The federal government will move a motion to censure former Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his own secret appointments to five ministerial portfolios after the final report from the inquiry into the appointments released on Friday found his actions were “unnecessary”.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Monday that the federal cabinet had agreed to move the motion, and because Labor has a majority the motion will pass the House of Representatives.

So what is a censure motion? It’s basically a way for MPs to express their dissatisfaction with the performance of a particular minister and hold them accountable in parliament. But there are no actual legal consequences for whoever’s censured, they just kind of come under pressure to admit their failures and apologise. Censure motions are pretty uncommon and the last time a federal minister was censured was in 2018.

Friday’s report from former high court justice Virginia Bell found Morrison’s appointments were “corrosive of trust in government”.

Albanese said on Monday his government would implement all six of its recommendations.

“We will introduce legislation later this week to make sure that this can never, ever happen again,” he said.

“And this week as well the House will be moving a censure motion [against] the member for Cook [Scott Morrison] as a result of the findings of Virginia Bell and the inquiry.

“This is about accountability of our democratic system and whether the parliament was functioning properly, and about the relationship between the prime minister and the people of Australia, who expect [elected officials] to be held to account through our parliamentary processes.”

Morrison defended his actions again after the report was published, saying the appointments were made during extraordinary times and the pandemic may have called for extraordinary measures.

“As prime minister, my awareness of issues regarding national security and the national interest was broader than that known to individual ministers and certainly to the inquiry,” Mr Morrison said in a statement on Friday.

“This limits the ability for third parties to draw definitive conclusions on such matters.”

But Bell’s report found the powers he gave himself really had nothing to do with managing COVID-19.

Maybe he’ll actually accept responsibility and say sorry after the censure motion passes. Stay tuned.

Image: Getty Images / Asanka Ratnayake