Minister accused of misleading MPs about meetings O’Rourke under fire
MINISTER Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke has been accused of being “untruthful” in State Parliament about her one- on- one meetings with the Premier, after a Right To Information document revealed no meetings had been recorded this year.
The RTI document, lodged on June 12, requested “extracts from the Premier’s diary, not included in the disclosed diaries, showing telephone discussions or meetings with the Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Hon. O’Rourke”.
However, aside from scheduled Cabinet meetings and official government functions, Ms O’Rourke has not met privately with the Premier or had any logged phone calls between January 1 and June 12.
It follows three Questions on Notice from Caloundra MP Mark McArdle on May 11, Coomera MP Michael Crandon on May 10 and Cleveland MP Mark Robinson on May 11.
The three asked Ms O’Rourke to provide a breakdown of the “one- on- one” meetings she had with the Premier to discuss unemployment and crime in Townsville and mineral and energy resource jobs in North Queensland.
In each official response, Ms O’Rourke said “one of the great advantages of having the role of Minister Assisting the Premier is that the Premier and I work side by side and discuss these matters one on one without the constraints of requiring formal meetings”.
Ms O’Rourke said it seemed the LNP “had no real plan” and had to resort to “counting diary meetings”.
“As I have said before, this is complete rubbish,” the Mundingburra MP said.
“If you want to, look at how I’ve represented the North then look at what has been achieved.
“I talk with the Premier nu- merous times during each month about what I’m hearing and what we as a government need to prioritise.”
She said she met with large numbers of stakeholders across the North every month including providing a number of projects to the region.
“My job is to assist the Premier to make sure the North is heard and gets what it deserves – job creating infrastructure, great schools and hospitals and an economy that is strong and confident and that is exactly what has happened,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“Because of this, we have secured funding for key local projects like the new stadium and the Burdekin hydro- electric power station.
“I’m also fighting to ensure we can benefit from the ( jobs) created by the Adani Carmichael coal project.”
Hinchinbrook MP Andrew Cripps said the RTI threw into question Ms O’Rourke’s truthfulness in Parliament.
“Coralee has tied herself up in knots in terms of her responses which are now inconsistent in her own diary entries and the Premier’s diary entries,” he said.
“It shows she’s been misleading North Queensland.”
Mr Cripps said the Mundingburra MP was not “fair dinkum”.