Scott Morrison lied to the Australian public, again, when he said he would cooperate with the “Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments”. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has allowed Scott Morrison to get away with the lie and he would have known Scott Morrison was lying as soon as the words left Morrison’s mouth.
Mr Morrison refused to meet with former High Court judge Virginia Bell who headed up the inquiry and instead he answered questions via a lawyer.
Virginia Bell handed down her report on Friday the 25th of November 2022. The report starts off with an overview:
1. On 16 August 2022, following revelations in the media a few days earlier, the Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP announced that the Hon Scott Morrison MP had been appointed to administer five departments of State in addition to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (“PM&C”) during his term as Prime Minister. In other words, Mr Morrison had been appointed to administer six of the 14 departments of State. These appointments had not previously been disclosed to the Parliament or to the public.
2. I was appointed to conduct an Inquiry into the appointments. The Terms of Reference require the Inquiry to examine and report on: the facts and circumstances surrounding the appointments; the implications arising from the appointments; and the practices and processes that apply to the appointment of ministers to administer departments under section 64 of the Constitution and directions that ministers hold certain offices under section 65 of the Constitution. I am also asked to recommend any procedural or legislative changes which would provide greater transparency and accountability.
3. The Terms of Reference require me to have regard to the Solicitor-General’s Opinion dated 22 August 2022 (SG No 12 of 2022). In that Opinion, the Solicitor-General concluded that the appointment of Mr Morrison to administer DISER was constitutionally valid. The reasoning applies with equal force to each of the appointments. I approach my task upon acceptance of the Solicitor-General’s analysis and conclusions.
Scott Morrison’s public lies are exposed in the report in paragraph’s 11,12 and 13:
11. In a public statement delivered on 17 August 2022, Mr Morrison justified the secrecy surrounding the appointments on two grounds. In relation to the failure to inform his ministers, Mr Morrison said that he “did not wish Ministers to be second guessing themselves or for there to be the appearance [of] a right of appeal or any diminishing of their authority to exercise their responsibilities”. In relation to the failure to inform the public, Mr Morrison said that “these were emergency, effectively reserve powers”, and there was a risk that the disclosure of the appointments “could be misinterpreted and misunderstood”.
12. However, in the context of my Inquiry, Mr Morrison informed me, again through his legal representative, that “neither [he] nor his office instructed PM&C not to gazette the appointments”, and that he “assumed the usual practice would apply following the relevant Ministerial appointments”. He subsequently explained that he understood the “usual practice” to be that the appointments would be gazetted. This understanding was not consistent with what I was told by PM&C, which is that the announcement of ministerial appointments is the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
13. It is difficult to reconcile Mr Morrison’s choice not to inform his ministers of the appointments out of his wish not to be thought to be second guessing them, with his belief that the appointments had been notified in the Commonwealth Gazette (the “Gazette”). While few members of the public may read the Gazette, any idea that the gazettal of the Prime Minister’s appointment to administer the Treasury (or any of the other appointments) would not be picked up and quickly circulated within the public service and the Parliament strikes me as improbable in the extreme. One might have expected Mr Morrison to inform the affected ministers of the appointments had it been his belief at the time that they were being notified in the Gazette. Finally, there is the circumstance that Mr Morrison was repeatedly pressed at his press conference on 17 August 2022 about his failure not only to inform his ministers but also to inform the public of the appointments. The omission to state that he had acted at all times on the assumption that each appointment had been notified to the public in the Gazette is striking.
If you read the full report more of Scott Morrison’s lies are exposed but the above gives a quick overview. (Click here for a copy of the full report or click here to go to the Inquiries website)
Update 28/11/22: I published the below video on YouTube titled “Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he will slap Scott Morrison with a wet lettuce leaf”.
The failings of the Inquiry
Virginia Bell has not recommended any action against Scott Morrison as it was not her job to do so and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said he will not be taking any action.
There is still a huge question about whether or not it was legal for Scott Morrison to appoint himself to numerous Ministries. The government did get advice from Solicitor-General Stephen Donaghue that Scott Morrison’s appointment to additional ministries was “constitutionally valid”. But that is only one person’s opinion which has never been tested and once again Virginia Bell was not asked for her opinion and was told to assume it was a fact that the appointments were valid as per paragraph 3 of her report.
The problem is “former High Court justice Bill Gummow has questioned Scott Morrison’s decision to take on extra ministerial portfolios, saying the “clandestine appointments” were invalid because of the secrecy involved.” (Click here to read more) Given Bill Gummow’s educated legal opinion why didn’t Anthony Albanese ask Virginia Bell for her opinion given she was already looking at the issue? Why didn’t Anthony Albanese get legal opinions from other legal sources?
Anthony Albanese set the Inquiry up to do the bare minimum
Anthony Albanese could have given Virginia Bell the ability to subpoena witnesses for the Inquiry, either in its current structure or if not make it a Royal Commission, which would have forced Scott Morrison to give evidence. It is only then we might have come close to the truth about why Morrison appointed himself to so many Ministries. Was he funnelling money to his mates via secret tenders or grants etc?
But I suspect Anthony Albanese did not want to set a precedent that could be used against him if he lost an election or retired.
So, because of Anthony Albanese’s self-interest, Scott Morrison was never forced to give evidence even though he implied a couple of months ago he would. The bottom line is Scott Morrison has not been held to account in any shape or form and has walked away while giving Australia the middle finger.
Given Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not tried to hold Scott Morrison to account on this issue what chance is there that National Anti-Corruption Commission will hold people to account?
Anthony Albanese had a great opportunity to hold Scott Morrison to account for his numerous ministerial appointments and start restoring the public’s faith in politics which Albanese said he would do during the 2022 election campaign but he has failed badly.
