Canberra: Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on Wednesday officially censured by Parliament for secretly appointing himself to five ministerial portfolios while in office.
Censure motions are Parliament’s way of formally expressing disapproval in an MP, and are decided by a vote in the chamber. They can be used to condemn a party as a whole, usually the opposition, or an individual sitting in either house.
Before the censure vote, Morrison refused to apologise for his “entirely necessary” actions, saying criticism is being made in the “calm of hindsight”, SBS News reported.
He also called the move a “retribution” by opponents.
This is the first time in Australia that a former Prime Minister has been censured by the House of Representatives.
After Morrison left the House of Representatives chamber soon afterwards, incumbent Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that his predecessor’s appointments were a “slippery slope” towards autocracy, the BBC reported.
“The fact is that our democracy is precious. There’s no room for complacency. The public didn’t know something it was entitled to know,” he said, adding that Morrison owes Australians an apology.
Wednesday’s development comes after it emerged in August that Morrison had become joint minister for health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources.
Most ministers were reportedly unaware they were sharing portfolios with Morrison and he has been widely criticised, including by close colleagues.
A subsequent report into the secret appointments said the former Prime Minister’s actions were “corrosive of trust in government”.