Court Finds Morrison Pep-11 Veto Violated Natural Justice

Scott Morrison’s vocal opposition to controversial offshore gas drilling project meant his subsequent decision to formally block it was tainted by arresting prejudice, court finds bottom.

And Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s vocal opposition has led to accusations that any decision under his government would be tainted.

A federal court on Tuesday reversed Morrison’s December 2021 decision blocking the extension of the PEP-11 project permit and forwarded it to joint federal and NSW authorities.

This course of action was demanded by the two governments and the permit holder, Asset Energy.

Albanese denounced Morrison’s predecessor’s decisions taken after his secret appointment as Minister of Resources as being legally untenable and the result of a corrupt and incompetent administration.

Asset Energy launched a legal challenge to the PEP-11 decision last year, arguing that Morrison violated procedural impartiality requirements and that he was validly appointed as the Joint Authority’s Minister of State. said there wasn’t.

Judge Darren Jackson made no discovery as to whether Morrison was secretly appointed Minister of Resources for the purpose of determining the application.

However, he was pleased that Morrison’s comments provided adequate grounds for concluding that the decision was influenced by the prejudice he feared.

Petroleum Exploration Permit 11, known as PEP-11, covers approximately 8,200 square kilometers of oil off the coast of New South Wales (NSW) between Wollongong and Newcastle.

Morrison repeatedly voiced his opposition to the project before and after being appointed as the second Minister of Resources on April 15, 2021.

“(The PEP-11 grant) will go through a process, but I have made it perfectly clear that it is not something I endorse. Please expect my views on it to be firm,” he said. said at a press conference on April 21. .

When Mr. Morrison deliberated on the issue in December 2021, Judge Jackson said Mr. Morrison’s public comments “could have made his mind less persuasive.” There is a possibility that it will be reasonably understood by

Given that Morrison held a press conference on the day of his decision and said the project “will not proceed,” Asset Energy has been given 30 days to respond to the government’s intention to reject its application. The same can be said for the deliberations of

Judge Jackson said he “accepts the parties’ joint submission that a violation of the rules of natural justice occurred in connection with the decision.”

The federal government will pay for Asset Energy.

Independent lawmaker Zari Stegall introduced a bill to end the project “on and off.” Because comments from Mr. Albanese and others remain an issue of bias.

She gained the support of Rep. Keith Pitt, the Minister of Resources, whom Mr. Morrison seized power.

“The application is now a matter for the Albanian government,” he said Tuesday night.

“However, a fair observer might reasonably conclude that the current prime minister may not have an open mind regarding the application, given his previous comments.”

Resources Minister Madeleine King is the sole federal minister responsible for PEP-11 decisions. NSW has opposed the extension, but the federal decision will be used in the event of a stalemate in the Joint Offshore Petroleum Authority.

King said on February 3, “We intend to provide continued comment on future official decisions to be submitted to the Joint Authority, whether related to PEP-11 or other matters. No,’ he said.

The NSW government opposed extending PEP-11 for 2022 and reaffirmed its opposition this month.