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Australia to make public appointments to prevent repeat of power grab

Canberra. An ongoing inquiry into Australia’s prime minister’s secret appointments to himself in multiple ministries recommended on Friday that all such appointments should be made public in the future to preserve confidence in the government.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would recommend his cabinet accept all of the retired judge’s recommendations when it meets next week. Albanese had ordered an inquiry in August last. Albanese’s move followed revelations that between March 2000 and May 2001, former prime minister Scott Morrison had taken the unprecedented step of appointing himself to five ministerial roles that current ministers generally did not know about. Was.

The extraordinary power grab came after the Conservative coalition led by Morrison was defeated in the election last May. Prior to this, the Conservative coalition government remained in power for nine years. His unprecedented move was seen as part of a wider pattern in Australian politics of the concentration of power in the office of the leader.

Albanese blamed the former government’s culture of secrecy, saying that it had led to an extraordinary concentration of power in the individuals of its leaders. Retired High Court Justice Virginia Bell has recommended in her inquiry that there is a need to legislate to make public notices relating to the appointment of ministers public. Morrison is co-operating with the investigation through his lawyers, but has not given any evidence in person.

Currently serving as an opposition MP, Morrison has said he allocated himself the ministries of health, finance, treasury, resources and housing as an emergency measure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Judge Bell found that it was unnecessary to make Morrison a ‘duplicate’ minister, as an acting minister could be appointed within minutes if the original minister was incapacitated by COVID-19.

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