Former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg breaks silence on Scott Morrison’s intelligence services ahead of investigative report

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to secretly appoint himself to multiple portfolios during the COVID-19 pandemic was called “extreme exaggeration” and “deeply disappointing” by former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who spoke for the first time about the saga. designated.

His comments come as former High Court judge Virginia Bell prepares to deliver the findings of her three-month investigation into the former PM’s secret ministries.

Speaking to veteran journalist Niki Savva for her forthcoming book Bulldozed, Mr Frydenberg said he was “loyal to the point of failure” to Mr Morrison – a close confidant with whom he briefly lived at the lodge during the pandemic – and that there was no reason for him to take on the Treasury portfolio.

Mr Frydenberg said he had spoken to Mr Morrison twice since the story broke and although the former leader finally admitted he would not take over the Treasury portfolio if he had time again, he still refused to apologize.

“It is impossible to properly assess decision-making during the pandemic without understanding the context in which decisions were made,” Mr Frydenberg told Savva in an excerpt published in today’s Newspapers Nine.

“We faced a once in a century pandemic, an evolving crisis filled with uncertainty about what each day would bring. That meant we had to make and live with decisions on both the health and economic fronts that in normal times would never have been considered.

Close-up of Scott Morrison's face
Scott Morrison has claimed his actions were necessary in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.(ABC Alice Springs: Xavier Martin)

“That being said, I don’t think there was any reason for Scott to take on the additional treasury portfolio. The fact that he took it on and it wasn’t made transparent to me and others was wrong and deeply disappointing.

“It was an extreme exaggeration.”

Ex-frontbencher says cabinet had asked for powers to be revoked

Mr Frydenberg knew of Mr Morrison’s decision to take over the health portfolio at the start of the pandemic in 2020, but over the next 14 months the then Prime Minister was secretly sworn in on finance, finance, home affairs and industry, science and energy and resource portfolios.