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Guilty of lying to us, or just omitting to tell the truth?

The Solicitor-General found that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison hadn’t committed any crime in appointing himself a Minister in five separate portfolios. However, he discovered that Morrison had seriously breached conventions or, put another way, fundamentally undermined the responsibility of government.

There will be those who will say; “so what,” he hasn’t broken any law. Others will say conventions are unwritten rules and fundamentality essential to any democracy. Within a constitution, conventions go beyond regulations to establish trust and accountability.

They allow for elasticity and flexibility that strengthens a constitution and allows for a smoother government function.

A good example is the United States, where “the Speaker of the House of Representatives is always an elected member and leader of the majority party in the house” even though the US Constitution does not make any specific provisions.

There are other examples: In Australia, we don’t vote for a Prime Minister. The majority party’s leader in parliament (the House of Representatives) becomes the prime minister.

A government will resign if it loses a confidence vote in the House of Representatives.

There are many examples, like pairing members to obtain a fair vote. A convention that Tony Abbott was fond of breaking.

Conventions have, in many instances, survived for hundreds of years as an accepted practice, without the authority of the law relying on shared values that have evolved over time.

After receiving advice from the Solicitor-General that Scott Morrison hadn’t broken any laws, attention will now fall on an inquiry to find out who knew what and why didn’t anyone confront him with the news that he was flouting convention.

In four short tweets, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull summarises just why an inquiry is needed.



It was his petulance for secrecy that angered his colleagues.

Conventions, wrote The Conversation a few years ago:

“… are accepted practices that don’t have the authority of law but depend instead on the force of shared values and expectations. They are more fluid and contestable than legal rules and tend to evolve over time.

All political systems extensively use conventions as part of their political culture. But such conventions are essential in systems based on the United Kingdom’s Westminster model.”

In an excellent piece on this subject on Pearls and Irritations (and reproduced on for The AIMN) – a must-read, in my view – John Waterford points out that:

“The novelty and dodginess of Morrison’s request should have tipped the GG to the need for caution and openness. The misjudgement stains his record, indeed is his lasting record.”

He also questions:

“The very novelty of what Morrison was asking, and the knowledge that Morrison regularly showed no regard for process, law or convention, should have suggested to Hurley a need for caution and personal conviction of a strong constitutional footing.”

And concludes that:

“Morrison is not yet telling the full story. We have no reason to believe anything he says. There is clear evidence of trying to get around the requirements of the constitution and breaking any number of conventions and understanding about how responsible democratic government operates. There’s been a long pattern of this. Morrison may now be dead meat, but the smell, the feel and the taste of his lawless regime will persist until there is a searching investigation.”

In the fullness of time, many questions will be asked, and convention will demand that the truth be told.




Who told the book’s authors (the book that revealed about Morrison’s appointment to multiple portfolios: Plagued, by Simon Benson and Geoff Chambers, journalists with The Australian)?

Why were they not recorded in the Governor-General David Hurley’s diary?

Who were the compliant MPs?

Did Morrison defer a lockdown to allow the Hillsong conference to go ahead?

Was Barnaby Joyce putting the loss of a cabinet minister ahead of a convention that told him what he should do?



There will be an inquiry into this affair and a Royal Commission into Robodebt and one into the Coalition government’s handling and response of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the centre of each will be Scott Morrison.

They will be followed by other accusations before the new national integrity commission; Sports Rorts etc.

Probably Morrison’s worst act of disregarding caretaker convention was in the dying hours of his tenure as Prime Minister, when called then-home affairs minister Karen Andrews to demand the unorthodox disclosure of a suspected asylum seeker boat arrival. That was disgraceful.

And in November, Niki Savva will release her latest book on this sordid time in our political history.

In a lengthy piece on his Facebook page, Morrison stood by his self-righteousness but failed to mention the central point of the need for secrecy.

I just have to ask… is he guilty of lying to us, or just omitting to tell the truth?

My thought for the day

The ability of thinking human beings to blindly embrace what they are being told without referring to evaluation and the consideration of fact, truth, and reason never cease to amaze me. It is tantamount to the rejection of rational explanation.

We would be a much better society if we took the risk of thinking for ourselves, rather than allowing ourselves to be manipulated and obstructed by the unadulterated crap served up by the media, self-serving government and self-interest groups.

