NEWS: Australia
parliament accuses former prime minister

For­mer Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son on Wednes­day hit back at par­lia­men­tary charges for secret­ly amass­ing the pow­ers of sev­er­al min­is­ters, cit­ing achieve­ments dur­ing his admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing stand­ing up to a “bul­ly” Chi­na. declared unsuccessful.

The cen­tre-left Labor gov­ern­ment has tak­en the unprece­dent­ed step of appoint­ing itself five min­is­ters as Con­ser­v­a­tive prime min­is­ter between March 2020 and May 2021, usu­al­ly with­out the exist­ing min­is­ters’ knowl­edge. Mor­ri­son intro­duced a rare cen­sure res­o­lu­tion in the House of Representatives.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 86 to 50. With Labor’s major­i­ty in the House of Com­mons, it was cer­tain to pass, but most oppo­si­tion law­mak­ers saw it as a “polit­i­cal pay­off”. Mr Mor­ri­son is the first for­mer prime min­is­ter to be held accountable.

A bill to cen­sure Mor­ri­son, who remains an oppo­si­tion law­mak­er, will do lit­tle more than tar­nish his polit­i­cal legacy.

Mor­ri­son pub­licly com­ment­ed on the con­tro­ver­sy Wednes­day for the first time since his pow­er grab was exposed in inter­views he gave to two reporters about the gov­ern­men­t’s response to the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic in August. He has since released two doc­u­ments through his lawyers.

Mor­ri­son said he had giv­en him­self addi­tion­al min­is­te­r­i­al pow­ers at a time when Aus­tralia was “cop­ing with extreme uncer­tain­ty and unpredictability”.

The crit­i­cism was “made with safe and rel­a­tive­ly sober hind­sight,” he said.

“I am proud . In a time of extreme test­ing, my gov­ern­ment has risen and faced the abyss of uncer­tain­ty that our coun­try has faced and the coer­cion of local bul­lies, and has turned Aus­tralia down in the storm. ’” Mor­ri­son said in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, refer­ring to China.

“Droughts, nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, glob­al pan­demics, glob­al and domes­tic reces­sions, the caus­es of pan­demics, the rise and asser­tion of Chi­na to force Aus­tralia into sub­mis­sion, the biggest threats we have seen since World War II. Our coun­try has faced dif­fi­cul­ties,” Mor­ri­son added.

The no-con­fi­dence motion said Mr Mor­ri­son under­mined respon­si­ble gov­ern­ment and under­mined pub­lic con­fi­dence in Aus­tralian democ­ra­cy by fail­ing to inform the Cab­i­net, Par­lia­ment and the Aus­tralian pub­lic of the addi­tion­al pow­ers of his ministers.

The gov­ern­ment, elect­ed in May, cit­ed find­ings about Mr Mor­rison’s unusu­al pow­er grab.

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