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The X Factor:Grace Davies kicks off Sunday night show

By Lisa Mcloughlin For Mailonline
Published: 14:44 EST, 5 November 2017 | Updated: 18:02 EST, 5 Nov..

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By Lisa Mcloughlin For Mailonline

Published: 14:44 EST, 5 November 2017 | Updated: 18:02 EST, 5 November 2017

The Boys and Group categories went head-to-head on Saturday night's instalment of the X Factor.

But now it was the Girls and Overs turn to showcase their vocal talent as they continued this week's theme Viva Latino on Sunday with hopeful Kevin Davy White stealing the show with his rendition of Santana ft. Rob Thomas' 1999 hit Smooth.

Leaving all four judges on their feet, the Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance – which included him playing the electric guitar.

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Stealing the show: Hopeful Kevin Davy White stole the show with his rendition of Santana ft. Rob Thomas' 1999 hit Smooth

Stealing the show: Hopeful Kevin Davy White stole the show with his rendition of Santana ft. Rob Thomas' 1999 hit Smooth

Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction… unbelievably cool. Took my breath away.

While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act.'

Despite wowing the judges, Simon couldn't help but jeer his mentor Nicole, insisting: 'I remember someone on my right being a bit sulky when they got this category.

Before continuing: 'I just loved every moment of it it was authentic and you Kevin as a person, there's something really kind about you, something really good, this show needs people like you.

'For me this was your best performance of the entire competition.'

Standing ovation: The performance left all four judges - Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell - on their feetStanding ovation: The performance left all four judges - Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell - on their feet

Standing ovation: The performance left all four judges – Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne, Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell – on their feet

Electric: The Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance - which included him playing the electric guitarElectric: The Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance - which included him playing the electric guitar

Electric: The Frenchman couldn't contain his happiness as the crowd raised the roof with their booming cheers following his performance – which included him playing the electric guitar

Speechless: Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction... unbelievably cool. Took my breath awaySpeechless: Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction... unbelievably cool. Took my breath away

Speechless: Left speechless, Sharon exclaimed over the roaring cheers: 'You are a class act. Oh my Lord, you took this whole thing into a while new direction… unbelievably cool. Took my breath away

Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao Adios.

Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde – who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' – got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.

Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh.

Nicole shared: 'Wow Grace, what a great way to open the show today. Fart, I didn't know I was first, I love that song.

'For me, I would have loved to have see you enjoy it more… you sounded amazing'

Smooth: While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act' Smooth: While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act' 

Smooth: While Louis added: 'It was smooth, it was cool. For me you are the real deal, a class act and probably the act'

Getting the party started: Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao AdiosGetting the party started: Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao Adios

Getting the party started: Kicking off the show was last week's prize fright champion Grace Davies, who wowed the crowd with British artist Anne-Marie's Ciao Adios

Hitting the right notes: Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde - who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' - got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.Hitting the right notes: Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde - who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' - got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.

Hitting the right notes: Showcasing her dance moves, the blonde – who admitted she wanted 'to have fun on the stage' – got the crowd on their feet with the uptempo number.

Satisfaction: Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis WalshSatisfaction: Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh

Satisfaction: Despite leaving mentor Sharon Osbourne on her feet, the Blackburn's cover didn't completely satisfy judges Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh

While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatility.

'I wanted to say how much I loved your performance,' he began. 'This is not you at your best, I think you showed you had fun. I still think you're going to be here next week but it was nice to see that side of you.'

However, Louis gushed: 'I love it. It's the sign of a true artist… for me it was perfect.'

As her mentor Sharon added: 'You sailed through it, you're always at ease. It makes us at ease… I thoroughly enjoyed your personality and it was fun.'

Versatility: While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatilityVersatility: While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatility

Versatility: While Simon first commented on her performance the previous week, he added that it wasn't her at 'her best' but was happy to see her versatility

Wow: Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your MamaWow: Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama

Wow: Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama

Next up for the Overs was Tracy Leanne Jefford with Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama.

Looking sensational, the mother-of-two – who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hit.

Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice.'

While Louis added: 'You are living the dream and everytime I meet you back behind the stage you can't believe your here… it worked for me.'

