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It’s my prerogative: Morrison’s last despotic act as Immigration Minister

One of the last despotic acts of former Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was to threaten to revoke the power of Moreland City Council Mayor, Meghan Hopper, to perform citizenship ceremonies unless she agreed to read out his ministerial message during the ceremonies.

Moreland Council has a policy of welcoming refugees into the shire.

Ms Hopper stated: “I do not feel comfortable acting as a spokesperson when it comes to personal messages from the minister. I feel that the reading of a message from the minister in fact politicises what should be an apolitical occasion, as does threatening to remove Moreland’s ability to confer citizenship.”

The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code states: Citizenship ceremonies are non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular.They must not be used as forums for political, partisan or religious expression or for the distribution of material which could be perceived to be of a commercial, political or religious nature.

The Sydney Morning Herald article notes: According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the reading of the minister’s message is not compulsory under legislation.

Despite that, Mr Morrison said in his letter to Ms Hopper that it was his “prerogative” that the message be read aloud, as it is an “integral part of the ceremony”.

As part of his response, Mr Morrison included a one-page “letter of agreement” for Ms Hopper to sign, stating that she will include the message as part of Moreland’s ceremony.

“If you fail to comply with this request by January 10 2015, I will withdraw your authority, and that of the deputy mayor and general manager, to preside at Australian citizenship ceremonies,” he said in the letter.

It is difficult to see this behaviour by Morrison as anything more than petty revenge against a Mayor and council who oppose the Abbott government’s refugee policies.

No one should be surprised at Morrison’s efforts at petty revenge. Such efforts are the hallmark of a government that has spent the majority of its time so far in office deliberately trashing previous ALP policies for no reason other than that they were ALP policies.

There is no legislation that requires any official performing citizenship ceremonies to read out a ministerial message. Regardless of the law, Morrison employed intimidatory bullying tactics to demand his speech be read in the future. This is, he claims, his “prerogative.” Note that legislation is irrelevant to this minister of the crown. What counts here is his personal “prerogative.”

As Morrison is now Minister for Social Services we can expect an ongoing disregard for legislation, and a lot more bullying on the grounds of his personal prerogatives.

A minister of the crown must uphold legislation or seek to change it. Deliberately ignoring legislation and instead attempting to impose one’s personal prerogative over and above it, is not acceptable ministerial behaviour. Ministers of the crown have a particular responsibility to respect our laws.

Morrison’s former department, when seeking extended powers for him, argued thus: The DIBA submission to a Senate committee argues that an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown has gained a particular insight into the community’s standards and values.

The rest of us are expected to observe the laws that govern community standards and values. If an elected member of parliament and minister of the crown so conspicuously fails to do this, and instead threatens and bullies others on the sole grounds of his personal prerogative, we do not have a democratic government, we have a burgeoning dictatorship.

This article was originally published on No Place for Sheep.

 

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32 comments

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  1. Terry Goulden

    Might I suggest that she does read the statement but have the town band there to highlight the statement with a brisk rendition of Deutschland Deutschland Uber Alles

  2. Jamie Raisbeck

    Why does no one have a copy of the statement that Mr. Morrison wants read at these ceremonies?

  3. corvus boreus

    I think Mayor Hopper should give her own interpretaion of the statement of the staement of the outgoing Minister, spoken in the divine and mystical ‘language’ of tongues.

    “Gnee garablakh dech madrah, bes epp tog negrata!”

  4. stephengb2014

    Sounds as though Morrison is acting ‘ultra vires’ which I understand is a crimminal offence.
    Admin Law

  5. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @stephengb2014

    I don’t think that scumbag Morrisscum was ‘ultra vires’ because he was the minister at the time and his power was greater than that of the lesser role of a local government delegated power.

    Also, it is only a criminal offence if under Criminal Law.

    Nonetheless, Ministers can be called to account if they exceed their powers under the legislation that determines the acts that their portfolios are tied to.

    Morrisscum could be brought to account in our justice system if an action is brought against him for his persecution of asylum seekers in his previous role or anticipated persecution of vulnerable welfare recipients.

