Former prime minister Scott Morrison secretly made himself minister for five portfolios in 2020 and 2021.
Current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese initially described the claims as "unprecedented" and "weird". After being brief on the details, he expanded that to accused Mr Morrison of "extraordinary and unprecedented trashing of the Australian democracy", and of deliberately undermining the principles of the Westminster system.
Some ministers under Mr Morrison have even said they were unaware of the appointments, which were never made public.
But what has Mr Morrison been accused of, who knew about it and will there be legal repercussions?
Former prime minister Scott Morrison has been accused of swearing himself in as resources minister in 2020, and as finance and health minister in 2021. It's since emerged he also took on the Home Affairs and Treasury portfolios, too.
The Australian reported that Mr Morrison was appointed health minister alongside Greg Hunt in March 2020 by Governor-General David Hurley.
A book by News Corp journalists Simon Benson and Geoff Chambers, called Plagued, claimed Mr Morrison took control in case Mr Hunt contracted COVID.
"I trust you mate, but I'm swearing myself in as health minister too," Mr Morrison is reported as telling Mr Hunt.
IN OTHER NEWS:
He was also apparently sworn-in as finance minister.
But Mathias Cormann, who held the portfolio, claimed he only found that out over the weekend, along with the rest of Australia. Karen Andrews, who was home affairs minister, was also surprised by the news. She is calling on Mr Morrison to quit parliament.
Mr Morrison was also sworn-in as resources minister on April 15 last year, The Australian reported.
Eleven months later, in December 2021, Mr Morrison apparently took steps to cancel a controversial NSW oil and gas project.
This is apparently when then-resources minister Keith Pitt was first told the prime minister was also the second resources minister.
He appointed himself to the treasury portfolio just five days before the 2021 budget, and become joint Finance Minister on the same day the Jobkeeper wage subsidy was announced at the start of the pandemic.
Mr Morrison was covertly given power over the Home Affairs Department on May 6, 2021
It is not uncommon for a minister to take responsibilities over another portfolio, usually as a temporary agreement, with a clear beginning and end date and time.
This will often occur when one minister is away on holiday and it allows the other to take any important action in their absence.
There is not a swearing-in ceremony when this happens.
According to the Governor-General, each appointment was legal.
A spokesperson for Mr Hurley said they were made "consistently with section 64 of the Constitution".
"It is not uncommon for ministers to be appointed to administer departments other than their portfolio responsibility," he said.
"These appointments do not require a swearing-in ceremony - the Governor-General signs an administrative instrument on the advice of the prime minister."
Barnaby Joyce, who was deputy prime minister from June 2021 until the end of Morrison's tenure, said he knew about the appointments.
"I found out about it, and I disagree with it. I believe in a cabinet system of government where ministers are responsible for their own portfolio," he told Sunrise on Monday.
The book Plagued also claims former Attorney-General Christian Porter helped Mr Morrison take on the additional portfolios in a "secret plan".
Nationals leader David Littleproud, who served as Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management under Morrison, told the ABC he was not aware.
"These were decisions of Scott Morrison and I don't agree with them," he said.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also insinuated journalists Simon Benson and Geoff Chambers may also have been aware of the appointments.
"It's not as if the journalists who had written about some of this weren't in close contact with the government from time to time," he said.
Current Liberal leader Peter Dutton said he read about the appointments in the paper.
"Obviously the then prime minister had his reasons," he said.
"It was not a decision I was party to or was aware of."
Ms Andrews said she did not know, and the Australian is reporting former treasurer Josh Frydenberg also did not know.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is seeking legal advice over the accusations. He expects to receive advice from the solicitor-general on Mr Morrison's use of the "extraordinary powers" next Monday.
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