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Labor blocks inquiry into corruption watchdog over Logan council case


An impromptu bid by the Liberal National Party to convene a parliamentary inquiry into the Crime and Corruption Commission has failed.

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In a meeting of the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee on Tuesday, the LNP’s Michael Crandon moved that an inquiry be held with the power to compel witnesses to give evidence in public hearings.

The Palaszczuk Government was forced to sack the Logan City Council two years ago after a CCC investigation led to fraud charges against eight councillors.

The councillors, including former mayor Luke Smith, were dumped from their roles after a CCC investigation into the dismissal of council CEO Sharon Kelsey.

But last week, most charges were withdrawn after prosecutors told the Brisbane Magistrates Court they would not be proceeding with the case, prompting widespread criticism of the CCC. Smith still faces other charges.

Crandon cited comments by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk when she rejected calls for a special inquiry into the CCC and said the committee could provide such oversight.

“The Premier has clearly pushed this matter back to this committee for it to do, properly do, it’s job,” Crandon said.

But Labor’s Jimmy Sullivan accused Crandon of “verballing the premier” who he said was referring to the committee’s ongoing review of the CCC, not a separate inquiry.

“We are half-way through, or part-way through, our five-year statutory review,” said Sullivan, the deputy chair of the committee.

Crandon said the statutory review was about “nuts and bolts” issues, not specific cases, and the committee had the power to respond to public concerns with a dedicated inquiry.

Committee chairman Jon Krause, an LNP member whose electorate includes parts of Logan City, said the CCC investigation and collapse of the fraud case was of great concern to the community. For the ex-councillors involved, the charges had “destroyed their lives” and deserved further scrutiny, Krause said.

The motion was not on the committee agenda, prompting several MPs to belatedly declare they had potential conflicts. It had not been considered by the secretariat.

When it came to a vote, Labor used its numbers to defeat the motion for an inquiry 4-3. The committee then went into a private session, and it is unclear whether the Logan matter will now be considered as part of the statutory review of the CCC.

The decision came after the CFMEU, a Labor-affiliated union, joined calls for CCC chairman Alan MacSporran to resign. The Premier recently said he had her full support.

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