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Morrison to face rare parliamentary action

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says parliament will invoke a rare censure motion against his predecessor over the secret ministries saga.

November 29, 2022
By Maeve Bannister
29 November 2022

Former prime minister Scott Morrison will face a censure motion by his parliamentary colleagues over his decision to secretly appoint himself to additional ministerial portfolios. 

The Albanese government is expected to move the motion in parliament on Tuesday, during the final sitting week of the year. 

Censure motions do not have any legal consequences but they are rare and give parliamentarians the chance to formally note disapproval with their colleagues.

The Liberal opposition said they would not support the motion and labelled it a “political stunt” by the Labor government.

Labor MP Susan Templeman said the motion was an important line for parliament to draw about the standards it expects of elected MPs. 

“It puts on the record, for all time, that sort of behaviour and things that go outside our Westminster system are not tolerated,” she told ABC News on Monday. 

“We need to demonstrate to our community that has had its faith in democracy rocked … that we do believe in the Westminster system and accountability.”

She said the parliament would censure people who “flagrantly breach” what is considered to be norms of democratic process. 

House leader Tony Burke or Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus are expected to move the motion.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced cabinet ministers also agreed to implement all six recommendations from former High Court judge Virginia Bell’s report into Mr Morrison’s conduct.

He said the government would introduce proposals for new laws to implement the recommendations from the report later this week.

“The actions of the former prime minister were extraordinary, they were unprecedented and they were wrong,” Mr Albanese told parliament. 

He said Australians deserved to know who their ministers were and for the Westminster system of government to be upheld by people they elected to represent them in parliament.

Liberal senator Andrew Bragg said he expected the opposition to support the law reform and increased transparency around changes in ministerial arrangements.

“The reason this is such a big story is because it was such a big surprise,” he said.

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