Premier dodges private email questions

 

Annastacia Palaszczuk has sidestepped questions about how an email she sent from a private account that mentioned her own director-general was not government business, by deferring to advice from the state's Solicitor-General.

It came after emails between Ms Palaszczuk's and Cabinet minister Mark Bailey's private accounts were released for the first time, including a January, 2016 email where she refers to her department's director-general Dave Stewart.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture, John Gass
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Picture, John Gass

The released emails have prompted Opposition claims that it "defies belief" that the correspondence was not government business - after the Premier previously told parliament in 2017 that she had never used a private account for official purposes.

In the January, 2016 email from the Premier, she makes mention of Mr Stewart in response to an email Mr Bailey had sent to her about electric and autonomous vehicles.

"Very interesting," Ms Palaszczuk wrote.

"When I was mon (sic) there … Was some work done on ev ports.

"Dave Stewart can talk to Neil," she wrote, in reference to the director-general, Mr Stewart.

 

 

Asked yesterday to explain how discussing a director-general was not government business, Ms Palaszczuk said: "Yeah, I don't have the Solicitor-General's advice here.

"But it's been tabled so you can have a read of it," the Premier said.

"Queenslanders are interested in when they're going to get their vaccine. They're interested in jobs, they're interested in training."

Ms Palaszczuk was also asked if she was referring to her director-general in the email, but she did not answer the question - instead she again insisted it had "all been through the Solicitor-General".

LNP integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
LNP integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Opposition integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson yesterday claimed it defied belief that the emails were not government business.

"I doubt they were making BBQ plans for the next weekend," she said.

"It just goes beyond belief that these matters shouldn't have been released before and treated with some courtesy to honest Queenslanders."

In the advice Ms Palaszczuk tabled to parliament, the Solicitor-General found the four emails exchanged between her private account and Mr Bailey's were not public records.

That was because the subject matter of the emails did not relate to her then portfolio of the Arts.

The emails were quietly released last week after the state's corruption watchdog passed them onto the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee.

There were three emails sent from Mr Bailey and only one where Ms Palaszczuk responded to the Minister.

Originally published as Premier dodges private email questions

 


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