Australian PM flags legal reform after secret ministries scandal

CANBERRA: Australia‘s Prime Minister has flagged reforms in response to his predecessor’s secret ministries scandal.
Anthony Albanese on Sunday revealed he will on Monday receive advice from the Solicitor-General on any legal and constitutional problems surrounding former PM Scott Morrison swearing himself into several ministries, Xinhua news agency reported.
It was revealed on Tuesday that Morrison had been appointed to five ministries including the health, home affairs and treasury portfolios secretly between March 2020 and May 2021.
Albanese on Sunday said that “very clearly” there’s a need for proper scrutiny of what occurred here.
“There are separate questions about the functioning of our democracy, about conventions and whether any conventions have been overturned, and whether there’s a need for any reforms required to ensure that something like this can never happen again,” he told Sky News Australia.
Morrison, who has been urged by some members of the Opposition Liberal Party to resign from Parliament over the scandal, justified the appointments by saying it was necessary to guide Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Albanese said on Sunday his government would establish a royal commission into Australia’s coronavirus response as soon as was practical.
“Clearly, you’d need to look at the response of all governments,” he said.
“Primarily, it would be about the federal government, that’s what we have responsibility for. But the interaction between the different levels of government of course was critical to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Also on Sunday, Australia reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases and more than 30 deaths as the country continues to battle against the wave of Omicron sub-variant infections in winter.

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