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GG urged to explain role in Morrison saga

Governor-General David Hurley’s role in Scott Morrison’s secret ministry appointments is being questioned by sitting parliamentarians. 

Independent senator Jacqui Lambie has called on the governor-general to explain the legal advice he received in order to appoint Mr Morrison to five additional portfolios in 2020 and 2021. 

Mr Morrison was sworn into the health, finance, resources, home affairs and treasury portfolios without informing his cabinet or the Australian public. 

“(Mr Hurley) needs to come out and tell us where he got his advice from, he’s going to have to run through and explain it,” Senator Lambie told ABC Radio National on Wednesday. 

“If there’s been no legal breach here, then obviously he’s done nothing wrong.”

The Solicitor-General is preparing advice, which will be handed over on Monday to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, on the legality of the appointments.

“As long as it’s been legally done correctly then the governor-general will survive another day,” Senator Lambie said.

Meanwhile, Labor backbencher Julian Hill suggested Mr Hurley’s position could be untenable and called on him to explain his role in the appointments. 

“The governor-general seems to have effectively participated in a scheme that misled the cabinet, the parliament and the public as to the allocation of ministerial power,” he told Nine newspapers.

But Education Minister Jason Clare said Mr Morrison was the only person to blame for the secret appointments. 

“The governor-general acts on advice, always has (and) he has done exactly that in this situation,” he told the ABC on Wednesday. 

“The blame lays squarely at the feet of the former prime minister, who asked his department to take steps to give him this power … We were kept in the dark, arguably the parliament was misled.”

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the governor-general said Mr Hurley followed processes consistent with the constitution when he appointed Mr Morrison to the portfolios, upon government advice.

“It is not uncommon for ministers to be appointed to administer departments other than their portfolio responsibility,” the spokesperson said.

“These appointments do not require a swearing-in ceremony. The governor-general signs an administrative instrument on the advice of the prime minister.”

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