EXPLOSIVE: Wide Bay candidate accused of assault cover-up
EXPLOSIVE allegations of an assault cover-up at the Maryborough RSL in 2017 have been refuted by Wide Bay Labor candidate Jason Scanes as "desperate" and "disgraceful".
Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie levelled the accusations, which also involve Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders, in State Parliament yesterday under parliamentary privilege.
Mr Bleijie told parliament Carolyn Packer had accused a member of Mr Saunders' staff, Paul Freyer, of pushing into her twice at the club on the night of September 12, 2017.
She accused Mr Saunders of pulling her shirt at a town hall meeting and telling her she was "supporting grubs" two months after the RSL incident, Mr Bleijie told the house.
An October 31, 2018, letter referred to by Mr Bleijie from RSL general manager Craig Lenihan to Ms Packer said there was "noticeable contact between yourself and a gentleman also attending the function".
Mr Lenihan said a warning letter was sent to the man in question and his behaviour at the club would be monitored.
Mr Scanes was the CEO of the RSL at the time and refused to release the CCTV footage, Mr Bleijie said.
"It has been alleged that Jason Scanes's actions were to cover up the alleged assault by the employee of Bruce Saunders against a woman at the RSL," Mr Bleijie told the house.
By doing so, Mr Bleijie accused the Wide Bay candidate of not standing up against violence against women.
Today Mr Scanes strongly rejected the Kawana MP's claims.
"It's a fanciful and desperate attempt by the current LNP Government to draw a long bow with the allegations and discredit me," he said.
He declined direct release of the CCTV footage to Ms Packer, but encouraged her to report the incident to the police and seek the footage through them.
"I fully co-operated with the police," Mr Scanes said.
Police said today "the matter was fully investigated and no person was charged in relation to the complaint".
It was wrapped up in January last year.
Ms Packer's RTI request to police for five RSL videos of the night was refused as "they contain the images and actions of numerous persons attending a political event at the Maryborough RSL", police said.
The release of that personal information could not be separated from Ms Packer's in the video, police said.
Mr Scanes said he was not a member of the Labor Party at the time, and completely rejected the cover-up claims, which he said were only made under parliamentary privilege "to discredit my character".
"I stand by my good character and my reputation," he said.
Mr Saunders said the accusations were "outrageous" and had been "extensively" investigated by the police.
"Not once have police found any evidence to support this claim," he said.
The Maryborough MP challenged Mr Bleijie to stand by those claims away from the safety of Parliament.
"If the member for Kawana had any backbone... he'd come outside the house and make those allegations," he said.
His relationship with Mr Scanes was only professional through bookings of the RSL, he said, and Mr Scanes was not an ALP member at the time.
"They're terrified he's (Scanes) making inroads on Llew O'Brien," Mr Saunders said.
Mr Bleijie declined to make any further comment on the matter.