Scott Morrison was secretly given control over the Home Affairs Department during an unprecedented ban on travel from India.
The covert move also came a day after the known home affairs minister Karen Andrews revealed the Nadesalingam family - the so-called 'Biloela family' - could be moved to community detention from Christmas Island.
It has also been revealed the former prime minister 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 Albanese on Tuesday revealed his predecessor had secretly held a total of five portfolios during the pandemic - health, finance, treasury, resources and home affairs.
While Mr Morrison has yet to detail exactly why he took on the position at those particular moments, the dates do line up with significant points in the pandemic response.
Ms Andrews is now demanding Mr Morrison resign from parliament, accusing him of betraying the trust of the Australian public through his actions.
The now opposition home affairs spokeswoman doesn't know whether his secret appointment was related to the India travel ban.
The measure, announced on April 27, 2021, prevented flights to Australia from India as the country grappled with a deadly outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta strain.
Mr Albanese said Mr Morrison was covertly given power over the Home Affairs Department on May 6, 2021, nine days before before the ban was initially slated to end.
It was the first law in Australian history making it illegal for citizens to return home.
Mr Morrison rejected suggestions the ban, which disproportionately impacted Australians of Indian heritage and residents born in India, was racist.
"The same accusations were made against the government over a year ago when we closed the borders to mainland China. That was one of the most important decisions we made as a government," he told 2GB radio on May 3, 2021.
"There's no politics or ideology in a pandemic. I'm constantly taken aback by those who seek to inject it into it. It's got nothing to do with politics, this is a virus."
Mr Morrison assumed control of the portfolio just over a month after Karen Andrews was sworn-in as Home Affairs Minister.
Ms Andrews, who said she was not aware of the development, told The Canberra Times said she did not know whether the secret appointment and ban were related.
"I have no idea what was going through his mind when he chose to do this," she said.
"If he needed to understand more about what was happening in any portfolio, then the fit and proper thing for him to do was to speak to the minister responsible.
"There were clearly discussions about a whole range of circumstances. At no time did he ever say to me that he was going to be sworn into the home affairs portfolio."
Mr Albanese revealed Mr Morrison did not relinquish his authority before the May 21, 2022 election.
That meant he wielded control during a controversial election day stunt, when the Home Affairs Department blew up long-standing conventions by revealing details about the arrival of an asylum seeker boat from Sri Lanka.
Department officials were left "stunned" after being directed by ministerial staffers to make the arrival public. The Coalition, including Mr Morrison as Immigration Minister, had previously refused to publicly discuss what they termed "on water matters".
Ms Andrews had denied her office pressured departmental officials to release the details, though text messages obtained under freedom of information laws showed departmental officials discussing the "unprecedented" and "astonishing" intervention.
Emerging from a second round of briefings with his department head on Tuesday morning, Mr Albanese revealed exactly when Mr Morrison appointed himself to the roles.
Mr Morrison become co-health minister on March 14, just one day after his snap decision to form a national cabinet with state and territory leaders.
He appointed himself finance minister alongside Mathias Corman on March 30 - the same day the government announced the massive Jobkeeper wage subsidy.
Arguably the most contentious appointment was to the resources portfolio on April 15, which allowed Mr Morrison to override Nationals minister Keith Pitt and scuttle the Pep-11 gas exploration permit off the coast of NSW.
A number of Liberals - including Lucy Wicks, Jason Falinksi and Dave Sharma - had at that point already gone public with their opposition to the project
Former NSW deputy premier John Barilaro revealed on February 17 that he had told Mr Pitt that the permit shouldn't be renewed.
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