Nationals leader in the Senate, Bridget McKenzie seemed outraged that Scott Morrison had breached the coalition agreement by usurping the authority of Nationals resources minister Keith Pitt in April 2021.
‘Our coalition arrangements are a negotiated outcome and they include a ratio of cabinet portfolios in a coalition government,’ she told ABC Radio National on Thursday.
‘By essentially removing the authority of one of those ministers and giving it to a Liberal minister… (he) breached the coalition agreement.
‘It showed complete disrespect for the second party of government… the National Party would not have agreed with having one of its ministers removed.’
Except Keith Pitt knew about the arrangement when he was overruled on the PEP-11 gas permit and he told Q&A host Stan Grant that Michael McCormack knew of Morrison’s co-ministering as well. So clearly the Nationals did know and allowed it to happen without comment.
McKenzie went further on ABC’s Afternoon Briefing, calling the moves by Morrison “absolutely unprecedented”.
“I think these revelations do bring into question our Westminster system of government, the conventions that underpin how we have confidence and trust in our parliamentary system.
“As a former cabinet minister in the Turnbull and Morrison governments I took those conventions very seriously.
“If there were two ministers effectively exercising the same authority within cabinet, who was the senior minister? What if they disagreed? What implications does that have for decisions?”
McKenzie added that the Westminster system has many conventions to keep government officials accountable, but they only work “if everyone within it abides by those conventions” and all parliamentarians should be held accountable, agreeing that Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made the right call to review Morrison’s secret appointment.
But what makes Bridget’s belated outrage even more ludicrous is the fact that her partner, Simon Benson, is the journalist who wrote the book, based on contemporaneous interviews, that disclosed Morrison’s secret power grab.
So spare me your pretence, Bridget. You and your colleagues were complicit in the reign of secrecy and dishonesty because your own political ambition outweighs any respect for good governance.
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