Private emails point to issue of corruption: Qld Opposition
LEAKED emails inviting timber industry representatives to raise $11,000 to gain access to LNP ministers highlights the need to protect the state's anti-corruption bodies, the Queensland Opposition says.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said leaked emails about $500-a-head Regional Round Table fundraising dinners show the events "will allow those who attend to shape government policy".
An email from Timber Queensland chief Rod McInnes reveals the organisation would normally ignore such events but felt the access to prominent ministers might make the $11,000 price tag for 22 members to attend worthwhile.
"With an industry plan under Cabinet consideration, a government which is largely sympathetic to our industry, but with Green groups marshalling to oppose our natural forest activity, keeping close to the ministers would be a good strategy," he said.
A reply email from LNP corporate relations manager Jude Bailey noted the $11,000 fee would not be considered a donation because it was "a fee for service activity with due consideration".
Ms Palaszczuk described the dinners as a series of "fee for service" fundraisers, the first held on Monday night at an undisclosed Brisbane venue with Agriculture Minister John McVeigh.
She said LNP ministers would be the "star attraction" at the LNP party hosted dinners and showed the LNP was "only interested in listening to those that can afford to buy their ear".
"This sort of activity is why we need to protect anti-corruption institutions such as the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the bi-partisan Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee," she said.
"If they are designated as LNP activity, then under the Newman Government's own guidelines the Premier and his ministers will not be required to declare them in their published diaries.
"Following on the scandalous use of taxpayers' funds to stage the launch of their health blueprint last month, the new series of dinners show the LNP views government policy as just another source of fundraising.
"If the LNP wants to discuss or develop policies it should do so openly, not behind closed doors by charging people to attend.
"The Premier has already abandoned the question-and-answer sessions at Community Cabinet meetings and has also scrapped the original plans for a series of 'town hall' meetings across the state."
Ms Palaszczuk's comments come after the State Government has consistently levelled fire at the CMC, most recently over an administrative bungle that led to the accidental release of documents relating to the Fitzgerald corruption inquiry.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has just extended an inquiry the Newman Government ordered into the CMC by two weeks.
A spokesman for Premier Campbell Newman said the LNP fundraisers were a matter for the LNP.
"Just last month, the Newman Government met with more than 160 people at Community Cabinet in Maryborough," the spokesman said.
"As part of the Government's commitment to openness and accountability, all portfolio-related meetings are detailed in publicly-released ministerial diaries, something Labor still refuses to do."