Scandal: Ex-PM also co-minister

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Former prime minister Scott Morrison made himself minister of health, finance and resources, among other positions, without informing colleagues, parliament or voters.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday revealed his predecessor’s secret self-appointment to several ministerial posts during the pandemic and promised an investigation of the scandal.

“Scott Morrison was running a shadow government,” Albanese said.

In some cases, Morrison made himself a co-minister without telling the cabinet members he had already appointed to those positions.

It is still not clear how many posts Morrison held, but local media reported that he took on the resources portfolio and used his power to axe a significant gas project off Sydney’s coast.

Morrison’s conservative coalition lost power in May elections, ending nearly a decade of center-right rule in the country.

In Australia, elected politicians are selected by the prime minister before being sworn in by the governor-general in a formal ceremony that is usually publicly recorded.

Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey described the allegations as “bizarre” and said it raised possible legal challenges to some of the former government’s decisions.

“The secrecy involved in this is just simply bizarre. I mean, you know, you just wonder what’s wrong with these people, if they have to do everything in secret,” she said.

“It’s just utterly inappropriate. We live in a democracy, which requires transparency.”

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