The Australian Parliament has voted to censure former PM Scott Morrison after he secretly amassed multiple ministerial positions while he was in power. Between March 2020 and May 2021 Mr Morrison appointed himself to five ministerial roles usually without the knowledge of the existing minister.
The motion passed the House 86-50, although the majority was expected given the Labor party holds power.
Most opposition members dismissed it as “political payback”, reported the Independent.
Federal political reporter Andrew Brown posted on Twitter that the government, Liberal Bridget Archer and the crossbench (except Bob Katter) voted for the censure.
Ms Archer confirmed she would cross the floor to vote in favour of the censure.
Current PM Anthony Albanese said of his disgraced predecessor: “The former Prime Minister owes an apology to the Australian people for undermining our precious democracy.”
The main effect of the censure will be to tarnish Mr Morrison’s political reputation.
The former PM made two statements in his defence for the first time since his power grab was exposed in August.
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He said he gave himself additional ministerial powers at a time that Australia was “dealing with extreme uncertainty and unpredictability”, adding the criticism of his actions had been “made from the safety and relative calm of hindsight”.
Mr Morrison stated: “I am proud … at a time of extreme trial, my government stood up and faced the abyss of uncertainty that our country looked into and the coercion of a regional bully (China) and saw Australia through the storm.
“Our nation faced the greatest challenges we had experienced since the Second World War: a drought, natural disasters, a global pandemic, the global and domestic recession, the pandemic cause and a rising and assertive China seeking to coerce Australia into submission.”
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The censure motion claimed that Mr Morrison had “undermined responsible government and eroded public trust in Australia’s democracy” by not informing his Cabinet of his extra powers, said the Independent.
The then-Prime Minister gave himself the portfolios of health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources without telling the appropriate ministers.
Retired High Court Justice Virginia Bell in her inquiry recommended last week laws be implemented to require public notices of ministerial appointments be published as well as the divisions of ministerial responsibilities.