“It is a bit hard to follow some of the logic, I have to say, that he needed these emergency powers and proof that he had confidence in his ministers was that he never used (the powers),” Uhlmann said.
“If he had confidence in his ministers, then you wouldn’t think that he needed (the powers) in the first place.”
Uhlmann went on to say Morrison had trashed the conventions of the prime ministership.
“A cloud hangs over the way he acted,” he said.
“He rightly says again it was in extraordinary times. And no Prime Minister since the Second World War has faced times like this. An enormous number of things that were done at a state and territory and federal level now do need a lot of examination.
“We need to learn the lessons of the past. I think one of the lessons we are learning at the moment… this is a black mark over the way that he behaved when he was prime minister.
“Although it might have been legal, convention is important, and this was a trashing of that convention.”
Uhlmann said Morrison’s move to the health portfolio was to put checks and balances on the Biosecurity Act – a “very bad piece of law” – at the start of the pandemic, but that the other ministries had less and less to do with COVID-19.
“Then he goes further, into home affairs. Goes further, into treasury, not telling any of the ministers involved in that and he says because he didn’t want to undermine their confidence,” he said.
“The only time he used these powers were when he was wanting to knock off a resources project, which had nothing to do with the pandemic.”