Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has made shocking new revelations about the extent of his predecessor Scott Morrison's secret control.
Mr Albanese says Mr Morrison engaged in "unprecedented trashing" of democracy by covertly assuming power in a handful of departments between March 2020 and May 2021.
There is a lot more to learn, but here is what has been revealed, and what remain some of the most pressing questions, about the saga.
What we know:
- We already knew Governor-General David Hurley had handed Scott Morrison power, without an official swearing-in ceremony, over the Health and Finance Departments in March 2020, when COVID-19 had just arrived in Australia
- He also took control over the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources on 15 April 2021
- A controversial NSW gas project, supported by then-resources minister Keith Pitt, was scuttled while Mr Morrison wielded secret control, and as Liberals feared it could damage their standing among so-called "teal voters"
- In new revelations, Mr Morrison also took over two incredibly powerful departments, Treasury and Home Affairs on 6 May 2021
- That means he assumed power over Treasury five days before the budget was announced
- Mr Morrison did not relinquish control over the departments before the election
- That means he controlled Home Affairs on election day, when the department controversially released text messages about a boat arrival from Sri Lanka
- The current Prime Minister is not critical of Governor-General Hurley, who he says was acting on advice of the government at the time
- Mr Albanese believes Mr Morrison, and Coalition members who allowed this to happened, should be held to account
What we don't know:
- First, why was this kept secret for so long? What was the rationale for the secrecy, and was it a decision made on the basis of any advice received?
- It's unclear which ministers knew Mr Morrison was jointly running their department, though at least Greg Hunt was told. Karen Andrews has said she was not informed that Mr Morrison also had responsibility for Home Affairs while she held the portfolio, and Josh Frydenberg reportedly didn't know the prime minister was appointed to lead the Treasury portfolio.
- What the department secretaries in the relevant portfolios knew. So far, it's been reported Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo didn't know Mr Morrison was appointed to run the department. How about Rosemary Huxtable (Finance), David Fredericks (Resources), and Steven Kennedy (Treasury)?
- What advice the Prime Minister's Department gave to Mr Morrison about assuming additional portfolios, and in deciding against publicising them. Was this advice "frank and fearless"?
- The contents of the briefing prepared by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet about the appointments for the executive council, which advises the Governor-General.
- What legal advice did the public service provide Mr Morrison? What advice did he receive from his own office?
- To what extent did Mr Morrison exercise his role leading these additional portfolios through any government decisions?
- Mr Albanese is "not aware" of any extra salary received by Mr Morrison.
- 'I apologise': Morrison offers no excuse for 'good faith' secrecy
- 'Betrayal of trust': Karen Andrews tells Morrison to resign from parliament
- Secret Morrison appointments coincided with major pandemic moments
- 'Stealth bulldozer': Scott Morrison held five secret portfolios
- Albanese excuses public servants for not revealing Morrison's secret ministries
- 'Oversight': Morrison defends secret power grab as more ministries discovered
- 'Legal mess': Governor-General confirms Morrison took control of ministries without swearing-in ceremony
- Bulldozing in secret, Scott Morrison trashes whatever legacy he had
- What did Scott Morrison do and why does it matter?