Top Edinburgh scientist suspended over £27k fraud claims

A HIGH-FLYING Capital geologist has been charged with fraud after allegedly fiddling more than £27,000 in private health insurance.

Suzanne Miller worked at the National Museum before emigrating to Australia. Picture: contributed

Edinburgh-born Professor Suzanne Miller has been suspended from her role as Queensland’s chief scientist in Australia.

Prof Miller, 52, was keeper of natural sciences at the National Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street for 12 years before emigrating Down Under.

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Queensland state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed Prof Miller has been “stood aside” pending the outcome of the fraud investigation.

“I was shocked just like everybody else, but they need to run their natural course through the justice system,” said Ms Palaszczuk.

Trail-blazing Prof Miller was the first woman to hold the post of chief scientist in Queensland and the first female director of the South Australian Museum before that.

While at the national Museum of Scotland, Prof Miller headed up the natural sciences department, overseeing millions of fossils and specimens from around the world.

She moved to Adelaide with her husband Keith, a former BBC science producer and director, in 2007.

Prof Miller was charged with fraud by the Crime and Corruption Commission in relation to a private health insurance claim before being freed on bail.

Court documents state between February 1, 2014 and July 24, 2017, she dishonestly gained the money using private health insurance of the Queensland Museum.

Also the CEO and director of the Queensland Museum Network, Prof Miller is expected to appear at Brisbane Magistrates court on August 8.

She has been suspended from both her state and museum network roles on full pay and must surrender her UK and Australian passports as part of the bail conditions.

Prof Miller must also not attend the museum or contact past or present museum staff, board members, employees of the Corporate Administration Agency, or contact any witnesses or potential witnesses.

Appointed to the role of chief scientist in December 2016, Prof Miller is the state’s third chief scientist.

Only last Friday, she was named as the chair of the new expert panel to advise on fisheries management in Queensland.

Prior to moving to Queensland, Miller was the director of the South Australian Museum from 2007 to 2013.

She also holds a range of advisory roles, including chair of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors.

Science minister Leeanne Enoch confirmed an acting chief scientist will be appointed and praised Prof Miller’s work, including overseeing the World Science Festival.

“The chief scientist has a very important role in Queensland and she has been incredibly successful in terms of putting science front and centre, not just in Queensland but in Australia,” said Ms Enoch.