Solicitor General’s Report Finds Scott Morrison’s Secret Appointments Were, In Fact, Legal


The solicitor general’s report into whether Scott Morrison‘s secret ministerial appointments were legal has just dropped and found that yes, in fact they were, but the “principles of responsible government [were] fundamentally undermined”.

The fact that the public was not informed was irresponsible but not illegal, the report stated.

“The fact that the Parliament, the public and the other Ministers … were not informed of Mr Morrison’s appointment was inconsistent with the conventions and practices that form an essential part of the system of responsible government,” it stated.

“The fact that there was no notification to the public, the Parliament or the other Ministers … does not invalidate that appointment.

“Plainly enough, it is impossible for the Parliament to hold Ministers to account for the administration of departments if it does not know which Ministers are responsible for which departments.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that the appointments were deemed valid but there were serious ramifications on the integrity of our parliamentary system.

“The advice though is, I think, a very clear criticism and critique of the implications that are there for our democratic system of government of what happened under the former Morrison government,” he said.

Albanese said Morrison ought to be “held accountable” but didn’t go any further to say how, or whether Morrison would be forced to resign as some ministers are calling for.

Albanese did however commit to an independent inquiry that would look into the “range of issues” not covered by this report.

“There are a range of different options available to the government but it is agreed that it would be good, it needs to be not a political inquiry but an inquiry with an eminent person with a legal background to consider all of the implications,” he said.

Albanese said that in the interest of transparency it will be important for any recommendations from the inquiry to be legislated to prevent future shitstorms like this.

“I think one of the things we will need to consider is any future legislative changes to make sure that that is enshrined. To make sure that it is not dependent upon the goodwill of the government of the day,” he said.

“I think it is fair to say that what we are dealing with here wasn’t envisaged. I don’t think anyone in this room… sat around and said I wonder if Scott Morrison has been put in charge of the Department of Industry science, the Department of Home Affairs or whether he has made himself Treasurer. Given that it wasn’t considered by the former Treasurer, then I don’t think that is surprising. But clearly, there is a need to ensure there is absolute confidence in our political system going forward.”