Former prime minister Scott Morrison could face further consequences over his secret ministries as the Greens call for a fresh referral to parliament's powerful privileges committee.
Greens leader Adam Bandt raised the matter with House Speaker Milton Dick on Thursday, saying the now backbencher appeared to have admitted he misled the House of Representatives.
Mr Morrison became the first former prime minister to be censured by parliament after he secretly appointed himself to five ministerial portfolios during his time in office.
During the censure motion, Mr Morrison defended his actions and claimed the ministry list tabled in parliament referenced that ministers may be sworn to administer additional departments.
"I consider that these decisions, in hindsight, were unnecessary and that insufficient consideration was given to these decisions at the time, including non-disclosure," Mr Morrison said.
But Mr Bandt said relevant ministry lists from that time did not note that the former prime minister had been appointed to additional portfolios.
He called on the Speaker to consider whether Mr Morrison's reliance on the ministry list and his admission of non-disclosure "constitutes a deliberate misleading of the house".
Mr Dick said he would consider Mr Bandt's statement carefully and thoroughly and report back.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus also introduced proposed laws to ensure details of all ministerial appointments would be published promptly in the future.
This was a key recommendation of former High Court judge Virginia Bell's report into the secret appointments, which found the lack of disclosure "was apt to undermine public confidence in government".
Mr Dreyfus said the government was determined to restore integrity and transparency to parliament and strengthen checks and balances of power.
"Never again will one person be able to garner powers without adequate and unwarranted accountability to the Australian people and the Australian parliament," he said.
When the details of Mr Morrison's secret appointments first emerged, the Greens' attempt to establish a committee inquiry failed.
The Speaker decided there was not enough evidence at that time to refer Mr Morrison to the privileges committee.
Mr Morrison was censured by the lower house on Wednesday over the secret ministries, with the motion passing 86 to 50.
Liberal MP Bridget Archer crossed the floor to side with the government in censuring the former prime minister, while former minister Karen Andrews abstained from the vote.
Mr Morrison told parliament the ministries were a "dormant redundancy".
He said the government's censure motion was the "politics of retribution and nothing less".
But independent MP Helen Haines backed the motion and the Greens' push for the committee referral.
"These are the measures that the parliament has. They're very powerful messages. They're important," she told ABC TV on Thursday.
"We need to signal to the Australian people that democracy is precious. We must protect it, we absolutely must. It's our job as parliamentarians to do that."
Dr Haines said she took no joy in voting to censure Mr Morrison but he had failed to provide a good explanation for his actions.
Australian Associated Press
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