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Miles defends no show Premier, labels Opposition attacks 'mudslinging'

Politics

Deputy Premier Steven Miles brushed off questions about the future of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s leadership, insisting the Premier had been “very fulsome” in her response to integrity issues.

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Mr Miles also defended the Premier’s non-appearance before the media on Thursday, saying she had given press conference in nine of the past 11 days.

However, the Premier’s no-show coincided with the expected release of terms of reference for an inquiry by her director-general, Rachel Hunter, into claims of political interference by former state archivist Mike Summerell.

“She fronted the media a lot this week, she chaired the Covid teleconference this morning,” Miles told reporters.

“As you might appreciate, the Premier has a lot of other jobs to do too.”

As questions over its integrity and accountability record continued to swirl around the government, another former senior public servant emerged with claims about inappropriate methods of recruiting senior staff.

The former head of the state’s legal service regulator, Bob Brittan, says he was rebuffed by then-attorney-general Yvette D’Ath after raising concerns about the hiring process for the Legal Services Commissioner role, in which he was acting, in 2019.

Brittan said he was concerned that key legal bodies were involved in vetting applicants to lead their own regulator despite his own advice to the contrary.

Miles insisted Brittan’s concerns were not ignored, but taken seriously by Ms D’Ath, who is now the health minister.

He accused Opposition leader David Crisafulli of “throwing mud”, despite the growing list of current or former senior public servants complaining of political interference in their role.

“Just because the Leader of the Opposition stands up everyday and throws mud, does not make it true,” Miles said.

“I saw his press conference yesterday, not a single new piece of evidence, just mud and hyperbole, hysteria and histrionics.”

Asked how the the CCC or a parliamentary committee could conduct a satisfactory inquiry into the allegations when they were more about culture than wrongdoing, Miles said “I don’t think the claims that have been made are evidence of that”.

“Their claims appropriately have been or are being investigated and that is the appropriate thing,” he said.

Current Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman denied Brittan was forced out of his role, but said he had asked to be made permanent deputy legal services commissioner “without a merit-based selection process.

“This is not a story,” Ms Fentiman said.

“It wasn’t a story when it ran in 2019, it’s not a story today.”

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