Palaszczuk un­der fire

The Courier-Mail - - FRONT PAGE - STEVEN WARDILL

AN­NASTA­CIA Palaszczuk will be in­ves­ti­gated by State Par­lia­ment’s pow­er­ful ethics com­mit­tee over al­le­ga­tions she was in con­tempt by threat­en­ing to strip funds from Kat­ter’s Aus­tra- lian Party. Speaker Cur­tis Pitt said there were “suf­fi­cient ques­tions” to be asked over the Premier’s con­duct. “I have not taken this de­ci­sion lightly. I have given this de­ci­sion se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion,” he said.

AN­NASTA­CIA Palaszczuk will be in­ves­ti­gated by State Par­lia­ment’s pow­er­ful ethics com­mit­tee over al­le­ga­tions she com­mit­ted con­tempt when threat­en­ing to strip funds from Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party.

Speaker Cur­tis Pitt yes­ter­day re­vealed he was re­fer­ring Ms Palaszczuk on the grounds her re­peated com­ments about KAP may amount to threats, in­tim­i­da­tion, mo­lesta­tion of a mem­ber, com­pul­sion to me­nace and im­proper in­flu­ence.

Mr Pitt re­leased a 12-page de­tailed state­ment into his rea­sons but stressed his re­fer­ral did not amount to an as­sump­tion of guilt or in­no­cence.

“I have not taken this de­ci­sion lightly, I have given this de­ci­sion se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion,” he said. “There are suf­fi­cient ques­tions of fact to be de­ter­mined against the ev­i­dence such that it would be pru­dent to re­fer the ques­tion as to whether there has been a con­tempt to the ethics com­mit­tee.”

Ms Palaszczuk re­peat­edly in State Par­lia­ment and in pub­lic de­manded Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party State MPs de­nounce Se­nate re­cruit Fraser An­ning’s con­tro­ver­sial “fi­nal so­lu­tion” com­ment or face be­ing stripped of fund­ing.

“I will be re- view­ing those re­sources un­less I hear from Rob­bie Kat­ter,” Ms Palaszczuk (pic­tured) said on Au­gust 21. Queens­land’s cor­rup­tion watch­dog ear­lier this month warned there was “prima fa­cie” ev­i­dence Ms Palaszczuk’s com­ments breached the crim­i­nal code. The Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion de­cided not to pur­sue crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ing and sug­gested the Premier’s fate should be a mat­ter for the Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly to de­cide.

Ms Palaszczuk ini­tially dis­missed the mat­ter as com­ments made “in the heat of Ques­tion Time” but later re­fused to com­ment fur­ther. She wrote to Mr Pitt in­sist­ing her com­ments did not breach Par­lia­ment’s rules.

The Op­po­si­tion and KAP de­manded in­ves­ti­ga­tions and for Ms Palaszczuk to stand down dur­ing the de­lib­er­a­tions.

Mr Pitt ruled while el­e­ments of Mr Kat­ter’s com­plaints did not amount to con­tempt, there were se­ri­ous mat­ters that were nei­ther tech­ni­cal or triv­ial that needed in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Ms Palaszczuk will now earn the du­bi­ous record of be­ing one of the few pre­miers ever in­ves­ti­gated by a Par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee for a se­ri­ous charge. Par­lia­ment has the power to force an apol­ogy. It can also fine or jail dis­si­dent MPs but that is highly un­likely.

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