Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will today receive legal advice from the Solicitor General on whether Scott Morrison broke any rules after appointing himself to five portfolios without telling the majority of ministers affected or the public.
Calls for an investigation grow after Morrison gave himself additional powers in the health, finance, treasury, home affairs and industry, science, energy and resources portfolios between March 2020 and May 2021.
One of his decisions, as co-minister for resources, was to block the PEP-11 gas exploration license off the coast of New South Wales after the minister for resources of the time, Keith Pitt, approved the project. The final decision is now being appealed to the Federal Court.
Albanese called for reform to ensure that similar presidential-style acquisitions of power could not happen again under Australia’s Westminster system.
But Greens leader Adam Bandt wants an investigation into whether Morrison misled parliament or pressured the governor-general or the civil service.
“The longer this goes on, the more questions arise about the exact extent of the damage to Australian democracy,” said the MP for Melbourne. ABC News Breakfast.
“You have the right to expect that when the Prime Minister stands up and says ‘here are the ministers in my parliament, here are my responsibilities’, you have the right to expect them to say the truth and it becomes clear by day that this is not the case.
The Greens have already asked House Speaker Milton Dick to refer Morrison to the powerful privileges committee over the scandal.
Bandt said an investigation will also need to look into who Morrison asked to keep his ministries secret from the public and most of his colleagues.
“One of the things we don’t know yet is whether or not this was done at the request of Scott Morrison, whether or not he asked the Governor General to keep some of these appointments secret,” he said. declared the leader of the Greens.
“Similarly, with regard to his own department, what did the … former Prime Minister do?”