Sack or stay? Premier holds Trad’s future in her hands
ANNASTACIA Palaszczuk will be forced to decide whether to sack or save Jackie Trad after Queensland's corruption watchdog confirmed it does not have jurisdiction over breaches of Cabinet rules.
The Crime and Corruption Commission on Monday insisted its dominion over elected officials relates only to "corrupt conduct" and does not extend to transgressions of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
Ms Palaszczuk has repeatedly tried to distance herself from the decision by claiming the CCC would decide whether the Deputy Premier had breached Cabinet conflict-of-interest rules after purchasing an investment property near the $7 billion Cross River Rail project.
The decision on whether or not to keep the powerful Left faction leader in Cabinet shapes as the toughest test of Ms Palaszczuk's Labor leadership amid backbench unrest about the direction of her administration.
The Premier's comments come despite her frequent calls for Newman government ministers to be sacked after falling foul of the code's requirements.
Ms Trad's purchase of a $700,000 property near the state's biggest infrastructure project, which she has ministerial responsibility for, was not declared as required on State Parliament's Register of Member's Interests.
It also appears the Deputy Premier did not declare the interest or recuse herself at Cabinet meeting that could have benefited her property, as required under the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
Ms Palaszczuk last week insisted "I'm quite sure that if the CCC investigates, they will look at those matters".
The CCC is yet to decide whether to formally investigate Ms Trad, a move that would force her temporarily to the backbench.
However, when asked whether its role extended to monitoring and policing the code of conduct, a CCC spokesman confirmed this was not the watchdog's job.
"The CCC's jurisdiction relates to corrupt conduct," he said. "Corrupt conduct is defined in the Crime and Corruption Act 2001."
The Premier on Monday indicated she may take "independent action" against Ms Trad for breaching the code but again insisted she would wait to see what the CCC ruled first.
"I think everyone needs to take a cold shower and just wait until the assessment is done by the CCC," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"When they look at these issues they look at everything. They may look at the issues of the pecuniary interest register. They may look at the Cabinet handbook.
"Then I will look at whatever the CCC says and then I may take independent action as well."
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said there was no need for Ms Palaszczuk to wait.
"Jackie Trad has breached the Cabinet handbook," she said.
Ms Frecklington said the Premier had promised to get tougher on wayward Cabinet ministers after allowing Mark Bailey to remain a minister after he broke the rules.
"But now when Jackie Trad, the most powerful politician in Queensland, breaches the code, Annastacia Palaszczuk has thrown her hands up in the air and said 'don't look here'," she said.