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  1. New England Cocky

    It appears to me that there is a substantial case to indicate that Scummo, aided by gg David Hurley who had been bought off with the about $18 MILLION gift of taxpayer’s funds to the Australian Future Leaders Foundation Ltd ”charity without assets”, contrived to establish a democratically elected Australian unChristian dictatorship, that was only prevented by the defeat of the COALiiton misgovernment in May 2022.

    The questions JL asks above are relevant and the blustering by Boofhead & his deputy Airhead suggest that there is ”somebody” with considerably more intelligence than those persons who has a thorough knowledge of the legislation and workings of our Parliamentary system, who is the ”person” behind this move.

    When Malcolm Turnbull publicly states his concerns about the LIarbral$ then Australian voters should sit up & listen! Turnbull was a competent lawyer before failing for lack of courage in politics.

  2. Terence Mills

    Sussan Ley, Deputy Opposition leader says Anthony Albanese is obsessed with the politics from the past, after the prime minister announced the details of the inquiry into Scott Morrison.

    Sussan Ley doesn’t like us looking into Morrison’s antics and calls this enquiry a ‘witch hunt’.

    Sussan Ley doesn’t like the prospect of a Royal Commission into the former government’s unlawful debt recovery scheme known as “Robodebt” – labelled a “massive failure” by Federal Court Justice Bernard Murphy. Sussan thinks this too is a ‘witch hunt’.

    Sussan Ley doesn’t like the Jobs & Skills Summit to be run over two days next week : she calls it a stunt.

    Sussan Ley put an extra ‘S’ in her first name as she thought it would alter her personality based on the mystical theory of numerology.
    She believed the change would lead her to have an ‘exciting’ life after reading about numerology. She ended up as Peter Dutton’s offsider !

    Sussan Ley believes she is making a valuable contribution to our polity – I beg to differ !

  3. Harry Lime

    None of the remaining fuckwits in the Opposition want inquiries into their corruption,because every revelation will make them out for the knaves they are,and inform those who didn’t already know.Bring it all on.
    Is Hurley a happy clapper? Sussssssan Ley should be made to wear a sandwich board warning people to keep clear,because every time she opens her whale shark gob people are in danger of being sucked in,if not insulted by her dim wit.

  4. Lawriejay

    Coalition justification !

    Eenie meenie miney moe caught old ScoMo on the ‘way’ when he lies it’s OK – Eenie meenie miney moe!

  5. Keitha Granville

    Lying or leaving stuff out, it makes no difference. The Prime Minister must be a person of the highest integrity, indeed all MPs should be but that’s probably difficult. How can we have any faith in the process of government if the leader is in any way dodgy?

  6. Canguro

    Sussan Ley; former waitress, cleaner, shearer’s cook, stepped up to become a commercial pilot, an aerial stock musterer, a farmer’s wife, an ATO ‘technical trainer’, then serendipitously onwards and upwards via the snaffling of Tim Fischer’s seat of Farrer on his retirement.

    History may record that she may have been better served by remaining a waitress, a cleaner, a cook in a shearing team, an aerial musterer… honest vocations that don’t ask her to make a complete fool of herself every time she opens her mouth.

    Why people feel compelled towards a career in mainstream right-wing politics is one of life’s mysteries. The canard of ‘working for the betterment of my electorate’ has been thoroughly discredited in these degraded times; more a matter of ‘working for the betterment of my bank balance and retirement benefits.’ The ALP, at least, along with the Independents, still retains the integrity that ought to be due from choosing to work for the betterment of society.

  7. wam

    “..are accepted practices that don’t have the authority of law but depend instead on the force of shared values and expectations. They are more fluid and contestable than legal rules and tend to evolve over time.” What ‘common values’ do you have with morrison or suss on everything? Any definition of ‘fluid’ ‘contestable’? Funny you have dropped honesty and found truth. Are thinking individuals able to conclude a different truth to yours?
    blanch, you make susson eveyrthing sound, intelligent, resourceful and experienced.
    Have you heard her speak or just relying on the media and your bias?
    the rabbott’s god is less sexist than scummo’s?

  8. John Lord

    Wam. There must be a few who share common values otherwise we wouldn’t have conventions.

  9. wam

    Sounds fair, lord,
    When I hear cash, susson, dumpton, scummo and the beetroot socially and politically they spout nothing in common with me but a lot in common with some of my friends and relatives. The opposite for your writing which I appreciate and often agree with. Unlike those same friends and elations who label you a lying idiot.
    The point of a convention is to avoid making ‘laws’ that can be challenged but the price is freedom to follow or not.
    keep strong and honest.

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