The revelation that the then Prime Minister decided he needed to create a duopoly of ministerial positions surprised many. For me, it was totality unsurprising. If anything, it vindicated all I (and others) have written about Scott Morrison on The AIMN, even long before he was Prime Minister
He carries his lack of transparency like a fortress against those seeking truth. At his press conference last Wednesday, he revealed his reasons for taking over the five ministerial roles.
The first was a fear that ministers in question might become ill from COVID-19. That’s not in question. The Westminster system allows acting ministers to be appointed, but even our security agencies weren’t aware that there were duplicate ministers.
The second was that he couldn’t trust the ministers not to act unilaterally against the national interest. This begs the question of why they would be appointed in the first place. All the ministers involved held special powers granted by acts of Parliament. His words bite and are worthy of special consideration.
He said he feared “some threat to the national interest.”
His final reason, indeed the most astonishing, was that he felt that he was the only Australian capable of handling the problem but needed to have the power to override his ministers. So, in concert with the Governor General, he was given this power. And in secret.
These actions reveal a man of the most humongous personality. One who was prepared to bypass “the doctrine of responsible government” was unable to trust his ministers, unable to convey the truth to them and the Australian people.
If we are to save our democracy, we might begin by asking that, at the very least, our politicians should be transparent and tell the truth.
During his time as Immigration Minister to Treasurer and Prime Minister, his need for secrecy was paramount. The Auditor General’s report into access to FOI documents shut down debate in Parliament; on water matters, MPs expenses etc.
Listening to Scott Morrison trying to defend his actions at the press conference, one could not escape two points. One, his history of lying, and two, his account of transparency. On these two points, one could only conclude that he was unconvincing, and you couldn’t trust him as far as you could throw him. That he thought he was the only Australian with the knowledge and skills to manage us through the COVID-19 pandemic reveals Messianic sentiments on the part of Morrison.
This Governments performance over its time in office has been like a daily shower of offensiveness raining down on society. Surely performance or lack of it must mean something.
He duplicated the Resources Minister, Treasure, Health Minister, Finance and Home Affairs Minister to gain more power. An unfettered power that would override that of his appointed ministers. Why? One example is that he quietly swore himself in as a second resources minister and used the ability to kill off a coastal gas project that then-resources minister Keith Pitt overwhelmingly supported.
Enquiries might conclude that no laws have been broken, but importantly conventions have, and no adequate answers have been forthcoming.
Hunt understood he was in a power-sharing arrangement. The resources minister didn’t have a clue. Mathias Cormann, Finance Minister, didn’t know he was sharing his role.
Keith Pitt was in the dark that he was sharing the resources ministry with the prime Minister. “I certainly found it unusual“, Pitt said upon learning of the move.
If the Governor General secretly swore-in a Prime Minister to side-hustle Ministries, and the same Prime Minister promised $18 million to a pop-up charity supported by the Governor General that had no office, history, or plan, what time is the GG resigning?
— Kaz Cooke (@reallykazcooke) August 15, 2022
Morrison was secretly Home Affairs Minister for a whole year. This means he administered the ASIO Act, the AFP Act, the ABF Act and the Surveillance Devices Act, among many others. What did he do with this extraordinary power, and when. Full disclosure please, and now.
— Nick McKim (@NickMcKim) August 16, 2022
Trying to understand what makes a man do these extraordinary and unprecedented things is a phycological nightmare, and my best guess tells me its origins lay in religion. I can assure the reader that the adherents of scripture do believe them. Passionately enough to take them literally.
Below are four Bible scriptures that deal with power:
Corinthians 2:5 That your faith might not rest in men’s wisdom but in God’s power.
Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. There is no authority except God, who has instituted those that exist.
Corinthians 4:20 For God’s kingdom does not consist of talk but power.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power within us.
With the loss of the election, one can assume that Morrison would have sought solace in prayer, scripture reading and meditation. There is plenty in the book to prop up your failures and move on. It cannot be overstated just how seriously adherents of Biblical Pentecostal teaching take it.
Why did he do all this duplication of ministries? Was it just for additional power? Was he genuinely concerned about the pandemic and the capabilities he may need?
But even that doesn’t make sense, given that our Constitution covers those contingencies.
The rise of narcissism and inequality and the demise of compassion illustrate the state of the world.
Even the secrecy the Prime Minister employed to arrange his duplication of the five ministries has MPs worried, and the Governor Generals’ involvement is under a constitutional cloud.
The press conference itself was just the oddest thing; Morrison was full of resentment, lacking a scintilla of remorse and full of inconsistencies.
The authors of the book in question owe some explanation as to why they kept these matters a secret for two years.
What was the Governor General’s involvement in this sleazy affair? His only obligation would have been to warn the Prime Minister if he concluded that Morrison was making the appointments secret.
What part did Phil Gaetjens, Secretary to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, play in this sordid affair? We don’t know.
When the final curtain comes down on Scott Morrison’s political career, he will be described as an unaccountable, unapologetic, unchristian politician who became an MP using dubious pre-selection tactics. It will be said of him that he was a narcissistic fast-talking man filled with self-absorbency and little more.
He understood little of leadership, and many have judged him to be the worst on a long list of Prime Ministers. He achieved nothing and was eventually replaced by a man who appreciated the workings of a true democracy.
My thought for the day
The right to vote is the gift that democracy gives. Suppose a political party is not transparent in supplying all the information necessary to exercise this right. It is destroying the democracy that enables it to exist.
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