Scott Morrison Has Been Slammed By His Own Party After Pinching Five Portfolios
Josh Frydenberg is reportedly "livid".
Criticism is flowing in every direction after Scott Morrison sneakily appointed himself multiple additional portfolios during his time as Prime Minister, with some of his former closest allies turning on him after discovering they — too — were blindsided by the moves.
On Tuesday, it was revealed that Morrison appointed himself health minister, finance minister, home affairs minister, treasurer, and minister for industry, science, energy and resources — with only former Health Minister Greg Hunt being aware his portfolio would become shared. Perhaps most interestingly, former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg — who was one of Morrison’s closest allies and actually lived with Morrison at The Lodge — was blindsided by the former PM, who swore himself in as treasurer just days before the last budget. Frydenberg is reportedly “livid” after finding out.
Other politicians have been quick to call for Morrison’s resignation, including Jacqui Lambie who clams he “blatantly lied”. “It’s time for him to go. It’s time for Scott Morrison to resign. Enough damage has been done under him,” she told ABC Radio’s Patricia Karvelas. “You blatantly lied, no one forgets they’ve got five portfolios,” she said, also stressing that changes need to be made to ensure this can’t happen again.
Former Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has confirmed she had no idea Morrison had assumed her role, and has called for him to resign. “I had absolutely no knowledge and was not told by the [prime minister, the prime minister’s office] nor the department secretary. This undermines the integrity of government,” said Andrews on Tuesday in a statement. “I think that Scott Morrison needs to resign, and he needs to leave parliament.”
“This is just unacceptable, and if this is the way that he is prepared to conduct himself without an adequate explanation — even though it is now going to be well past the time when such an explanation should have been made — then it is time for him to leave the parliament and look elsewhere for employment.”
Current Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil (not the one Morrison directly undermined) has also slammed the move, asserting that his decision to assume the Home Affairs portfolio without telling ASIO was a national security risk. “This is an unprecedented violation of our democracy,” she told ABC radio.
“There are moments in politics where you need to step above your political party. Don’t defend this man just because he’s a Liberal,” she said. “He’s done something that’s never been done in Australian history.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also slammed the move, calling it “extraordinary and unprecedented”.
“Australians knew during the election campaign that I was running a shadow ministry. What they didn’t know was that Scott Morrison was running a shadow government. A shadow government that was operating in the shadows,” said Albanese in a press conference on Tuesday.
However, not everyone thinks the situation is as bad as it seems, with former Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce saying he hasn’t done anything illegal, giving a weird comparison about a pink car for reasons still unclear to me. “If he did do something illegal, if he received some form of pecuniary benefit, if someone closely related to you gets some pecuniary benefit, they failed to disclose, then yeah, you can pack up your bongos and get out of there,” said Joyce on ABC radio.
“But if something is legal, and you complied with the law even though people might not agree with that mightn’t be basically customary, or, as you would say, something you’ve done it in a way that’s annoying, you’ve done it in a way that has got people offside, but it’s not illegal. It’s not illegal,” he continued. “That’s why we have laws, that’s why we have laws. We don’t arrest people on the road because they’re annoying, we arrest them if they break the law,” said Joyce. “If someone says I am going to paint my car pink with lime green spots, it’s very annoying, but it’s not against the law.”
Meanwhile, former PM John Howard simply said “it’s not some sort of constitutional crisis” when interviewed by ABC radio.
The situation is being investigated by the Albanese government, and Morrison will give a press conference at 12.15pm on Wednesday.