The only defence that we, the people, have against an arrogant leader who is thumbing his nose at our democratic arrangements is by shining a light into dark corners and ensuring that our democracy has the ability to assert the power of those democratic fundamentals.
Former High Court Judge The Hon Virginia Bell AC has done a thorough investigation into the behaviour of former prime minister Scott Morrison in appointing himself minister of various government departments and then failing to make his actions public, even to the extent of not informing the ministers that were already appointed to administer those departments.
The Report notes at 217:
‘It is a serious deficiency in governance arrangements that Mr Morrison was able to be appointed to administer five departments of State (in addition to PM&C) without notification of the fact of the appointments to the Parliament or the public and in the case of the Departments of Health, Finance, Home Affairs and the Treasury, without notification to the Department or the other Ministers appointed to administer the Department. There is controversy with respect to the responsibility for this state of affairs.’
It goes on to say:
‘… it is unclear that those within PM&C with knowledge of the appointments gave thought to the fact that they had not been made public. It was apparent by 2021 that the mechanism of appointing Mr Morrison to administer additional departments of State had come to be employed for reasons having little if any connection to the pandemic. It was also apparent that these appointments were not being made public, albeit that it did not occur to anyone in PM&C that Mr Morrison was keeping the appointments secret from his Ministers. While it is troubling that by the time of the 2021 appointments, Mr Gaetjens did not take up the issue of the secrecy surrounding them with Mr Morrison and firmly argue for their public disclosure, the responsibility for that secrecy must reside with Mr Morrison.‘
Morrison declined the invitation to give evidence at the enquiry.
Our democracy has the safeguard of our Constitution and inherent in that is the separation of powers but it also relies heavily on conventions implicit in which is the goodwill and the veracity of those we elect to govern us. But, as Morrison was able to demonstrate, if those in power and those serving them wish to subvert the democratic safeguards there is little to stop them.
The Report is here in full together with the recommendations and whilst it doesn’t seek to criticise our Governor General, the King’s representative, it may be that there has been a bit too much karaoke going on in Government House and not enough thought of ‘We the people’.
Like what we do at The AIMN?
You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.
Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!
Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.
You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969