Chic: Looking sensational, the mother-of-two - who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hitChic: Looking sensational, the mother-of-two - who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hit

Chic: Looking sensational, the mother-of-two – who was visited by her two children -donned a strapless jumpsuit with gold button detail and front leg slits as she belted out the pop hit

Sass: Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice'Sass: Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice'

Sass: Impressing the judges, Sharon gushed: 'Tracy Leanne, I love your sassy-ness, I love your spirit. You bring so much to the stage everytime. I love the song choice'

Respect: Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through... you come out here and that's why I use the word respect. 'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you'Respect: Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through... you come out here and that's why I use the word respect. 'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you'

Respect: Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through… you come out here and that's why I use the word respect. 'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you'

Before Simon added: 'I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. Without going into too much to know what you've gone through… you come out here and that's why I use the word respect.

'You had presence tonight, this has gone way better than I thought for you.'

However, her mentor Nicole appeared to well up with pride for her spectacular performance as she insisted she's an 'inspiration'.

'I'm so proud of you, you relate to so many women out there,' she said. 'You put your dreams aside for your children and we get to go on that journey with you.

Hopeful: Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feetHopeful: Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feet

Hopeful: Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feet

Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'

Thrilled: Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'

Sunshine: And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine'Sunshine: And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine'

Sunshine: And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine'

'Your such an inspiration to women out there and I'm so proud to have you on my team.'

Girls hopeful Rai- Elle Williams performed Sean Paul's Bailando which left both Sharon and Nicole on their feet.

Speaking as she gave her a standing ovation, Poison hitmaker Nicole shared: 'Give it to us again, that's what this weekend is all about. That was so good, you made us work up a sweat watching you. You're a little star baby girl'.

While music manager Louis added: 'Nobody gives more than you… you've got it all going on.'

Absent from last week's festivities, Simon said: 'I thought you were amazing last week and didn't get enough credit. You got this, this is music is in the charts… You've embraced it week after week… everything I love about you.

Happy: Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skillsHappy: Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skills

Happy: Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skills

'Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song''Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song''Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song''Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song'

'Love': Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song'

And her mentor Sharon weighed in: 'What kind I say because they've all said it for me. You're a ray of sunshine.'

Meanwhile, teenager Hollie Tandy performed smash hit Despacito which tested her linguistic skills.

Leaving Nicole stunned, the popstar commented: 'Are you sure you're from Yorkshire? Are you sure yo're not from Puerto Rico? That whole song was in Spanish. I love that song.'

While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choice.

Having fun: While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choiceHaving fun: While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choice

Having fun: While music mogul Simon left Hollie reeling as he began his comments 'I'm going to be honest' before praising for her song choice

Best: 'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you... This was one of the best tonight'Best: 'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you... This was one of the best tonight'

Best: 'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you… This was one of the best tonight'

'Last week, I thought you were good not great,' he said. 'This song has done so much for you… This was one of the best tonight'.

Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dress.

Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight… it was fantastic'.

However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artist.

All that glitters: Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dressAll that glitters: Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dress

All that glitters: Wowing the judges with her energetic performance of Jennifer Lopez's Let's Get Loud, Alisah Bonaobra showed her feisty side in a sequin mini dress

Firecracker: Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight... it was fantastic'Firecracker: Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight... it was fantastic'

Firecracker: Nicole commented: 'You become this fierce beast, wild animal on the stage. You shut it down tonight, you're a little firecracker.' Louis was left stunned: 'Amazing energy tonight… it was fantastic'

Criticism: However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artistCriticism: However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artist

Criticism: However, Simon wasn't completely impressed by her high-octane performance as he received boos for his commentary about wanting to find out who she wants to be as an artist

Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well.'

'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home.'

Once again, Simon shared his distaste but this time for Matt's production of performing in a box which left Nicole red-faced.

Nicole hit back: 'Ladies, were you looking at the box? That's called being creative and being artistic and he's breaking through that box.'

Rounding up: Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well'Rounding up: Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well'

Rounding up: Closing the show, Matt Linnen performed Ricky Martin classic Livin’ La Vida Loca much to Sharon's delight as she explained: 'I'm so happy somebody covered that song this weekend. I think it worked really well'

Lookalike: 'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home'Lookalike: 'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home'

Lookalike: 'It was a bit of a risk this week,' Louis added. 'It looked like Tom Hardy singing a Ricky Martin, you'll get the women's vote at home'

Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize – a studio session with hitmaker Savan Kotecha.

After performing their original track Dimelo, the four-piece chatted to show host Dermot O'Leary and were thrilled with their effort.

The shared: 'Even better the second time around, even Simon was clapping.'

Following their energetic performance, Frenchman Kevin sang his heart out again to Smooth which left his mentor Nicole Scherzinger dancing and singing along as he impressed with his guitar playing skills.

