Former Australia PM Says Secret Powers Were Needed In Crisis

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Scott Morrison said Wednesday that giving himself extra powers when he was Australia’s prime minister was necessary during the coronavirus crisis, as criticism rose the moves were deceptive and undemocratic.

Current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is seeking an opinion from the solicitor-general on the legality of some of Morrison’s moves.

Many of Morrison’s own colleagues were blindsided by his decision to secretly appoint himself to five ministerial roles, which have only been revealed in recent days. Some have called for him to resign from Parliament, where he is now an opposition lawmaker after losing the general election to Albanese earlier this year.

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But Morrison told reporters in Sydney that while he apologized for causing offense to his colleagues, he stood by his actions.

The expectation early in the COVID-19 crisis was that as prime minister, he was responsible for everything — “every drop of rain, every strain of the virus, everything that occurred over that period of time,” Morrison said. “I believed it was necessary to have authority, to have what were effectively emergency powers, to exercise in extreme situations that would be unforeseen, that would enable me to act in the national interests.”

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