Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he will investigate reports that his predecessor, Scott Morrison, secretly assumed three roles in the Ministry.
Morrison became joint minister for the health, finance and resources portfolios in the two years before he lost power in May, the BBC quoted a local media report as saying.
Albanese said he would seek legal advice about the decisions, calling them “unacceptable” and “just weird”. The former Prime Minister has declined to comment.
On Monday, Governor-General David Hurley confirmed he had signed an “administrative instrument” that had allowed Morrison to secretly take on the portfolios.
It was “consistent with section 64 of the constitution”, a spokesperson said.
But Albanese, law experts and Morrison’s former colleagues have criticised the secrecy surrounding it.
Even some ministers were reportedly not aware they were sharing portfolios with the former prime minister.
“This is the sort of ‘tin pot’ activity that we would ridicule if it was in a non-democratic country,” Albanese told reporters on Monday.
Local media reported that former Health Minister Greg Hunt agreed in 2020 to share his portfolio in the event he became incapacitated from Covid, the BBC reported.
But then-Finance Minister Mathias Cormann only learned last week that his role had been jointly held, said a report by local outlet News.com.au.
Morrison was sworn in as a second resources minister, joining Keith Pitt, last year. Morrison used his powers to block a gas exploration licence in New South Wales, a decision opposed by Pitt.
Albanese said he would not speculate on forthcoming legal advice but accused his predecessor of having governed “in the shadows”, the BBC reported.