While Rak-Su's hit was riding high in the iTunes chart, it was Kevin who ended up winning over the public and earning the money-can't-buy prize.

Energy: Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize - a studio session with hitmaker Savan KotechaEnergy: Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize - a studio session with hitmaker Savan Kotecha

Energy: Sunday night's show saw Rak-Su and overs' Kevin Davy White going head-to-head to win this week's prize – a studio session with hitmaker Savan Kotecha

Sunday night's show comes after Simon was forced to bow out of the X Factor's first live shows last weekend after he fell down the stairs at his London mansion and suffered a concussion.

Although on the mend following his terrifying slip, the 58-year-old couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accident.

After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stage.

What a tease: Simon Cowell, 58, couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accidentWhat a tease: Simon Cowell, 58, couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accident

What a tease: Simon Cowell, 58, couldn't escape being the butt of numerous jokes on Saturday night's show as host Dermot O'Leary, 44, playfully teased him about his accident

Introducing the music mogul, Dermot made a cheeky reference to noughties band and his recent slip in a quip: 'He's a big fan of music but for some reason recently he's really gone off Steps? Don't know why though'.

But Simon took it all in his stride as he replied smiling: 'I was waiting for that'.

Later chatting to the judge, Dermot teased Simon once-again as he shared: 'After the week he had, he's really just wishing that he lived in a bungalow.'

Joking: After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stageJoking: After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stage

Joking: After introducing the judges to their seats and asking them about this week's Viva Latino theme, Dermot hilariously mocked Simon about his fall as he asked him to introduce his first act, Jack and Joel, to the stage

Previous: Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon was ushered in as a replacement mentor last Sunday with the last-minute manoeuvre caming after Simon fell down the stairs and got a concussion - sparking 'panic' among contestantsPrevious: Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon was ushered in as a replacement mentor last Sunday with the last-minute manoeuvre caming after Simon fell down the stairs and got a concussion - sparking 'panic' among contestants

Previous: Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon was ushered in as a replacement mentor last Sunday with the last-minute manoeuvre caming after Simon fell down the stairs and got a concussion – sparking 'panic' among contestants

Unimpressed this time around, the father-of-one asked: 'Is there going to be a joke like this everytime?' To which Dermot playfully nodded.

Meanwhile, Cowell's return comes after he dramatically missed last weekend's debut live shows after falling down the stairs in his London mansion and suffering a concussion.

And on Friday the music mogul was pictured reprising his judging role while sporting a faded bruise on his neck as he gave his category, the Groups, some words of advice during rehearsals.

The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep.

Back to full health: The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep. He looked dazed as he arrived home that afternoon, looking slightly dishevelled in tracksuit bottoms and trainersBack to full health: The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep. He looked dazed as he arrived home that afternoon, looking slightly dishevelled in tracksuit bottoms and trainers

Back to full health: The star was stretchered out of his London mansion to hospital in a neck brace after the accident while going to get a cup of hot milk to help him fall asleep. He looked dazed as he arrived home that afternoon, looking slightly dishevelled in tracksuit bottoms and trainers

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Australia: Scott Morrison saga casts scrutiny on Queen’s representative

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In the past fortnight, Australia has been gripped by revelations that former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison secretly appointed himself to several additional ministries.

The move has been labelled a “power grab” by his successor as prime minister, and Mr Morrison has been scolded by many – even his own colleagues.

But the scandal has also dragged Australia’s governor-general into the fray – sparking one of the biggest controversies involving the Queen’s representative in Australia in 50 years.

So does Governor-General David Hurley have questions to answer, or is he just collateral damage?

‘Just paperwork’

Governors-general have fulfilled the practical duties as Australia’s head of state since the country’s 1901 federation.

Candidates for the role were initially chosen by the monarch but are now recommended by the Australian government.

The job is largely ceremonial – a governor-general in almost every circumstance must act on the advice of the government of the day. But conventions allow them the right to “encourage” and “warn” politicians.

Key duties include signing bills into law, issuing writs for elections, and swearing in ministers.

Mr Hurley has run into trouble on the latter. At Mr Morrison’s request, he swore the prime minister in as joint minister for health in March 2020, in case the existing minister became incapacitated by Covid.

Over the next 14 months, he also signed off Mr Morrison as an additional minister in the finance, treasury, home affairs and resources portfolios.

Mr Morrison already had ministerial powers, so Mr Hurley was basically just giving him authority over extra departments.

