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'Weak and sneaky': Lobbyist ban should include their companies, says LNP

Politics

The Queensland premier’s decision to ban three individual lobbyists still allows their colleagues to lobby the government, the opposition says.

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has barred lobbyists Evan Moorhead, Cameron Milner and David Nelson from lobbying her ministers and public servants until the 2024 election.

The move comes after a review recommended that all professional lobbyists be banned from working on election campaigns like Moorhead and Milner did for Palaszczuk and Labor in 2020.

Deputy Opposition Leader Jarrod Bleijie said banning the trio did not stop their firms Anacta Strategies and Next Level Strategic Services from lobbying the government.

He says the premier “sneakily and trickily” banned the trio when Mr Moorhead had already relocated to Canberra.

“So Evan Moorhead is getting a slap on the wrist,” Mr Bleijie told reporters on Tuesday.

“Evan Moorhead getting told: “Sorry Evan, our good mate Evan, you’re not going to be doing work for the Queensland government’ is no punishment because he had already made the decision to leave.”

“But what he did do is he left his minions in charge of Anacta and they will still be getting government work.”

Bleijie said if the premier was serious about reform she would return about $217,000 in donations the Labor party has received from Anacta Strategies since 2019.

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Steven Miles has slammed a probe into the removal and wiping of a laptop from the lobbyist watchdog’s office as a waste of time.

The Crime and Corruption Commission on Tuesday cleared the government and public servants of any wrongdoing in relation to that computer.

The watchdog initially launched its probe last year after then Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov raised concerns data had potentially been lost or leaked after the laptop was taken from her office without her knowledge or permission.

During the CCC investigation the LNP said the laptop was “seized” during a “raid” on Stepanov’s office then “wiped” by senior public servants.

Miles described the the CCC’s probe as a waste of time, attacking LNP figures over their commentary.

“It’s been really unfair on Queenslanders that they’ve been led to believe that there was some kind of conspiracy, and our CCC, that should be focused … spending their time on major crime and corruption, have had to waste their time correcting the record for ridiculous things the LNP have had to say,” he told reporters.

Stepanov finished up in the role on Sunday, with Mr Miles saying the government was trying to recruit a permanent replacement for her.

Cairns-based barrister Mark Glen has been appointed as the acting integrity commissioner in the meantime.

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