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Asia Minute: Former Australian PM secretly held other government posts

Australia Politics scott morrison
Mark Baker/AP
/
AP
FILE - Then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison waves as he arrives at a Liberal Party function in Sydney, Australia, Saturday, May 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

A new political scandal has popped up in Australia concerning the former prime minister. It focuses on a number of roles he took on while leading the government, without letting the public know.

Scott Morrison was the prime minister of Australia for nearly five years — until about three months ago.

But it turns out that was not the only government role he was playing. He named himself to five additional Cabinet positions, mostly in secret.

Now some opposition lawmakers are calling for his resignation from Parliament.

This all started during the pandemic. In March 2020, Morrison made himself joint minister for health.

He says he did that in case the health minister came down with COVID. The health minister was informed of the move — and so was the deputy prime minister.

Two weeks later, Morrison took on the powers of the finance minister — but the sitting finance minister was not informed.

More than a year later, Morrison quietly added the Cabinet roles of treasury and home affairs.

Becoming a joint minister of industry, science and resources was not related to the pandemic. Taking that role allowed the prime minister to block a proposed offshore natural gas exploration license.

This news came out in a new book about the pandemic response of the Australian government.

Morrison maintains he did nothing wrong — calling it “necessary” in “extraordinary times.”

Current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the moves an “unprecedented trashing of our democracy.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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