Min­is­ter ac­cused of mis­lead­ing MPs about meet­ings O’Rourke un­der fire

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DOMANII CAMERON

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”.

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