Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been cleared of wrongdoing in an integrity ruling over her private email use.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been cleared of wrongdoing in an integrity ruling over her private email use.

Premier cleared in private email saga

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will not face parliament's powerful ethics committee over allegations she misled the House when she said she had never used her personal email for official purposes.

Despite Speaker Curtis Pitt ruling that a "reasonable person" could find three emails between hers and Energy Minister Mark Bailey's infamous mangocube account "could be classified as for official purposes", he will not refer the matter for further consideration.

Releasing his ruling on the long-running saga, Mr Pitt said he could also appreciate "a reasonable person could equally validly classify these e-mails as party political activity", as maintained by the Premier.

Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt will not refer the email matter for further consideration. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt will not refer the email matter for further consideration. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN

LNP Integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson wrote to Speaker Curtis Pitt in December alleging Ms Palaszczuk "deliberately misled the House" in 2017 when she was asked whether she had a personal account and had ever used it for official purposes, and answered: "Yes, and no".

The text of four emails were released in March this year by the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee, in which one sent by Ms Palaszczuk mentioned her director-general.

"I have given this a great deal of reflection, and in my considered view, this is a question of semantics which comes down to the subjective and personal classification of what the person answering the question at the time might constitute official purposes," Mr Pitt wrote.

LNP Integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson wrote to Speaker Curtis Pitt in December alleging Ms Palaszczuk “deliberately misled the House” in 2017. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
LNP Integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson wrote to Speaker Curtis Pitt in December alleging Ms Palaszczuk “deliberately misled the House” in 2017. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

In a statement to the Speaker, Ms Palaszczuk conceded there might be different interpretations of what "official purposes" means.

She said it was her honest belief when she told Parliament in 2017 that she hadn't used a private account for business.

"By way of clarification, if that has caused any confusion or misinterpretation, it was unintentional," she wrote.

"Words can mean different things to different people.

"There was no intention on my part to mislead."

The use of private emails has dogged the Premier for months after an email sent to stacia1@bigpond.com from Mr Bailey, which discussed the ideological position of a director-general candidate, was revealed during an explosive Budget Estimates hearing in December.

It was then revealed in February, by the state's corruption watchdog, that Ms Palaszczuk had a second account - apbounce11@gmail.com.

There were three emails sent from Mr Bailey and only one in which Ms Palaszczuk responded to him.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk talks to the media at Government building, Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Gass
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk talks to the media at Government building, Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / John Gass

Ms Palaszczuk then sought taxpayer-funded legal advice from Solicitor-General Gavin Thompson around the saga who found the four messages weren't public records.

This contradicted the State Archivist, who is legislatively responsible for determining public records and who had already decided the emails were public records in 2017.

The Premier has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the emails, including at a fiery press conference when she snapped at reporters and challenged them to put allegations to her.

Opposition integrity spokeswoman Fiona Simpson said honest Queenslanders would see straight through the Premier's defence.

"The Premier says words mean different things to different people but the smugness creeping into her conduct in her third term means problems for our state," she said.

Ms Palaszczuk has denied wrongdoing throughout the saga.

Originally published as Palaszczuk cleared in private email saga



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