Soorley ‘car park cash’ may face CCC investigation

Queensland's corruption watchdog has been asked to investigate allegations that an influential Labor luminary lobbied a senior Palaszczuk Government minister after being handed $2500 cash in a car park.

The Opposition has written to the Crime and Corruption Commission seeking an investigation, insisting the matter included serious claims of illegal lobbying and potential misconduct in public office.

The push for a probe comes after Transport Minister Mark Bailey admitted he was contacted by former lord mayor Jim Soorley about the plight of a restaurateur who was seeking to extend a lease on state-owned land.

Wilson Boathouse owner Neil Jedid has lodged a court claim seeking the return of $2500 that he claims he paid Mr Soorley in a car park to lobby Mr Bailey and then deputy premier Jackie Trad.

 

Former Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley. Picture: Darren England
Former Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley. Picture: Darren England

 

Under Queensland law, lobbyists must be registered with the state's Integrity Commissioner and contact with government officials has to be recorded.

Government board members are also banned from lobbying activities.

Mr Soorley, who was the chair of government-owner power generator CS Energy and not a registered lobbyist at the time, has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

However, Mr Bailey told The Courier-Mail last month that he was contacted by Mr Soorley about Mr Jedid's issues trying to get a new lease at the Manly Boat Harbour.

"Mr Soorley asked me about it and I told him it was a commercial matter between Mr Jedid and my department," he said.

 

Wilson Boathouse owner Neil Jedid has lodged a court claim seeking the return of $2500 that he claims he paid Mr Soorley in a car park to lobby Mr Bailey and then deputy premier Jackie Trad. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese
Wilson Boathouse owner Neil Jedid has lodged a court claim seeking the return of $2500 that he claims he paid Mr Soorley in a car park to lobby Mr Bailey and then deputy premier Jackie Trad. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese

 

Ms Trad denied she and Mr Soorley ever had a conversation about the issue.

However, in a letter to CCC chair Alan MacSporran, Opposition justice spokesman David Janetzki asked the watchdog to investigate why Mr Bailey did not report the alleged lobbying.

"Mr Bailey should have known that Mr Soorley had deregistered as a lobbyist given he appointed Mr Soorley to be chair of CS Energy," he wrote.

Mr Janetzki said the Integrity Commissioner was not empowered to investigate and failing to report such activities could be misconduct in office.

Mr Bailey branded the CCC referral "an obvious political stunt from a desperate LNP".

"I have acted appropriately at all times," he said. "I'm unsure what advantage the LNP is asserting anyone has received."

 

 

Originally published as Soorley 'car park cash' may face CCC investigation

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