Bombshell text messages unearthed as part of a corruption probe into Annastacia Palaszczuk’s former chief of staff.
Bombshell text messages unearthed as part of a corruption probe into Annastacia Palaszczuk’s former chief of staff.

The damning Barbagallo texts uncovered by CCC

Bombshell text messages have been unearthed as part of the Barbagallo investigation, which the corruption watchdog says "clearly create the perception" he intended to use his position as chief of staff to help Fortress Capstone advance its agenda.

The Crime and Corruption Commission has released its report into former chief of staff David Barbagallo and allegations he engaged in corrupt conduct by misusing his position to obtain $267,500 in taxpayer funding for his company Fortress Capstone and an app it was developing.

The text messages seized as part of the investigation included one where he asked the CEO of Fortress Capstone whether there was anything he should "get Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to tell Royal Carribean (sic)" while she was on a trade mission to New York in 2018.

The exchange began on 16 February, 2018:

BARBAGALLO 3.10pm: (CEO) is there anything you want me to get the Premier to tell Royal Carribean (sic) when she visits them next week in New York

CEO at 3.29pm: I'll put a few thoughts down and get back to you

CEO at 5.18pm 20 February: I've attached a slide pack. Hope I'm not too late.

The corruption watchdog's report noted one of the members of a US CEO delegation while the Premier was in Washington was the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

But according to the report, the former Deputy Chief of Staff to the Premier, who was also on the trade mission, told investigators Ms Palaszczuk did not meet with any cruise industry representatives.

A similar text message exchange occurred on 6 August, 2018, which is detailed in the report:

BARBAGALLO at 8.46am: (CEO), I understand the CEO of Carnival is in town next week … Were you aware of this? db

CEO at 8.58am: No I wasn't - carnival Corp or Carnival Cruiselines? I feel like we have been close so many times with carnival but all roads lead us back to their internal app team who then squash it … still if we could crack them the upside is huge. What were you thinking? If I gave you a 4 page printed slide deck can you get it in front of him?

Mr Barbagallo told the CCC the February text exchanges were "in relation to the cruising industry generally".

In regards to the August messages, he told the watchdog he "took no steps to facilitate a meeting with, or provide information to, the CEO of Carnival".

Originally published as The damning Barbagallo texts uncovered by CCC