Min­is­ter stands down over emails, ‘ sus­pi­cion of cor­rup­tion’

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - SARAH VOGLER

STATE Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley was last night stood aside amid rev­e­la­tions that his pri­vate email use – and dele­tion of the ac­count – may amount to cor­rupt con­duct.

The Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion last night re­vealed it found “a num­ber” of pub­lic records among 30,000 emails re­trieved from Mr Bai­ley’s Ya­hoo ac­count af­ter it was re­ac­ti­vated ear­lier this year.

It found there was a “rea­son­able sus­pi­cion of cor­rupt con­duct” and has di­rected State Ar­chiv­ist Mike Sum­merell to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk said she had asked Mr Bai­ley to stand aside pend­ing the out­come of that probe.

In a state­ment, Mr Bai­ley said he stood by his in­tegrity but was stand­ing aside so as not to be­come a dis­trac­tion for the Gov­ern­ment.

“I stand by my in­tegrity and look for­ward to the res­o­lu­tion of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion which I hope will be car­ried out as quickly as pos­si­ble,” he said.

The State Gov­ern­ment has lost min­is­ters Jo- Ann Miller, Leanne Don­ald­son and Stir­ling Hinch­liffe this term.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Steven Miles was last night floated as a con­tender to fill the En­ergy port­fo­lio.

Mr Bai­ley deleted the email ac­count af­ter a Right to In­for­ma­tion re­quest was lodged by The Aus­tralian news­pa­per.

It fol­lowed rev­e­la­tions he had been lob­bied via his pri­vate email ac­count by the Elec­tri­cal Trades Union.

Mr Bai­ley has de­nied knowl­edge of the RTI ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore the ac­count dele­tion.

“Based on a re­view of the emails and ad­vice in the re­port, the CCC con­sid­ers a num­ber of emails are pub­lic records,” the CCC said in an email last night.

“The CCC did not iden­tify any ev­i­dence to sup­port al­le­ga­tions ( Mr) Bai­ley had used his per­sonal email ac­count to en­gage in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the ETU that would amount to cor­rupt con­duct.

“How­ever, the CCC con­sid­ers there is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to raise se a rea­son­ablere sus­pi­cion of cor­rupt con­duct re­lat­ing to the po­ten­tial de­struc­tion of pub­lic records … as this may be an of­fence un­der the Pub­lic Records Act 2002.”

In a let­ter to Op­po­si­tion Leader Tim Ni­cholls, the CCC in­di­cated it was not pos­si­ble to know if all the emails were able to be re­trieved when the ac­count was re­ac­ti­vated.

“Not­ing the level of pub­lic in­ter­est, the CCC has de­ter­mined to mon­i­tor the way the mat­ter is in­ves­ti­gated pur­suant to sec­tions 46( 2)( b) and 48( 1)(c)( i) of the Crime and Cor­rup­tion Act 2001,” the CCC stated.

Mark Bai­ley.

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