It’s a request the governor-general “would not have any kind of power to override or reject”, constitutional law professor Anne Twomey tells the BBC.

“This wasn’t even a meeting between the prime minister and the governor-general, it was just paperwork.”

But Mr Morrison’s appointments were not publicly announced, disclosed to the parliament, or even communicated to most of the ministers he was job-sharing with.

Australia’s solicitor-general found Mr Morrison’s actions were not illegal but had “fundamentally undermined” responsible government.

But the governor-general had done the right thing, the solicitor-general said in his advice this week.

It would have been “a clear breach” for him to refuse the prime minister, regardless of whether he knew the appointments would be kept secret, Stephen Donaghue said.

Critics push for investigation

Ultimately, Mr Hurley had to sign off on Mr Morrison’s requests, but critics say he could have counselled him against it and he could have publicised it himself.

But representatives for the governor-general say these types of appointments – giving ministers the right to administer other departments – are not unusual.

And it falls to the government of the day to decide if they should be announced to the public. They often opt not to.

Mr Hurley himself announcing the appointments would be unprecedented. He had “no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated”, his spokesperson said.

Emeritus professor Jenny Hocking finds the suggestion Mr Hurley didn’t know the ministries had been kept secret “ridiculous”.

“The last of these bizarre, duplicated ministry appointments… were made more than a year after the first, so clearly by then the governor-general did know that they weren’t being made public,” she says.

“I don’t agree for a moment that the governor-general has a lot of things on his plate and might not have noticed.”

The historian says it’s one of the biggest controversies surrounding a governor-general since John Kerr caused a constitutional crisis by sacking Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975.

Prof Hocking famously fought for transparency around that matter – waging a lengthy and costly legal battle that culminated in the release of Mr Kerr’s correspondence with the Queen.

And she says the same transparency is needed here.

The Australian public need to know whether Mr Hurley counselled the prime minister against the moves, and why he didn’t disclose them

The government has already announced an inquiry into Mr Morrison’s actions, but she wants it to look at the governor-general and his office too.

“If the inquiry is to find out what happened in order to fix what happened, it would be extremely problematic to leave out a key part of that equation.”

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – Mr Morrison’s predecessor – has also voiced support for an inquiry.

“Something has gone seriously wrong at Government House,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is the passive compliance along the chain… that did undermine our constitution and our democracy… that troubles me the most. This is how tyranny gets under way.”

PM defends governor-general

Prof Twomey says the criticism of Mr Hurley is unfair – there’s was no “conspiracy” on his part to keep things secret.

“I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to expect that he could have guessed that the prime minister was keeping things secret from his own ministers, for example.

“Nobody really thought that was a possibility until about two weeks ago.”

Even if he had taken the unprecedented step to publicise the appointments or to reject Mr Morrison’s request, he’d have been criticised, she says.

“There’d be even more people saying ‘how outrageous!'” she says. “The role of governor-general is awkward because people are going to attack you either way.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has also defended Mr Hurley, saying he was just doing his job.

“I have no intention of undertaking any criticism of [him].”

A role fit for purpose?

Prof Hocking says it’s a timely moment to look at the role of the governor-general more broadly.

She points out it’s possible the Queen may have been informed about Mr Morrison’s extra ministries when Australia’s parliament and people were not.

“It does raise questions about whether this is fit for purpose, as we have for decades been a fully independent nation, but we still have… ‘the relics of colonialism’ alive and well.”

Momentum for a fresh referendum on an Australian republic has been growing and advocates have seized on the controversy.

“The idea that the Queen and her representative can be relied upon to uphold our system of government has been debunked once and for all,” the Australian Republic Movement’s Sandy Biar says.

“It’s time we had an Australian head of state, chosen by Australians and accountable to them to safeguard and uphold Australia’s constitution.”

But Prof Twomey says republicans are “clutching at straws” – under their proposals, the head of state would also have been bound to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“It wouldn’t result in any changes that would have made one iota of difference.”

 

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-62683210

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Australia election: PM Morrison’s security team in car crash in Tasmania

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A car carrying the Australian prime minister’s security team has crashed in Tasmania during an election campaign visit.

Four police officers were taken to hospital with “non-life threatening injuries” after the car and another vehicle collided, authorities said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was not in the car, but the accident prompted him to cancel the rest of his campaign events on Thursday.

The other driver involved was not hurt.

