slot paten Australian PM Anthony Albanese says he will investigate reports that his predecessor, Scott Morrison, secretly assumed three roles within the ministry.
Mr Morrison became joint minister for the health, finance and resources portfolios within the two years before he lost power in May, local media report.
Mr Albanese said he would seek legal advice about the choices, calling them "unacceptable" and "just weird".
The former prime minister has declined to comment.
On Monday, Governor-General David Hurley - the Queen's representative in Australia - confirmed he had signed an "administrative instrument" that had allowed Mr Morrison to secretly tackle the portfolios. it had been "consistent with section 64 of the constitution", a spokesperson said.
But Mr Albanese, law experts and Mr Morrison's former colleagues have criticised the secrecy surrounding it.
Even some ministers were reportedly not aware they were sharing portfolios with the previous prime minister.
"This is that the form of 'tin pot' activity that we'd ridicule if it absolutely was during a non-democratic country," Mr Albanese told reporters on Monday.
Local media reported that former Health Minister Greg Hunt agreed in modal receh 2020 to share his portfolio within the event he became incapacitated from Covid.
But then-Finance Minister Mathias Cormann - now head of the OECD - only learned last week that his role had been jointly held, said a report by local outlet News.com.au.
Mr Morrison was sworn in as a second resources minister - joining Keith Pitt - last year. Mr Morrison used his powers to dam a gas exploration licence in New South Wales - a choice opposed by Mr Pitt.
Mr Albanese said he wouldn't speculate on forthcoming legal advice but accused his predecessor of getting governed "in the shadows".
When asked to retort to Mr Albanese's comments, Mr Morrison said he wasn't awake to them. "Since leaving the task i have not engaged in any day-to-day politics," he told Sky News Australia.
Mr Morrison's deputy from June 2021, Barnaby Joyce, said he failed to have prior knowledge of the appointments.
"I revealed about it, and that i pain it. i think in an exceedingly cabinet system of presidency where ministers are liable for their own portfolio. we do not have a presidential kind of government," Mr Joyce told Channel 7.
The centre-right coalition suffered a convincing defeat in May's election. It lost many seats in cities - where climate action and political integrity were seen as key issues.
In July, Mr Morrison drew controversy by telling churchgoers "don't trust in governments" and "don't trust within the United Nations" during a speech in Perth.
This is "weird".
That's what Mr Albanese (and variety of constitutional experts) have said about the reports.
There are such a large amount of questions and you would be forgiven for sprawling. No-one is bound who knew what, when.
It would be normal for a frontrunner to form sure that somebody can improve and do the work if a minister is incapacitated, especially at the peak of the pandemic.
But there are some ways of doing this. Why did it should be him? And more crucially, why the secrecy?
As it stands, nothing about this gels. But here's why this might potentially be an enormous deal.
For a frontrunner of any country, plus a democracy, to require over several portfolios without the public's knowledge or the knowledge of his own colleagues, raises serious questions.
If confirmed, this also means the then-prime minister was potentially getting to centralise power in order that the decision-making would ultimately come all the way down to him.
Remember, this was happening at a time when Australia was in and out of lockdowns and when the Morrison government faced plenty of criticism for the way they handled the vaccination programme.
Confidence within the Morrison government was waning - but because the current prime minister put it, it seems that even Scott Morrison had no confidence within the Morrison government.