Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under fire for updating his biography on the parliamentary website to include the secret portfolios he assigned himself during his time as the nation’s leader.
Morrison faced considerable criticism earlier in the year after reports emerged that he appointed himself the Health, Treasury, Home Affairs, Resources, and Finance portfolios during the global pandemic.
The Member for Cook defended his actions, claiming they were “necessary” and provided him the opportunity to “act in the national interests”.
“These were extraordinary times no Prime Minister, I think, has faced the same combination of circumstances — be it the pandemic or indeed the drought, the global recession and the Australian recession caused by the pandemic and the many other natural disasters that befell the country over that period of time,” Morrison told reporters on August 17.
“It was a very difficult time. It was a very unusual time. It was a very extraordinary time.
“There was a clear expectation established in the public’s mind, certainly in the media’s mind that I as Prime Minister was responsible, pretty much for every single thing that was going on.
“People held me, rightly, to account for that.”
Despite the furor that followed, the official parliamentary website has now been updated to reflect Morrison’s roles and the dates he assumed his new powers.
The update quickly triggered a fresh wave of outrage from the public with many taking to social media to vent their frustration over the move.
Shouldn’t that read ‘Secret Ministerial Self Appointments’, #ScottyFromMinistries. #AusPol #ScottMorrison
— The Plodding Historian???? (@lke73_historian) November 1, 2022
— Narelle Moulton (@1952Relle) November 1, 2022
It’s to make his resume look good for potential employers. I hope they realise he’s been in charge of everything but responsible for nothing, and he’s totally lacking in work ethic.
— Merilee Mann (@m_mann1) November 1, 2022
Never realised he held those portfolios until the day he was sacked by Australians.
When he was talking about getting to the other side of the bridge, bus leaving the station… He was talking about himself, as usual.
— OzzyCobber ????️ (@OzzyCobber) November 1, 2022
He really needs to pad out his resume
— Jackie Klees – vote Yes for a Voice (@KleesJackie) November 1, 2022
Despite the validity of Morrison’s actions coming into question, the Solicitor-General found that Morrison acted within the confines of the law.
In the report from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet released on Tuesday, August 23, Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue concluded that the appointments were “valid” but that “the principles of responsible government are fundamentally undermined” given the portfolios were appointed in secret.
“The Governor-General has no discretion to refuse to accept the Prime Minister’s (Mr Morrison’s) advice in relation to such an appointment,” the report states.
“Nor is there any constitutional or legislative requirement for notification of such an appointment as a condition of its validity, or for the Minister to subscribe another oath or affirmation following such an appointment.
“The end result is that, to the extent that the public and the Parliament are not informed of appointments that have been made under s 64 of the Constitution, the principles of responsible government are fundamentally undermined.”