Scott Morrison’s referral to highly secretive committee knocked back

Scott Morrison has avoided a fresh probe into the secret ministries saga after a push to refer him to a powerful parliamentary committee was knocked back.

In December, Greens leader Adam Bandt moved for the Speaker to refer the former prime minister to the privileges committee for misleading the parliament during his defence of a censure motion against him.

But on the first sitting day of the year, Milton Dick advised MPs there was insufficient evidence to suggest he had deliberately mislead the house.

“As fundamentally important as these issues are, I see no prima facie case of deliberately misleading the house,” Mr Dick said.

The house could still vote to have the matter referred, but the Speaker reminded members the matter had already been dealt with.

Last year, Mr Morrison became the first former prime minister to be censured by the house of representatives for secretly appointing himself to five ministries throughout the pandemic.

The motion followed a scathing report by former High Court Justice Virginia Bell, who found the move was “corrosive of trust in government”.

During his defence, Mr Morrison claimed the ministry list tabled in parliament at the time included a reference that ministers may be sworn to administer additional departments.

But Mr Bandt claimed the lists did not have such a disclosure and called on the Speaker to consider the consequences.


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