    If the parties with standing have the will, the backing, the financial support and most importantly the legal representation, and the case can be proven to be strong enough, Morrisscum can be kicked out of his comfort zone quick smart with actions brought before our Australian courts, as well as the International Criminal Courts for his crimes against humanity.

  6. eli nes

    ‘petty revenge’ he has his leader’s examples against gillard and the lemon. Funny that abbutt, constrained by labor’s disastous economy, can spend millions on revenge and billions on exporting jobs and inadequate FTAs with impunity. Where is a journalist with political integrity or vocal opposition?

  7. Garth

    I have never felt so much disdain for another person as I do for Morrison. He seems to transgress any semblance of decent, ethical behaviour but goes to an extreme I didn’t think possible. Just who does he think he is? As a citizen of Australia I agree to abide by its laws whether I agree or not. As noted in the article, if I don’t, I can take steps to try and change said laws. For a minister of the crown to do the shit Morrison is doing is just.. just… just
    .. I don’t know what the word is but I’m ready to explode. The man disgusts me, and as someone currently looking for work, more than scares me!!

  8. JohnB

    Eventually found it –
    Instruction re minister’s message:
    http://www.citizenship.gov.au/ceremonies/minister_message/
    The Minister’s welcoming message:
    http://www.citizenship.gov.au/ceremonies/minister_message/welcome_message_from_the_minister

    The message itself appears inoffensive; the minister’s overbearing attitude however is yet another a show of despotic arrogance we’ve come to expect of the smug fascist.

    Morrison is totally unsuited to civil public office.

  9. John Fraser

    <

    This is the full Letter :

    http://www.citizenship.gov.au/ceremonies/minister_message/_files/minister-morrison-65th-anniversary-message.pdf

    tHe entire letter is out of place but what really stands out for me is this :

    "I acknowledge our Indigenous Australians who were the first people to place their footprints on this
    magnificent land.'

    You see ….. Australia's Indigenous population were never the owners of "Australia".

    If the Letter had said that it would have meant that the British invaded and conquered Australia.

    And …. of course ….. we know that didn't happen, did it ?

    Funny how the same thing happened in New Zealand and the Maoris have the Treaty of Waitangi.

    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/treaty/the-treaty-in-brief

    Well not funny really …. and then consider Abbotts promise to Australia's Indigenous population for a preamble in the Constitution …. a postponed promise !

    And Dutton is going to stand by the Letter ….. no separating the Abbott gang, each and everyone of them are guilty.

  10. mars08

    The TV and radio news readers of Australia are either the most clueless or most fabulously professional on the planet. How they can keep a straight face when reporting government criticism of other nation’s human rights abuses… is absolutely astounding!

  11. Mark

    He is Peter Reith all over again.

  12. Annie B

    @Mark ……

    Admittedly, Peter Reith and his ‘children overboard ‘ debacle during the Howard years, was utterly horrid.
    So many excuses, so many lies and made up scenarios.

    But Reith is kindergarten calibre, compared to this indescribable character of utterly ill repute, heinous and vile actions and activities, and holier-than-everybody attitudes – the former Minister for Immigration.

    He is the ultimate despot – a tyrant in every sense of the word, and is more than capable of putting Hitler to shame.

    As a Member of Parliament, to even use the words ” it’s my prerogative” is shameful, because it shows his contempt, his bullying tactics, and his ability to try and manipulate. And THAT is waaay outside his sphere of activity of ministerial obligation. I stand to be corrected, but was always of the impression that Federal and State Governments, could not in any way, meddle with local Government decisions. And that’s what he tried to do.

    Why doesn’t Abbott do something about it ?? – well he has ( in a slimy kind of way ) by demoting ‘it’ to a land bound portfolio, taking him away from the international stage …… but …. I do believe with every fibre of my being, that Abbott is terrified of this creep and quite frankly, doesn’t have a clue how to handle him.

    …….

    Garth …….. I full understand and agree ….. it’s the way I, and I have know, many many others, feel.

    Something ( legal ) has to be done about this creature.

  13. Annie B

    @Jennifer Meyer-Smith.

    I am a bit puzzled by one of your comments, and would like to be enlightened about it.

