Jackie Trad might have exited State Cabinet, but the Opposition still has questions it says Queenslanders deserve to have answered.
Jackie Trad might have exited State Cabinet, but the Opposition still has questions it says Queenslanders deserve to have answered.

Trad texts the LNP’s next target

OPPOSITION Leader Deb Frecklington has called for text messages between the former treasurer and a senior education bureaucrat to be released, claiming more questions needed to be answered amid a corruption probe.

It comes after a Right to Information request revealed text messages between Jackie Trad and the Education Department's deputy director-general Jeff Hunt between April and June last year.

Mr Hunt was stood aside on Monday amid a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into the recruitment process for the principal of the new Inner City South State Secondary College in Ms Trad's electorate of South Brisbane.

Some of text messages, released to the Opposition, do not relate to the school, with the others redacted on the grounds they would "reveal a consideration of Cabinet" and other budgetary matters.

Ms Frecklington yesterday called on Education Minister Grace Grace to front the media over the school scandal, which saw Ms Trad resign from Cabinet at the weekend.

Ms Trad has denied any wrongdoing.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington with deputy Tim Mander. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington with deputy Tim Mander. Picture: Dan Peled/AAP

But Ms Grace yesterday refused to answer several questions from The Courier-Mail, instead repeating the appointment of a principal was an operational matter independently handled by the department without involvement from herself or her office.

"I have no role in the appointment of a principal and consequently I am not informed at any stage during the department's processes or deliberations on those matters," she said.

"As the matters raised in your inquiry are being investigated by the CCC, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further."

LNP education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie told Parliament in February the Opposition had received a tip-off alleging there were text messages between Mr Hunt and Ms Trad, and that he would be referring the matter to the CCC and lodging an RTI request.

It came after Mr Bleijie last November referred allegations that Ms Trad had interfered in the appointment of the school principal to the CCC.

Ms Trad has previously ­denied she had anything to do with the decision to appoint Kirsten Ferdinands instead of Tracey Cook - who had been the frontrunner - following a meeting she had with Ms Cook.

When asked if it was unusual that Ms Trad was texting the deputy director-general, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said yesterday: "I don't know the circumstances there.

"They're matters for her, but these matters are all before the CCC.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday. Picture: Liam Kidston
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday. Picture: Liam Kidston

Ms Palaszczuk again said Ms Trad would not be brought back into Cabinet this term, even if she was cleared by the CCC, and would not say if there would be a path for her to the front bench after the election.

The Premier also said she stood by a statement Ms Grace released on Tuesday, in which the Education Minister insisted the appointment of a principal was an operational matter independently handled by the Department of Education.

"There is an investigation by the CCC and I would actually want the CCC to get on and do that job," she said.

When asked if she had spoken to Ms Trad, Ms Palaszczuk said: "I have only spoken to her on the weekend."
Ms Frecklington said Queenslanders deserved answers.

"What we've seen is more chaos and confusion from the Palaszczuk Government," she said.

Originally published as Trad texts the LNP's next target



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