Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Morrison defends GG against criticisms

Governor-General David Hurley is being urged to explain his role in the Scott Morrison saga. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Former prime minister Scott Morrison has defended the governor-general's role in assisting him to secretly appoint himself to five ministerial portfolios.

Criticisms of Governor-General David Hurley are egregious, Mr Morrison said.

"The governor-general took the advice of the day from the government and acted accordingly," he told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

"The governor-general acted with absolute propriety and did everything that was expected of him in these arrangements, and he would have (also) taken the necessary advice from his own office."

Mr Morrison was sworn into the health, finance, resources, home affairs and treasury portfolios in 2020 and 2021 without informing his cabinet or the Australian public.

The administrative appointments were made between his department of prime minister and cabinet and the governor-general's office, Mr Morrison said.

"There was no swearing-in ceremonies, that is the point. These things were done administratively," he said.

Sitting parliamentarians, though, are questioning Mr Hurley's role in the secretive process.

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

"(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.

Governor-General David Hurley is being urged to explain his role in the Scott Morrison saga. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

"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 the part he played 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.

Education Minister Jason Clare insisted 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," Mr Clare 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 official said.

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

Related Stories
GG urged to explain role in Morrison saga
Parliamentarians are questioning the governor-general’s role in Scott Morrison’s secret appointment to five additional portfolios while he was prime minister.
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Why didn’t the governor general push back against Scott Morrison’s secret ministries?
Legal experts say a constitutional crisis could have been triggered had David Hurley refused the PM. Here’s what we know…
Morrison disrespected Nationals: McKenzie
Scott Morrison's former cabinet colleagues have come out saying he should not have kept his control over five ministries a…
Morrison defends ministerial intervention
Former prime minister Scott Morrison has defended his move to be sworn into a number of portfolios, saying the pandemic…
Parliament must act to ensure Australia never has 'secret ministers' again
It was revealed this week that former Prime Minister Scott Morrison was secretly appointed in 2020 and 2021 by Governor-General…
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Revelations of secret portfolios held by Scott Morrison have dominated headlines this week. What happened, when and who knew about it?
The former prime minister took on the health portfolio in secret in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, before…