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Revealed: Trad's secret texts to senior education staffer

Politics

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has called on former deputy premier Jackie Trad to release all text messages between her and a senior executive from the Department of Education.

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Some messages — obtained by the Opposition after a Right to Information request — showed Trad had been in contact with the deputy director-general of education Jeff Hunt last year.

Trad resigned from Cabinet on Sunday and Hunt was stood aside from his position the following day after revelations of a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into the appointment of a school principal.

In February, Shadow Education Minister Jarrod Bleijie used parliamentary privilege to accuse Trad of interfering in the appointment of a principal to the new Inner City South State Secondary College last year.

His comments came after it was revealed the principal selected for the position was not the independent selection panel’s first pick and that the position was re-advertised at a higher band before the second candidate was chosen.

In November, Trad told Parliament she held meetings with both candidates and Department of Education staff at the time but has since denied personally knowing either candidate or being involved in the appointment process.

While some of her text messages have been released, parts have been redacted due to being under “Cabinet considerations”.

Frecklington said the public deserved to know why matters related to Cabinet were being discussed via text.

“What was being discussed that was subject to Cabinet confidentiality?” Frecklington said.

“Why was the [former] deputy premier in such regular contact with a senior education [department] official and what was it over?

“Where was [Education Minister] Grace Grace?”

In one of the exchanges, Hunt discusses issues surrounding the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, receiving a reply from Trad ending with “Thank you, Jeff. x”.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declined to comment specifically on the released messages and said she did not “know the circumstances” of the correspondence.

“They’re matters for her,” Palaszczuk said.

“These are matters before the CCC, there’s an investigation by the CCC and I would actually want the CCC to get on and do that job,” she said.

-ABC/Josh Bavas

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