Wednesday, 16 December 2020
Media release

Office of the Special Investigator

​The Morrison Government has appointed Mr Chris Moraitis PSM, current Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, as Director-General of the Office of the Special Investigator.

The role of the Special Investigator will be filled by the Hon Mark Weinberg AO QC.

Mr Ross Barnett APM has been appointed as the Director of Investigations. Mr Barnett will support the Special Investigator through leadership of investigations.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) will examine the findings of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report and will begin work from 4 January 2021.

“The task for these eminent appointees will be challenging and as the Prime Minister has noted, difficult for Australia,” Mr Dutton said.

“They bring a wealth of experience to the very important work this Office will do. Their combined wealth of experience will serve the Office well in undertaking the significant task ahead.”

Mr Moraitis has worked on a range of challenging issues, including reforms to national security legislation, as well as treaty negotiations and international legal disputes during his career at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Mr Moraitis has considerable experience engaging international bodies, including the International Criminal Court.

“Mr Moraitis is a highly-regarded public servant with significant experience in complex policy and legal matters,” Mr Dutton said.

“He will provide strategic oversight and leadership to the operations of the Office of the Special Investigator.”

Justice Weinberg is a former Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria. In 2017, Justice Weinberg was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly through reforms to criminal law and procedure, to legal education in Victoria and to the administration of justice in Fiji and Norfolk Island.

As Special Investigator he will be responsible for assessing the matters raised by the Inquiry and, if appropriate, referring briefs of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

“Justice Weinberg has had a distinguished career and brings a wealth of experience to this very important work,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Barnett is Queensland’s first Racing Integrity Commissioner and a former Deputy Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service. Mr Barnett’s experience includes working in major crime and drug squads and he has served in senior roles at the National Crime Authority, the Australian Crime Commission and the Queensland Crime Commission.

“For nearly 40 years Mr Barnett was one of the most distinguished officers in the Queensland Police. He led the State Crime Command of that Service and he has considerable criminal investigative and major case experience,” Mr Dutton said.

Australian Defence Force personnel serve our country with distinction and great sacrifice. Their honour and our nation are best served by ensuring the matters raised in the Afghanistan Inquiry Report are addressed in Australia and in accordance with the rule of law.

Those defence personnel and families affected by the Inquiry are encouraged to access support services.