Tasmania Police said initial investigations suggested the second car had “collided with the rear of the police vehicle, while attempting to merge”. It caused the unmarked security vehicle to roll off the road.

The two Tasmania Police officers and two Australian Federal Police officers were conscious when taken to hospital for medical assessment, the prime minister’s office said.

“Family members of the officers have been contacted and are being kept informed of their condition,” a statement said.

“The PM is always extremely grateful for the protection provided by his security team and extends his best wishes for their recovery and to their families.”

Australians go to the polls on 21 May. Mr Morrison – prime minister since 2018 – is hoping to win his conservative coalition’s fourth term in office.

Polls suggest the opposition Labor Party, led by Anthony Albanese, is favoured to win. However, Mr Morrison defied similar polling to claim victory at the last election in 2019.

Mr Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition holds 76 seats in the House of Representatives – the minimum needed to retain power.

Political observers say the cost of living, climate change, trust in political leaders, and national security will be among key issues in the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prime minister has faced accusations of being a bully and once sabotaging a rival’s career by suggesting the man’s Lebanese heritage made him less electable. Mr Morrison has denied the allegations.

Mr Albanese stumbled into his own controversy this week when he failed to recall the nation’s unemployment or interest rates.

Read from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61103987

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Sydney airport warns delays could last weeks on third day of travel chaos

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Long queues at Sydney airport’s domestic terminals have continued for a third day, with some passengers missing international connections, as the airport warns delays resulting from a surge in travellers and a shortfall in security staff could continue for weeks.

Chaotic scenes were reported in the departure halls as early as 4.30am on Saturday, with some frustrated travellers, many of whom heeded the pleas of airport chiefs to arrive at least two hours before their domestic flight was due to take off, claiming only one security line was operating.

While the queues that formed early on Saturday are understood to have cleared later in the morning, the airport apologised to affected travellers.

“Traffic numbers are picking up and the close contact rules are making it hard to fill shifts and staff the airport. We appreciate your patience,” Sydney airport said on its Twitter account.

A wave of families travelling as the term two school holidays begin this weekend, combined with close contact rules that are understood to be taking out about 20% of security shifts in any given day, are driving the problem.

Certis, the company that Sydney airport contracts for its security operations, is desperately trying to recruit personnel, while the airport has reallocated back office, IT and retail workers to the departure hall to comb queues so they can prioritise passengers at risk of missing their flight.

“We are working around the clock to resolve these issues and have teams in the terminals bringing passengers forward in order of priority,” a Sydney airport spokesperson said.

He added that the airport is “anticipating it will [be] busy right through the school holiday period and peak over the Easter and Anzac Day weekends, in some cases at 90% of pre-Covid passenger levels”.

“We’re deeply grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and we’re sorry to everyone who has been inconvenienced,” the spokesperson said. “We would also like to thank passengers for getting to the airport early and treating staff and each other with kindness and respect.”

The Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce was forced to clarify comments he made on Friday that passengers were “not match fit” and that those forgetting to remove laptops and aerosols from their bags at the security check contributing to the delays.

“Just to be clear, I’m not ‘blaming’ passengers,” Joyce said. “Of course it’s not their fault,” he said.

Qantas shed thousands of staff during the pandemic, and outsourced ground crews in a decision that was challenged in court.

On Saturday, Qantas also apologised to a Melbourne family left stranded in Sydney, after domestic flight delays caused them to miss an international trip.

Javiera Martinez, her partner Daniel Capurro and their three children were supposed to be flying to Chile on Friday to visit relatives they had not seen in three years.

But after their 8am Qantas flight from Melbourne was delayed by half an hour, baggage handling and airport transfer delays in Sydney meant they couldn’t make their 11.30am LATAM Airlines flight to Santiago.

Martinez said the airline’s procedures at the airport were chaotic.

“We think Qantas didn’t behave appropriately. I got berated by the person at the counter – they never apologised, they never assumed any responsibility at all,” she said. “It was a rude conversation. We have been mistreated badly I would say.”

The PCR tests they need to travel have now expired and they will have to take them again as they wait for seats on the next flight to Santiago from Sunday.

The airline has apologised and paid for a night’s accommodation in Sydney.

“We sincerely apologise that the family missed their connecting flight on another airline due to delays moving through Sydney airport on Friday,” a Qantas spokesperson said.

The family is among many affected by hold ups amid the busiest travel period in two years, with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane airports warning passengers to arrive two hours before domestic flights.

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