Former judge to head Australian inquiry into ex-PM Morrison’s secret roles

By Thomson Reuters Aug 26, 2022 | 12:27 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia appointed a former High Court judge on Friday to lead an inquiry into former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s secret appointments to some ministries at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virginia Bell will head the inquiry into Morrison’s dual appointments to a range of departments, from health and finances to treasury and home affairs, and report by Nov. 25, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

“We need to have a quick and appropriate inquiry, which is not about the politics, but about how this happened, why it happened, who knew about it,” Albanese told reporters.

“It’s important so that people can have confidence in our parliamentary democracy.”

The secret appointments “fundamentally undermined” responsible government, despite being legally valid, Australia’s solicitor general said in advice this week.

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)