End of the Week Tab-Clearing

The baffling arrangement apparently began with Mr. Morrison’s realization in 2020 that his government’s declaration of a “human biosecurity emergency” would give the health minister extraordinary powers to direct any citizen in the country to do anything to control the spread of Covid-19. The laws of public health essentially put the health minister above the prime minister.

So, according to a new book excerpted in the newspaper The Australian, Mr. Morrison and the country’s attorney general, Christian Porter, came up with an administrative workaround. Finding there was no constitutional block on having two ministers in charge of the same portfolio, Mr. Morrison promptly appointed himself health minister, then finance minister, to make sure he could also have a say over emergency spending.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    You would think not conceding would be a good thing to Hageman. That’s what Trump does, after all.

    And the call Hageman plays A) makes no sense (Who calls someone to leave a message, says hello, then hangs up) and B) can be created by an easy edit.

    This is what Wyoming R voters are endorsing. Slander your opponents as hard as you can at every turn, because that’s “fighting”. Also known as “bearing false witness”, but hey, your cause is righteous, so who cares about rules?

  2. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Politician : Bearing false witness :: breath : life

  3. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It seems we’re returning to days that end in y.

  4. Gustopher says:

    Via RawStory: Andrew Yang backpedals on Mar-a-Lago search tweets as CNN’s Jim Acosta tries to get a straight answer.

    There was another exchange recently where Yang was asked about abortion and shifted to his response of not going left or right but going forward, and would not budge or give any policies of the Forward Party.

    At least Nazis stand for something.

  5. Jay L Gischer says:

    In the 80’s I moved from the West Coast to the Tidewater area of Virginia, where we could see a fair bit of NC political TV ads. It was a shocking change, frankly. It was attack adds 24/7, as opposed to feel-good “isn’t our guy wonderful” stuff you saw in CA. Yes, there were attacks, but people generally believed that optimism wins.

    Not to mention that the attacks dealt in innuendo, cherry-picking and suggestion, rather than bald-faced lying. I think of that as a Trump innovation. But Trump is better at this, he can be very cagy about how he advances his defamation. It’s as if he knows the defamation law really well, or something.

  6. Kathy says:


    Perhaps Yang could follow a platform along these lines

  7. Ken_L says:

    Finding there was no constitutional block on having two ministers in charge of the same portfolio …

    There may not have been a constitutional block, but countless laws confer authority on ‘the Minister’. It’s unlikely the appointment of two ministers, with no mechanism to determine which one had ultimate authority under enabling legislation, would have survived a court challenge. No doubt that’s why Morrison kept it secret.