LNP tirade over email ‘cover-up’ allegations
In a fiery exchange in Parliament, the Opposition has accused the State Government of covering up the use of private emails between Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and minister Mark Bailey.
Opposition MPs have used today's Estimates hearing to question the authenticity of an email purportedly sent from the Main Roads Minister to Annastacia Palaszczuk's private Bigpond account in 2015, discussing the hiring of a former director-general and whether his ideological perspectives matched the Government's.
The email was tabled on Monday during Ms Palaszczuk's hearing, where she did not say whether she had responded to it - a move that would have put her at odds with a previous statement in 2017 that she had never used her private email for work purposes.
But committee chair Chris Whiting shut down today's questioning, arguing the content was not related to Budget expenditure.
He did not accept Opposition MPs' arguments that government hiring practices were related to Budget expenditure.
"Questions about emails that occurred in 2015 are not evidently relevant to the estimates," Mr Whiting said.
"I will keep on stating that."
Opposition integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson said email use was a question of integrity.
"The public has a right to know, it shouldn't be covered up," she said.
Ms Simpson's second attempt to table the email was rejected, prompting another fiery outburst that resulted in her being ejected from the chamber.
Opposition finance spokesman Jarrod Bleijie slammed the committee.
"This is a disgrace; this estimates process is a farce," he said.
He was unsuccessful in requesting an explanation from Mr Whiting as to why questioning over hiring practices wasn't relevant to budget expenditure.
Opposition transport and main roads spokesman Steve Minnikin had kicked off questioning by asking about the authenticity of the email and whether Mr Bailey was still using a private email for work.
"I'm fully committed to complying with the ministerial code," Mr Bailey responded.
Mr Minnikin also asked Transport and Main Roads director-general Neil Scales, Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy and Cross River Rail boss Graeme Newton whether they had received a private work-related email from Mr Bailey - to which all said no.
Ms Palaszczuk has repeatedly refused to answer questions this week around whether she responded to the email.
A spokesman said she had no recollection of it, and the CCC had already investigated emails from Mr Bailey's private firstname.lastname@example.org account and found no illegality.
The CCC investigation did find his use of personal email for ministerial purpose breached both the Queensland ministerial handbook and the ministerial information security policy, but did not amount to corrupt conduct.
Originally published as 'Disgrace, farce': LNP tirade over email 'cover-up'