Premier not ‘fair dinkum’ over email saga

 

Annastacia Palaszczuk's continued refusal to admit a personal email discussing her director-general was work-related and a breach of integrity rules suggests she's not "fair dinkum" or "fit for office", the Opposition says.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli claimed the Premier's denials over the email integrity saga were "murky" and getting "murkier every day" as she shut down questions over whether or not her answer to parliament that she had never used an email for official purposes still stood.

The Premier referred to legal advice from her Solicitor-General Sandy Thompson that found four emails between Ms Palaszczuk and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey weren't official public records.

 

But the same advice also revealed the State Archivist, who is legislatively in charge of the Public Records Act, had already ruled they were.

Asked whether she had breached the ministerial handbook, a code of conduct that prohibits private email use to conduct government-related business, Ms Palaszczuk said: "No, the Solicitor-General has tabled that advice."

The four emails were extraordinarily released by the Crime and Corruption Commission through the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee after weeks of Ms Palaszczuk refusing to release them.

One shows Ms Palaszczuk used a private account in 2016 to respond to a private email from Mr Bailey about how his director-general Neil Scales was working on an autonomous vehicle strategy and suggested her director-general would talk to Mr Scales about it.

Asked how she had reached the conclusion in February 2017 that she had never used her private email account for official purposes when she told parliament as much - years before this month's Solicitor-General's advice - Ms Palaszczuk shut down questions.

Instead, she asked the reporter repeatedly whether they had read the Solicitor-General's advice.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Mr Crisafulli accused Ms Palaszczuk of misusing and hiding behind the advice.

"There was communication going on quite simply that was government business," he said.

He said government needed to be conducted in an open and transparent manner.

"It's murky and it gets murkier every day and there are people on record having said things that quite clearly did not be borne (sic) to be the truth," he said.

"And we owe it to every Queenslander to pursue the issue and it's not up to the Premier to decide what is and isn't newsworthy.

"It's not up to the Premier to decide what Queenslanders want to talk about.

" … The denials that have subsequently been made go to the heart of whether or not people are fit for office and whether or not they are fair dinkum and that remains unanswered."

Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Transport Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

The Palaszczuk Government was embroiled in a damaging integrity scandal in 2017 when a CCC probe cleared Mr Bailey of corruption but found he had breached the Ministerial Handbook - rules that govern integrity issues and enforced by the Premier - in using his private mangocube account for official business.

He was saved from criminal charges over the destruction of public records in deleting his mangocube account following an RTI application by journalists only because the account was able to be reactivated.

Originally published as Premier not 'fair dinkum' over email saga