Australia’s parliament censures former PM Scott Morrison

Sydney, Australia, Nov 30 (EFE).- Australia’s parliament censured former Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday for secretly assuming five ministerial positions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“He (Morrison) owes an apology to the Australian people for the undermining of democracy,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who defeated Morrison in the May elections, said.

The vote on the censure motion – a largely symbolic move without legal consequences -, was approved with 86 votes in favor to 50 against.

Morrison, who was the country’s prime minister between 2018 and 2022, appointed himself health, finance, industry, interior and treasury minister between March 2020 and May 2021 without disclosing it to the parliament or public.

A report released Friday on an inquiry led by former judge Virginia Bell into the matter found that the principles of responsible government were “fundamentally undermined” because “given that the Parliament was not informed of any of the appointments, it was unable to hold Mr Morrison to account in his capacity as minister administering any of these five departments.”

“The secrecy with which the appointments had been surrounded was corrosive of trust, and thus confidence, in government,” it added.

However, the report said that Morrison’s appointment of himself was “not found to be illegal per se.”

Morrison, who has not publicly apologized, is the first ex-prime minister to be censured in Australia.

Before the vote, Morrison, backed by most lawmakers of the conservative Liberal-National coalition he led, defended his actions and accused the Albanese administration of “political intimidation.” EFE


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