Calls grow for Royal Commission into Australia's pandemic response

A secret power grab by former PM Scott Morrison fuels the case for an inquiry into the nation's controversial handling of the Covid-19 crisis

Calls grow for Royal Commission into Australia's pandemic response
Former PM Scott Morrison / ABC
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Calls are growing louder for a Royal Commission into Australia's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic after it was revealed former Prime Minister Scott Morrison had secretly appointed himself to five separate ministerial positions in a stunning power grab.

Morrison justified the actions on Tuesday, saying he had asked Governor-General David Hurley to appoint him to multiple ministries in the midst of the pandemic because “these were extraordinary times and they required extraordinary measures.”

Morrison, who held the top job from 2018 until losing this year's election to Labor's Anthony Albanese, took on the health, home affairs, resources, finance and Treasury ministries between March 2020 and May 2021.

Nine Political Editor Chris Uhlmann said it could be argued that Morrison needed to share the health portfolio, but only because the nation's biosecurity laws were so 'draconian' giving the Health Minister 'the powers of a dictator'. 

"It’s just one more example of why we must have a Royal Commission into the pandemic that shines a bright light on every level of government, every leader and every bureaucrat. Anthony Albanese says it’s inconceivable there won’t be a Royal Commission ... Well the PM should call one now," he said on air.

Firebrand senator Pauline Hanson said it 'beggars belief' that Morrison could make such a power grab without notifying 'Parliament, the people or even his own Cabinet ministers' but went further in calling for more pandemic secrets to be brought to light.

“Expert health advice that was relied upon to justify lockdowns which destroyed families, jobs, businesses and the economy is still being kept secret. More than two years after the beginning of the pandemic, Australians are still being kept in the dark about the number of people who have died from COVID-19, and the number of people whose health was adversely affected by COVID-19 vaccines," she wrote in a statement.

 “Thousands of Australians have been arrogantly demonised by these same governments for standing up for their individual rights and freedoms by refusing the wonder-jabs. Extraordinary power was wielded over the Australian people under emergency management declarations, some of which are now permanently enshrined in law to the detriment of the principles of Australian democracy.

“There must be an accounting, and only a Royal Commission has the coercive powers to achieve it. The Australian people have the right to know everything about how this wrenching, unprecedented event was managed by the governments who serve them.”

Even the Sydney Morning Herald voiced its support for a Royal Commission saying in Tuesday's editorial that "The inquiry should ask why Australia went down this route while other countries managed to cope without breaking the fundamental conventions of the Westminster system."


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  • By Avi Yemini

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