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Premier under fire again on integrity, accused of running 'protection racket' for Jackie Trad

Politics

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has denied ordering three Labor MPs to suppress the legal costs of the former treasurer’s case against Queensland’s corruption watchdog.

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However, she has refused to comment further on why the three Labor MPs would blocked the release of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s legal costs in its case involving former Labor treasurer Jackie Trad.

Trad is in a legal battle with the CCC to stop it releasing a report into allegations she interfered in the recruitment of under-treasurer Frankie Carroll in 2019.

The government is paying the legal costs of both Ms Trad, due to indemnity rules, and the CCC.

The watchdog outlined its legal costs, and nepotism allegations regarding public service appointments, in a letter to a parliamentary committee.

However, government MPs Jonty Bush, Jess Pugh, Melissa McMahon and Ali King blocked the release of the document.

Palaszczuk denied in state parliament that her office or cabinet ministers told the four Labor MPs to suppress the report.

“I reject some of the premises of that question, Mr. Speaker, and let me say this, I am not going to interfere in committee business and I’m not going to reflect on committee business,” she told parliament on Wednesday.

The Liberal National Party education spokesman Christian Rowan also asked about how much the government paid education department deputy director-general Jeff Hunt when he was stood aside for misconduct, and if he would have to pay that back.

Palaszczuk described paying Mr Hunt’s salary while he had been stood down as “standard procedure” for public servants and attacked the opposition.

“I will not have people in this House, especially those opposite who have a very good track record of actually condemning our public servants … and attacking, it’s the same LNP, they had learned nothing,” she said.

“Scott Morrison remember, in their costings, wanted to cut the public service. It’s in their DNA, a massive cut, that’s right, that’s right, there’s no federal ICAC do an investigation.”

Deputy Opposition leader Jarrod Bleijie on Thursday accused the government of “running a protection racket” for their former Labor colleague.

He said the CCC’s probe into Trad had been completed, and there was no apparent legal reason to suppress the CCC’s legal costs.

“Revealing that the legal cost to the taxpayer that the CCC has spent in court does nothing to impact the case before the court,” he said.

Opposition MP Fiona Simpson said the government had an obsession with secrecy and it had reached a new low.

She said Queenslanders deserve to know where tax payer money is being spent.

“The Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman, should as Queensland’s first law officer put transparency ahead of her misguided loyalty to Jackie Trad,” Simpson said in a statement.

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