Premier risks credibility on ‘ cover up’
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk is keeping secret which ministers have been using their private emails for ministerial work in a move casting doubt on her accountability pledge.
Ms Palaszczuk yesterday avoided the media after standing aside Minister Mark Bailey following Crime and Corruption Commission revelations the deletion of his private email account may amount to corrupt conduct.
In another blow, the CCC probe found other ministers were also using such emails in what was a corruption risk, although no corrupt conduct had been identified.
Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls last night said the “cover up” left Ms Palaszczuk’s openness and transparency credibility “in tatters”. “We already know some ministers have been caught out using their private email accounts … and that flies directly against the rules of the ministerial handbook and against the Premier’s own direction,” he said.
“The public deserve to know who has been flouting the rules, who has been using their private email accounts and why the rules have been broken.”
News Corp asked every minister whether they had used private email accounts for official work after CCC chair Alan MacSporran told an estimates hearing he knew some ministers were doing it, but he didn’t know who.
However, ministers’ offices were directed not to respond, with a central response from Ms Palaszczuk’s office refusing to detail who had erred.
“From time to time, some ministers have used private email accounts, typically to print or access documents they could not access when at home,” the statement said.
“The CCC has now made it clear that the use of private email addresses for work purposes by any Member of Parliament or public servant lacks transparency.
“The Premier has directed the Department of Premier and Cabinet to develop new explicit and formal advice to ministers.”
Yvette D’Ath detailed her private email use in Estimates yesterday – including printing out speeches and other documents at home – and indicated she believed many ministers, Opposition frontbenchers and backbenchers had been doing the same.
“That is a use that has been undertaken by a number of ministers and I suspect many ministers over many governments,” she said.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham, Health Minister Cameron Dick and Environment Minister Steven Miles have admitted similar use.
Mr Bailey has been stood aside pending the outcome of the investigation and his portfolio split between Treasurer Curtis Pitt and Dr Miles.