    That being ( in your reply to stephengb2014 ) ….. “Morrisscum could be brought to account in our justice system if an action is brought against him for his persecution of asylum seekers in his previous role or anticipated persecution of vulnerable welfare recipients.”

    It might be an odd question, but I was always under the impression that no-one can be brought to account in a court of law, on the assumption of what he/she might do in the future. – – { ” or anticipated persecution of vulnerable welfare recipients”. } …

    While I would wish this could be in Morrison’s case – don’t courts of law deal with ONLY what has already happened ( in arrests / court proceedings bringing a matter before a judge and/or jury to deliberate ), and not with what might happen in the future – except in a) the decision to remand or not — and b) the judges’ ultimate sentencing if the defendant is found guilty. ?

    Just interested to know.

    In any case, no matter what – this creature has to be brought to justice – one way or another. SOMEHOW.

    To that end, I am hoping Andrew Wilkie is successful in his appeal to the High Court here, and internationally in the Hague to bring some accountability to both Morrison ( in particular ) and Abbott, who is supposed to be responsible for his party.

  14. CMMC

    Morrison, as with most of the LNP, could be ‘sectioned’ by the Police.

    It is the modern way of putting someone in the looney bin.

  15. mars08

    From the article: “The DIBA submission to a Senate committee argues that an elected member of parliament and minister of the Crown has gained a particular insight into the community’s standards and values.”

    This sort of stuff is offensive and frightening!!! A clear example of the “born to rule” mentality that exists in the Coalition. Such “arguments” have no place in our (putative) democracy!

  16. rikda

    Dear minister Morrison. The people of the Eastern Suburbs will determine who railroaded Micheal Towke for your seat in this disgraceful government, but you need to take stock of who you are.
    You are not Charlie Teo. You are not General Cosgrove & you are not Dick Smith.
    You are the product of political party favoritism & manipulation.
    Your job as a public servant means that you don’t get to threaten any law abiding citizen & you don’t have the authority to lie by omission & demand it be thrust on someone else.
    Your reputation as an honourable man is in tatters, You have behave deplorably & if you had a semblance of respectability you would have known from the beginning that your actions are more about your own ego that a competent performance as a humanitarian.
    You should sit down. Shut up. And behave like you were brought up by humans.

  17. Mark Riley

    The mayor should sign the agreement to read it, and on the day not read it. When Dutton compalins she can just say it was a cut from the ceremony as an efficiency dividend.

  18. Salstarat

    Scott MoralsNone just gets MORE arrogant, MORE despotic and MORE evil as each day goes on. He is a complete psychopath emboldened by Abbott’s nod of approval to his bullying, thuggish methods of intimidation … because intimidation, threats and bullying are hallmarks of this despicably offensive LNP government! The woefully inept Abbott and the callously cruel misanthropic Scott MoralsNone are the most despised, hated men in Australia’s history. Morrison is determined to push through his hateful, xenophobic and thoroughly racist agenda no matter the consequences. This revolting, repugnant autocratic little fascist is a legend in his own mind – Meghan Hopper MUST stand up to him. She must rally the support of Labor and the Greens and get her community and the wider community within Australia to finally MAKE A STAND against this government. HOW BAD DOES THIS GOVERNMENT HAVE TO GET BEFORE AUSTRALIANS FINALLY STAND UP AND DEMAND … ABSOLUTELY DEMAND .. THEIR DISMISSAL! The dismissal of this blatantly corrupt, overwhelmingly undemocratic fascist government is absolutely IMPERATIVE. The Abbott fascist regime is unspeakably evil … they are sinking in self entitlement, spitting on our human rights, stomping on our democracy, muzzling our free speech … IT CANNOT BE TOLERATED FOR ONE MINUTE MORE!

