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Australian Parliament Censures Former PM Scott Morrison for Giving Himself ‘Secret Powers’

The Australian parliament censured former prime minister Scott Morrison for giving himself secret powers during his tenure. The report says Morrison’s actions were “corrosive of trust in government.”

This is the first time in Australian history that a former prime minister has been censured by the House of Representatives, news agency BBC said in a report.

Morrison defended himself and said the entire move was ‘partisan’ in nature and said the censure was an act of retribution.

Earlier in August, details emerged that Morrison became the joint minister for health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources in the final two years of tenure.

He left his role paving the way for Labour leader Anthony Albanese to become Prime Minister after he was defeated in the elections.

Ministers, according to the report by BBC and other news agencies, were unaware they were sharing portfolios with the prime minister. They also criticised Morrison’s actions.

The BBC in its report said a censure is a parliamentary manner of formally expressing disapproval in an MP and the motions are largely symbolic but pointed out that even though such motions are rare, they still can have political consequences.

Morrison, in his defence, also said the decisions were taken during the “extraordinary times” of the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw Australia imposed some of the strictest restrictions.

The investigations show Morrison’s appointments were legal and he used extra powers once to overrule a minister in a separate matter, unrelated to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the investigations also outline that Morrison ‘fundamentally undermined’ the government and also points out that most of the appointments he made did not have much connection to the pandemic.

Morrison also said that he believed the decisions he took were ‘unnecessary’ and he did not give those decisions sufficient consideration.

“None of us can claim to be infallible in such circumstances, and I do not,” Morrison said, stopping short of an apology, according to the report by the BBC.

Morrison’s centre-right coalition colleagues lent him support but MP Bridget Archer supported the censure and said she was disappointed by the lack of genuine apology, news agency BBC reported.

The Albanese government said it is their duty to condemn the former prime minister’s actions. Albanese said his predecessor’s actions put Australian democracy on a “slippery slope.”

“The public didn’t know something it was entitled to know… that undermined the functioning of this parliament, that undermined our democratic institutions,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was quoted as saying by news agency BBC.

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