Qld transport minister stood down over email probe


Crime and Corruption Commission concern about personal account sees Bailey step away

Qld transport minister stood down over email probe
Mark Bailey has stood aside

 

Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey has had to relinquish his responsibilities over a private email concerns.

The use of a private email server by the minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and minister for Energy and Water Supply came to attention of the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) after allegations he had "used his personal email account to engage in negotiations with the Electrical Trades Union that would amount to corrupt conduct".

"In reviewing the emails, the CCC did not identify any evidence to support allegations Minister Bailey had used his personal email account to engage in negotiations with the Electrical Trades Union that would amount to corrupt conduct," the CCC says.

But it did find that some emails may count as part of the public record and the treatment of them be an Office of State Archives responsibility under the Public Records Act, which prohibits others destroying them.   

"I met with Mark Bailey tonight and I have asked him to stand aside as Minister pending the outcome of the State Archivist investigation into his deactivation of his personal email account," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

"The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has stated ‘as the only conduct the CCC considers raises a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct relates to the treatment of public records, the CCC has referred the matter to the State Archivist for investigation.’

"Mr Bailey has assured me he will fully cooperate with the State Archivist’s investigation.

The acting arrangements for Mr Bailey’s portfolio responsibilities are to be announced today.

Bailey says he made the move to step aside because he wants to avoid the issue being "an unnecessary distraction from the good work and achievements of the Palaszczuk Government.

"I stand by my integrity and look forward to the resolution of this investigation which I hope will be carried out as quickly as possible."

The CCC has also stated that it "identified during its review of the emails a number of other ministers using private email accounts. No corrupt conduct was identified."

It notes that its jurisdiction is limited to conduct that meets the definition of corrupt conduct in section 15 of the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 and an element as it relates to elected officials is that the conduct must, if proved, be a criminal offence.

The CCC views the use of a personal email account for ministerial purposes as a breach of both the Queensland Ministerial Handbook and the Ministerial Information Security Policy. 

As these breaches are not criminal offences, they are not in the CCC’s jurisdiction, but it warns that the use of private email addresses by any member of parliament or public servant for official business "lacks transparency and is a corruption risk".

 "The Department of Premier and Cabinet has been directed, in accordance with the CCC’s recommendation, to develop ‘further explicit and formal advice to Ministers regarding the requirement that they use their ministerial email address for all ministerial businesses’," Palaszczuk says.

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