Ex-Australian Prime Minister Justifies Secret Self-Appointments By COVID-19 Circumstances

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 16th August, 2022) Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is under investigation over giving himself powers to co-minister the health, finance and resources ministries in 2020, on Tuesday justified the secret appointments by the necessity of taking "extraordinary" measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incumbent Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Monday that the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet requested Attorney General Mark Dreyfus' legal consultation on the matter, adding that he would not prejudice whether Morrison had broken the law but stressed that other secret appointments made by the former prime minister could have taken place.

"I think sometimes we forget what was happening two years ago and the situation we were dealing with, it was a very unprecedented time, it was an unconventional time ... and as a result we had to take some extraordinary measures," Morrison told Australian broadcaster 2GB.

The former prime minister also said that there was no need to publish the data on his secret appointments as it was a "precautionary measure," and that none of the portfolios were used.

"We had to put safeguards in place. None of these in the case of the Finance and Health portfolios were ever required to be used. The ministers were continuing to run their portfolios without any interference," Morrison was quoted as saying by the broadcaster.

Former Resources Minister Keith Pitt told ABC on Monday that Morrison grabbed his portfolio to block a controversial petroleum exploration license last December. Ex-health minister Greg Hunt was also aware of Morrison's self-appointment and did not mind it, while some other ministers, including ex-finance minister Mathias Cormann, had not been aware of Morrison assuming their powers, according to the report.