While leading the country during the pandemic, he covertly put himself in charge of five ministries. And he kept his five new roles a secret from the public and most of his colleagues in Parliament. Several ministers who were sharing power with Morrison were never told.
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“I cannot conceive of the mind-set that has created this,” Anthony Albanese, the current prime minister, said yesterday. (Australia chose to evict Morrison from office in May.) “It’s undermined our democracy,” he added, calling it a “government by deception.”
In Australia, ministers can decide how wide swaths of the government operate. Many Australians see Morrison’s moves as decidedly Trumpian, and critics say Morrison damaged the country’s democracy.
Details: In 2020, Morrison apparently realized that the country’s pandemic response would have essentially put the health minister above the prime minister. So he appointed himself second health minister — and then as finance minister, to make sure he could also have a say over emergency spending.
Reaction: Yesterday, amid rising calls for him to resign his parliamentary seat, Morrison said his power play had been the “right decision” for “very unconventional times.”
Dealings: Before the election in May, Morrison used his new ministerial powers to overrule the resources minister on a contentious gas project, killing it off over concerns that it could hurt his party’s chances. He apologized yesterday.