A Gladstone worker talks to Bill Shorten tax cuts for higher-income earners.
A Gladstone worker talks to Bill Shorten tax cuts for higher-income earners.

O'Sullivan denies involvement in contractor's suspension

PETER O'Sullivan has denied involvement in the Gladstone Ports Corporation's decision to suspend a contractor who asked Bill Shorten about tax.

The events unfolded in the middle of the federal election campaign, on April 23, when a 49-year-old contractor made a comment to Mr Shorten at a GPC staff barbecue.

The worker asked Mr Shorten if he would consider giving workers earning $250,000 a year a tax cut, and in response Mr Shorten said he would consider it.

The next day the father-of-three's pass did not work and he was officially told he was suspended.

The contractor was told he was in breach for speaking to the media when filmed questioning Mr Shorten at the Queensland Government-owned Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Recently dismissed GPC chief executive, Mr O'Sullivan said some media suggested he was involved in the decision due to his connection to Labor as Gladstone's candidate for the Queensland election in 2009.

But today it was revealed he had been suspended with pay in December, before he was officially sacked on Monday night.

"I hadn't been on that work site for months yet GPC never attempted to clarify that," Mr O'Sullivan said.

"They let that innuendo and that message sit out there and didn't attempt to provide any clear, factual information."

The issue is being investigated by Queensland Treasury and has been referred to the CCC.

Mr O'Sullivan said had he still been at the port he "would not let that happen".

"I'm someone who believes in politics and that everyone gets to have their say," he said.

GPC chairman Peter Corones said in a statement to The Observer the contractor issue played no part in the board's decision to dismiss Mr O'Sullivan.