable for there to be secret ministers. Parliament must act to prevent this ever happening again.’