Key points in Morrison ministries inquiry


Former High Court judge Virginia Bell has handed her report on Scott Morrison's secret ministries to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.


* Health and Finance appointments were "unnecessary". If the ministers had been incapacitated during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Morrison could have been authorised "in a matter of minutes".

* His Treasury and Home Affairs appointments "had little if any connection to the pandemic". Rather the appointments were to "give himself the capacity to exercise particular statutory powers".

* A Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet brief noted it was "somewhat unusual" for a prime minister to appoint himself to administer other departments. The action was also described as "bizarre" and "exorbitant".

* Mr Morrison's use of his power as resources minister to refuse the PEP11 project was his only exercise of statutory power in the extra ministries he took on. But the report found: "There was a risk of conflict had Mr Morrison decided to exercise a statutory power inconsistently with the exercise of the power by another minister administering the department."

* Mr Morrison planned to take on the agriculture portfolio but did not go ahead with it.

* The Finance, Treasury, Home Affairs and Health departments were unaware of the appointments.

* The secrecy meant parliament was "unable to hold Mr Morrison to account in his capacity as minister administering any of these five departments".

* "The lack of disclosure of the appointments to the public was apt to undermine public confidence in government. Once the appointments became known, the secrecy with which they had been surrounded was corrosive of trust in government."


* Federal cabinet will sign off on changes to make ministerial appointments more publicly transparent on Monday.

* Law will be changed to ensure publication "as soon as reasonably practicable" of any new ministerial appointments.

* List of all acting arrangements to be published on a departmental website.

* The public should be able to easily find information on which minister is responsible for which particular matter or department at all times, including when they are only acting in the role for two weeks or more.

* Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General have agreed on a new protocol for the publication in the Government Gazette of all ministerial appointments and directions to hold office.