Qld premier changes course on allegations | The standard

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The Premier of Queensland admits her response to allegations of interference with official record keeping “could have been done better”, but she is resisting calls for an integrity inquiry. Former State Archivist Mike Summerell says he has repeatedly raised concerns about interference, which could lead to parliament being erred and government record-keeping standards being lowered. He felt he was kicked out of his job in May after he was only offered a three-month extension to his five-year contract. Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said last week that most of Mr Summerell’s concerns had already been addressed, but she ordered her own chief executive Rachel Hunter to investigate them. She now admits the response ‘could have been done better’ and that a QC will investigate Mr Summerell’s claims, rather than Ms Hunter. “Some people think they haven’t been listened to and I don’t want that, I don’t want that,” Ms Palaszcuk told reporters on Monday. “I want them to be able to be heard and I want to make sure the issues they raise are investigated.” The QC inquiry will be held “at arm’s length from the government”, the prime minister said, and they will release their report publicly without any oversight. Ms Palaszczuk also said Mr Summerell’s confidential 2017 report into an email scandal involving Transport Minister Mark Bailey could be made public pending a legal opinion. The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has exonerated Mr Bailey of wrongdoing, but the former archivist said on Sunday the government had been sitting on his report for more than four years. However, the government has rejected calls for a wider integrity inquiry, amid a series of allegations and misconduct complaints. Integrity Commissioner Nikola Stepanov, who announced her resignation, says a laptop was taken from her office and erased, and the Prime Minister’s Office tried to have her fired. The laptop claim is currently being investigated by the CCC, which is itself facing a commission of inquiry into its functions and structure after its botched investigation into the Logan Council. Dr Stepanov, Mr Summerell, the National Liberal Party, Katter’s Australian Party and the Greens want the inquiry to also look into government integrity. LNP leader David Crisafulli accused the government of “systemic corruption” and said if they had nothing to hide they would open their books. “You only have to look at the conga line of respected figures and what the allegations are to realize that this is not an isolated case,” he told reporters on Monday. “It’s culturally and systemically broken and the deviation and resistance that’s coming from the big three in this government suggests to me they have something to hide.” However, commissioners Tony Fitzgerald and Alan Wilson on Monday rejected the request to expand their investigation. “The commissioners have carefully considered this matter and have decided that they will not make such a request,” the commissioners said in a statement. Australian Associated Press

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