Australians woke this morning to discover that overnight their nation had been plunged into the deepest constitutional crisis in its history which has delivered the unprecedented situation of the country being led by two prime ministers at once.
The now former Morrison Government – already battered by sex scandals on multiple fronts in the past month – was reeling today at news that Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Marise Payne, travelled to Government House at Yarralumla late last night to be sworn in as prime minister by Governor-General (Note to subs: Can someone find out the G-G’s name before publication?)
Ms Payne based her request on statements by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at his news conference yesterday outlining a minor cabinet reshuffle including the reassignment and promotion of several women.
At the news conference Mr Morrison referred to Ms Payne’s ministerial seniority by describing her as “the prime minister for women, holding the prime, ministerial responsibilities in this area as the Minister for Women”.
It is understood Ms Payne carried with her a transcript of Mr Morrison’s words and furnished them to Governor-General (Note to subs: Don’t forget to fill in the name here if anyone can find it) when she called on him close to midnight last night. (main picture)
Ms Payne was told by staff at Yarralumla that the Governor-General was asleep and could not be disturbed.
But Ms Payne insisted that he (Note to subs: He’s definitely a ‘he’ in the pic) be woken and administer to her the oath of office as prime minister.
It is understood that while Ms Payne took the oath of office and departed Yarralumla as prime minister, a tired Governor-General had neglected to withdraw the commission of Scott Morrison as PM, leaving the nation with two heads of government and a constitutional crisis yet to be resolved.
As one of her first acts as one of the nation’s prime ministers, Ms Payne called a Cabinet meeting at Parliament House this morning to outline to her ministerial colleagues the agenda for what may be the Payne or Payne-Morrison government.
Mr Morrison did not attend the meeting because Ms Payne had overnight commandeered the official prime ministerial C-1 limousine, leaving him stranded at The Lodge where he was reported to be arguing loudly with a team of removalists.