“This is mind-boggling stuff, crazy stuff. The fact this was kept secret tells you that they knew this was dodgy as buggery.”
“We’ve been to war, and we never did this. When war broke out in Europe, Menzies didn’t do this. When the Japanese were on the march on the way to Port Moresby, John Curtin didn’t do this.”
Labor frontbencher Jason Clare. Source: AAP / Lukas Coch
Mr Clare told AAP the government will wait for the solicitor-general’s advice before making decisions on how to prevent such a move happening in the future, such as by making it mandatory to gazette such appointments.
“We’re open to reform,” Mr Clare said.
“Our democracy relies on people being open and transparent about what’s going on. People being accountable and that’s why this is such a shocking series of revelations.”
John Howard says Scott Morrison should not resign
“It certainly doesn’t help democracy and I’m very concerned about the impacts of this going forward,” she said.
Mr Howard told 7.30 he did not believe the revelations warranted an “unnecessary by-election.”
Former Liberal PM John Howard.
Mr Howard said Mr Morrison had “contextualised” his reason for the secret appointments, and that part of the conservative tradition “is to always understand the context in which things occur”.
‘There was a lot going on at the time’
Mr Morrison said his secret actions as “necessary” due to the risks the COVID-19 pandemic posed to the functioning of government.
“Until seeking advice from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet today, I had not recollected these arrangements having been put in place. There was a lot going on at the time,” he wrote.
‘Unprecedented trashing of our democracy’
Mr Albanese accused Mr Morrison of misleading parliament as to who was responsible for portfolios.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has accused Mr Morrison of “trashing” Australian democracy. Source: AAP / MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE
Are the decisions legally binding?
“Unless there’s a defect that we’re not aware of that might be uncovered as a result of any investigations [and] these revelations, I think an assumption would have to be made [any decisions taken by the former PM] would be legally binding.”
What did Mr Morrison say about the appointments?
An administrative arrangements order for the social services portfolio was signed by Mr Morrison and Governor-General David Hurley on 28 June 2021, in addition to him also being privately sworn in as health minister, finance minister and resources minister.
People know where the buck stops and … the buck stops with the prime minister.
“But there may have been others that were done administratively…for the same reason, for the same precaution.”
Prime minister awaiting legal advice
“There are real implications for this.”