Australia's parliament on Wednesday censured former Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison, after an inquiry deemed his secret accumulation of multiple ministries during the pandemic "corrosive of trust in government."
While it is symbolic in nature, the move marks the first time a former prime minister has been censured by parliament. The motion was passed by 86 votes to 50 in the country's lower house.
Morrison, who lost power in a general election in May, secretly had himself appointed to five ministerial roles during the pandemic, becoming joint minister for health, finance, treasury, home affairs and resources.
An investigation into the matter found Morrison's actions were legal, but it ruled that he "fundamentally undermined" responsible government.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Wednesday that the actions were an abuse of power and a trashing of Australia's democracy.
"The fact is that our democracy is precious. There's no room for complacency," Albanese said during the debate ahead of the censure motion.
Morrison has continued to defend his actions, labelling the censure as "political intimidation" and "retribution" in a speech to parliament Wednesday morning ahead of the vote.
The former prime minister only used the additional powers once, to block an offshore gas exploration project in the lead-up to the May election.