Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted on Wednesday that he secretly awarded himself five ministerial portfolios during the coronavirus pandemic but, at a press conference, rejected calls to resign from parliament.
Morrison was thrown into an avalanche of questions about why he failed to inform the public and many of his fellow ministers of the additional powers he had usurped. “We had to take extraordinary measures” to ensure the continuity of the government in case a minister was not available, and the ex-prime minister tried to explain in a confused way.
He said he had used the powers only once, outside his raw materials minister, to block a controversial offshore gas extraction project. However, he acknowledged that this decision was unrelated to the Covid pandemic. “I’m very happy with this decision,” Morrison said.
The Conservative politician added that he took “no personal advantage” from his appointment to the various ministerial posts.
Scott Morrison secretly took over five ministerial posts from March 2020, including those of Health, Finance, and Raw Materials, which current Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced recently. The scandal shed light on the previous government’s opaque decision-making and raised questions about the need to strengthen democracy.