    People of Australia need to STAND UP, grow a pair of balls, get out of their all-encompassing mire of complacency and despairing apathy and force the useless LNP puppet, Peter Cosgrove, to DO HIS JOB and sack this oppressive, fascist government which (as Malcolm Fraser has stated) is the single most dangerous government in our history! The LNP have broken so many laws and defiled the human rights of so many people, eg farmers in northern Queensland (stealing their lands to sell to Chinese interests in cooperation with the ANZ), asylum seekers (at least 2 murdered and the lack of transparency and dark secrecy of off-shore concentration camps will, no doubt, be hiding more horrors that we are not aware of), that they cannot be allowed to stay in power for a minute longer. In only 16 months the CHAOS, the environmental vandalism, the total destruction to our international reputation, the catastrophic impact on our egalitarian society, the tearing down of our democracy has been on a scale never before seen in our history. This horrific wrecking ball of a government will leave us with NOTHING but a dying environment, will take-take-take everything we have and hand it across to feed the endless rapacity of avaricious disgusting vultures like Gina Rinehart, will sell off every asset Australian taxpayers own to expend on weapons of war whilst allowing billionaires to be fully subsidised by penny pinching from the poor!

    STAND UP and FIGHT and DEMAND THAT THIS GOVERNMENT BE DISMISSED! We must organise another MASSIVE MARCH … a march on Canberra. Abbott’s vile government crawled across the electoral line on a platform of LIES and deception … they are NOT FIT TO GOVERN and they are in government on FALSE PRETENCES. They have lied, cheated, broken promises, have been caught out in one corrupt deal after another. Abbott has STILL not proven that he has relinquished his UK citizenship under Article 44i of the Australian constitution …. this ALONE should be sufficient to sack the dog. Why don’t the Greens and Labor initiate Abbott’s sacking on this issue? Once we get rid of the snake at the head of this, the worst government in our history, MoralsNone will be collateral damage.

  19. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hi Annie B,

    my statement “or anticipated persecution of vulnerable welfare recipients” is my assumption that Morrisscum will probably do, or attempt to do, to vulnerable people on welfare what he did to asylum seekers and that is make their lives hell –

    – not knowing how they will cope, if their safety nets are withdrawn with NO likelihood of employment or other meaningful means to provide for themselves and their families.

    Not everybody has family support, or reliable public transport, or sufficient local diverse industries, etc from which to seek appropriate and sufficient employment opportunities.

    Morrisscum, the Fascist, will likely try to bully people into mindLESS, meaningLESS programs only suited to filling the pockets of his vested interests mates.

    So, if Morrisscum abuses his position as Minister for Social Services and an action can be brought against him on behalf of unjustly discriminated welfare recipients –

    – whether they be disadvantaged poor and un/under-employed people, carers, disabled people, single parents etc, –

    Morrisscum will have more than he bargained for and it can go all the way to the High Court.

  20. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    @Salstarat @9.00am

    I agree with every word. Beautifully stated. Put the bastards on toast.

    (May I borrow “endless rapacity of avaricious disgusting vultures” for future reference?)

  21. Dagney J. Taggart

    Pretty innocuous letter from Morrison. Not unreasonable to read at a citizenship ceremony, although a letter from the Prime Minister would be more appropriate. Have to laugh at the mayor in question bleating about Morrison politicising the ceremony when that is exactly what she is doing by not reading out the letter.

    Having said that, Morrison’s apparent reaction is somewhat over the top.

  22. Salstarat

    Dagney, yes the letter by Morrison appears to be innocuous, however, it is the way he DEMANDED it read that is truly offensive. His autocratic manner and bullying persona immediately put people in “attack mode” .. quite simply, the man has all the social graces of a 9 ton elephant rampaging through a china shop! It is his pervasive self righteous attitude that has made Morriscum so unpopular even amongst his own despicable peers within the LNP … Morrison has no compunction about overstepping the boundaries, taking control of other people’s portfolios, interfering in matters that are no longer his business … he is NO LONGER the Immigration Minister, therefore, his unwanted letter on Australian Citizenship is no longer under his abysmal jurisdiction! Morrison is far worse than a CONTROL FREAK, he is a freak that is completely OUT of control – he is drunk on power and blood lust. He is allowed to run amok forcing through loathsome policies that Abbott hasn’t got the intestinal fortitude to enforce but, rather, sends out Morrison as his delegated attack dog. There is a LOT of hatred, control and ego riding BEHIND this (apparently) innocuous letter … but when one reads between the lines, it’s not just about the letter, is it? It is about maintaining absolute autocratic CONTROL over everything he touches …. even portfolios from which he has been removed!