At the next election, many voters will look at the scoreboard to see how many corrupt Liberal and National politicians were held to account by the Anthony Albanese government and I suspect the answer will be zero.
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Seems that once against, Albonese comes across as a very weak leader, lacking the backbone to take on any matter of a serious nature and shows signs of wanting to protect fellow MPs..
Time will tell if he becomes a one term PM.
Vale Sandy Dawson. Aged 50.
Sandy Dawson has died aged 50.
Were Morrison`s power grabs an attempt to bolster his income? Did he receive Ministerial salary when the parallel appointments took place? Or did he have to wait until the existing Minister was sacked? The Lord moves in mysterious ways.
That’s possible. But I think more likely ultimate power. No one mentions ‘dictator’, but we know Morrison admired Trump. And Trump wanted to be like his good friend Putin.
Morrison has supreme belief in himself and is a driven Pentecostal believing he is chosen. Everyone needs to read about all aspects of Pentecostalism. It explains much of the way he governed.
And we did hear, after the May election loss he spoke at Margaret Courts Victory Church in Perth saying ‘he didn’t trust government’.
Fortunately the Teals, The Greens, other Independents won sufficient electorates to get rid of the Morrison government.
Virginia Bell should have spoken to the GG. She used confidential discussions with the PM as an excuse. There was no test of privilege.
Hurley failed and so did his advisor.
Got to go.
This tells me that there is only one political party in Australia. And both Political parties answer to Washington, Australia is no longer a sovereign country. Morrison should have been referred to the Anti-corruption watch-dog but this watch dog will prove to be toothless tiger. What about the so-called Democracy of other countries around the world. How many countries has the USA bombed on so-called Democracy and Human Rights. Morrison was the biggest anti-China voice on China’s democracy. What is the famous saying “Hypocrisy knows no bounds”.
I have considered your proposition, Steven, re- sovereignty ever since secrecy was imposed on us by the US over their use of Pine Gap.
With the latest announcement by Andrew Wilkie, under parliamentary privilege, the rorting of the testing of the quality of our coal by a mining executive. One would have to be concerned for their future, bearing in mind of what happened to whistleblowers Witness K, Bernard Collaery and is happening now to David McBride and Richard Boyle.
Correction – “our coal, leaked to him by a mining executive.”
Hurley is the worst GG since John Kerr.
This whistleblower exposure was reported in the Newcastle Herald over 2.5 years ago. The Herald is circulated in the 4 Federal Labor electorates around Newcastle. These politicians likely would have known about the tests. And others too. But nothing said.
https://www.newcastleherald.com.au › …
Investigation reveals ALS Newcastle lab altered test results to increase quality and value of export coal
8 Apr 2020 — TESTING giant ALS has called in NSW Police to investigate its Newcastle lab operations following revelations that coal sample reports were faked to artificially boost the quality and value of Australian exports.
What did the voting public expect from “SleazyAlbanese”? He’s a politician & they protect their own kind.”. They all do it no matter which party is in power. A good example is all of the ICACS , whether state or federal, the pollies are a protected species.
I provided a submission, which was acknowledged, and this can be downloaded from https://www.scribd.com/document/589889282/20220829-Mr-G-H-Schorel-Hlavka-O-W-B-Re-SUBMISSION-to-Hon-Virginia-Bell-AC-via-Attorney-General-Mark-Dreyfus I also provided 3 supplements. I did request Virgina Bell to seek a broader term of references, this as I suspected all as long this was a pretended inquiry. I hold that on constitutional ground the Governor-General failed to appropriately exercised prerogative powers as the legal principle embedded by the Framers of the Constitution is that exercise of prerogative powers must be published in the Gazette to be legally valid. In AEC v Schorel-Hlavka relating to 2 cases of failing to vote I actually raised the issue that the Special Gazette dated 8 October 2001 had not been published that day at all but as FOI Act documents proved the following day on 9 October 2001 and hence the writs issued on 8 October 2001 were without legal validity. I (representing myself) succeeded in both cases. The Governor-General when exercising prerogative powers only validate his decision/appointment not when he signs the document but when he has it published in the Gazette. As such, the purported additional appointments of Scott Morrison were never constitutionally valid.
Wake up Australia! The warning bells re scomo, were there long before he became our pie mincer. He was unceremoniously sacked on two occasions, for shonky dealings. On the first occasion, his sacking was implemented by mechanisms of his own political party. The second sacking happened in New Zealand. Both were swept under the carpet. Both fell on deaf ears.
As scomo said to Annabel Crab on camera, “I don’t care what people think”. Subterfuge and obfuscation are part of his skillset. This whole saga has convinced me that Australian politics is not capable of holding it’s head anywhere near high enough.
Shame on all of us!
Yes, that’s right, I remember “I don’t care what people think” AND let’s not forget “I don’t hold a hose, mate” AND “I don’t accept the premise of your question” AND “Not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets” AND “It’s not a race” AND “It’s like that movie The Croods” … Oh the man is such a genius NOT! IMHO, this man-child is an absolute moron that has held back Australian society and damaged its wellbeing. Yes, he still remains a snollygoster, unfortunately.
Another incident I remember that involved that so accurately described Moron involved Barry Cassidy on Insiders. Barry quoted what the pie mincer said in relation to the “children overboard affair”, using Hansard as his reference. The Moron flatly denied saying it, to which Barry said, “but this is from Hansard”. He then repeated his denial three or four times with Barry pulling him up each time. Finally, the liar from the shire said, ” Barry, if I have to, I’ll stand here until my time runs out and continue to deny it!”