Scott Morrison's 'shocking' secret jobs revealed – so why did he do it?

·News Reporter
·3-min read

Political analysts are questioning the motive of former prime minister Scott Morrison to secretly appoint himself to three ministry positions without the knowledge of his senior cabinet colleagues.

Mr Morrison was sworn in as minister of finance and health during the early stages of the pandemic in 2020, according to The Australian.

Then late last year he was secretly sworn in as resources minister following a spat with then Resources Minister Keith Pitt over a controversial petroleum project off the NSW coast, as reported by news.com.au.

Scott Morrison is believed to have taken on three portfolios as a joint minister while he was in the top job. Source: Getty
Scott Morrison is believed to have taken on three portfolios as a joint minister while he was in the top job. Source: Getty

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese slammed the revelations as “extraordinary” while speaking to journalists on Monday morning.

“The people of Australia were kept in the dark as to what the ministerial arrangements were,” he said.

“It’s completely unacceptable.”

Prime Minister Albanese has since ordered a probe into the claims and says the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is now seeking legal advice from the solicitor general.

'Why would he need to be in these roles'

The man who would have overseen the proceedings has confirmed that he signed instructions to allow Mr Morrison to take on other portfolios.

In a statement, Governor-General David Hurley said the move was “consistent with section 64 of the constitution” and that it was not uncommon for ministers to be appointed to other departments.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison pictured with clenched fists Source: AAP
Former prime minister Scott Morrison is facing questions as to why he secretly appointed himself joint minister of three portfolios. Source: AAP

But political analysts have slammed the motion as “unprecedented.”

“I am just shocked, I really am,” Dr Andrew Hughes, a lecturer at the Australian National University, told Yahoo News Australia.

“It’s just like there were two governments being run. One accountable and one not.”

“So much for the integrity of the government itself.”

Without any extra pay on the cards for taking on additional responsibility, Dr Hughes was left clueless as to why Mr Morrison pulled such a “secret and shadowy” move.

“This is the surprising thing,” he said, “why would he need to be in those roles in the first place?”

“He’s the prime minister. He’s got the power to overrule those decisions. Why would he need to be directly involved?

“It might raise questions about whether he had stakeholder groups pressuring him into making decisions, or was he thinking more about electoral outcomes than ones which might be in the nation’s interests based on other reasons and other grounds.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Source: AAP
Anthony Albanese has slammed the revelations as 'completely unacceptable.' Source: AAP

Ministry power 'used to kill off gas project'

While questions remain over why Mr Morrison appointed himself into the portfolios, at least one of his moves is clear.

After taking on the role as a second resources minister, the then prime minister overruled Mr Pitt to kill off a multimillion-dollar offshore gas project off the coast of Sydney and Newcastle known as the PEP-11.

It would have covered 4,500 square kilometres of ocean and come within six kilometres of the shoreline from Manly.

Who knew and why didn't they come forward?

While it remains unclear exactly who knew about Mr Morrison’s secret roles, Dr Hughes has questioned why no one came forward.

“How far does this go and how many more people were involved?” he probed.

“Who knew about it but said nothing and did nothing? Yet they would have been under obligation to come forward and say, ‘hey this is what’s going on’.

“And that's the next thing too, is how much information has been kept from us?

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