  23. Annie B

    Mark … I agree with you — Mayor Hopper should do exactly as you suggested ( it is HER council and her constituency over which she presides ) …. and I very seriously doubt that Dutton would complain. a) because the letter was written NOT under his signature, b) because he is now the Minister for Immigration and not the creator and sender of the letter … and c) he most likely does not come within a bull’s roar of being the loathsome creature that Morrison is ….

    Dutton may well re-word the letter to suit the occasion and to appease Mayor Hopper – then again maybe not.

    I sincerely hope she stands by her principles and does not deliver that letter into the Naturalisation Ceremonies that are scheduled for 2015 at the Coburg Town Hall.

  24. Annie B

    @Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thank you for your kind reply. And I do understand why you worded that comment the way you did – it was me in the early hours of morning that did not look closely enough perhaps !!

    Unfortunately, before any form of action can be taken against this horror Minister, and under his current portfolio, someone has to suffer … initially. I am wondering if there has ever been a precedent whereby class action has been taken against a Government or Government Minister here specifically – anywhere ? I doubt it, but ….

    ( Argentina springs to mind, but I might be waaaay
    off base on that. Besides which, what ever happened
    in Argentina so many moons ago, would have no
    bearing on our own law and legal procedures, today. )

    ……………

  25. Annie B

    @ Mark and Jennifer :

    I was always under the impression that the Federal ( and State ) Governments cannot specifically ‘interfere’ in the running of Local Councils or Shires. To this end, I went on a search.

    http://theconversation.com/constitutional-recognition-for-councils-a-better-governed-australia-10184

    While this doesn’t define any conclusions that have been legislated ( is it still being debated ? ) …. it does make several points in conclusion of the article, the first 3 of which note :

    ….” First and foremost, constitutional recognition must entrench a guarantee that each local government will be controlled by a democratically council elected from that community and accountable to that community.

    Second, each local government must have the right to make decisions on any matter so long as decisions do not conflict with the laws of Australia or the state or territory.

    Third, each local government should not be liable to interference in its affairs by the government of Australia or relevant state or territory.

    The third point is the most relevant.

    …….. On this alone, the past Min. for Immigration – could be hauled over the coals, at least for claiming his own personal ‘prerogative’ over the Moreland Council and its Mayor. …. Abbott won’t do that because I sincerely believe he is in fact quite terrified of the man ( despite what Abbott might appear to be ). …… What else can Abbott do, but stand up and uphold, admire and agree with his own Ministers.

    Just imagine ” People of Australia – I am sh*t scared of this bloke standing beside me ” !!

    But it’s no laughing matter ….. this creep must never be allowed to within sniffing distance of the Prime Ministership.

  26. Dagney J. Taggart

    Morrison was peeved because the Mayor in question was proposing to not follow the procedure laid down by the government (a procedure that is, and has been, presumably, acceptable to all other citizenship ceremonies throughout the land. Law? No, but policy. Link (which may or may not work – copy paste as last resort)

    http://www.citizenship.gov.au/_pdf/australian-citizenship-ceremonies-code.pdf

    A political cunning stunt.

  27. corvus boreus

    Dagney,
    Were your last two words a spoonerism?

  28. Dagney J. Taggart

    Well that was my second attempt at typing it………

  29. Kaye Lee

    I notice that the mayor said she was not prepared to jeopardise the ceremony for her constituents so would relent if she had to. Morrison was more than happy to ban proceedings and for these people to be disappointed, all because of his intractable hubris. Nothing cunning or stunning about this…..grub.

  30. Annie B

    As he is no longer Minister for Immigration – he is out of the equation. …… Surely ?

    I hope she does NOT fold to this ‘manipulation’ … which is not even his to ‘manipulate’, any further.

    What kind of person is he …. I hope we never find out, fully. It would be horrific, I would think.

  31. gangey1959

    Thank you Jennifer.
    Maybe the honorable federal member who represents “Shooters & Fishing” party could draft a piece of legislation that finished with Morrison being taken out and shot and then being used for bait. Not very likely, but we can dream. Maggotts make great bait I beleive

  32. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Hear, hear gangey1959.

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