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Australian lawmakers passed a motion this week to censure former Prime Minister Scott Morrison for appointing himself to five ministerial roles without the knowledge of other ministers, the Independent reported Wednesday.

The move marks the first time Australia’s parliament has censured a former prime minister.

The center-left Labor Party government introduced the motion just months after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he would consult Australia’s attorney general following reports that Morrison had given himself additional portfolios during his tenure.

Morrison stepped down following his defeat in Australia’s federal elections in May.

The motion held that Morrison appointed himself to the portfolios – including health and finance – between March 2020 and May 2021 during the coronavirus pandemic.

He only used those powers once, rejecting former Resources Minister Keith Pitt’s decision to authorize a contentious gas drilling project off the north Sydney coast, ostensibly to avoid jeopardizing his party’s reelection chances.

The motion added that Morrison had eroded the public trust in the country’s democracy by failing to inform the government, parliament and voters of his additional powers.

Morrison apologized Wednesday for causing “unintentional offense” but maintained that the additional powers were necessary because Australia was dealing with “extreme uncertainty and unpredictability.”

Apart from the pandemic, Morrison’s government was also involved in diplomatic disputes with China over trade and influence in the Pacific region.

A censure is the parliament’s formal way of expressing disapproval of a lawmaker. Such motions are uncommon and mostly symbolic, although they can have political ramifications, the BBC added.

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