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Sacked media adviser stands by Bruce Flegg allegation

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said Bruce Flegg's decision to resign as Housing and Public Works Minister was the "right thing" to do.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said Bruce Flegg's decision to resign as Housing and Public Works Minister was the "right thing" to do. Ava Benny-Morrison

UPDATED 6:37pm: The man instrumental in Minister Bruce Flegg's demise believes scrutiny of his damaging allegations has served Queensland well.

Sacked media adviser Graeme Hallett said Dr Flegg's actions were not for corruption or personal gain but simply "politically and administratively inept".

"The Westminster system demands that Parliament must not be misled," he said in a statement.

"I stand by my allegation that the former Minister mislead the Budget Estimates Committee in relation to the tabling of a grossly inaccurate lobbyist register document."

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Mr Hallett said he had provided further evidence to the Courier-Mail proving Dr Flegg and his sacked chief of staff Fraser Stephen contravened Premier Campbell Newman's direction relating to right to information.

Mr Newman ordered recently all Right to Information requests be handled by independent officers rather than ministerial staffers.

Mr Hallett claims Mr Stephens appointed one of Dr Flegg's staffers to carry out the RTI role.

"Neither…the Flegg office staffer ordered to do this job by Fraser Stephen and me ever had any knowledge of the Premier's edict and were deceived," he said.

"I welcome the Premier's comment reported this afternoon at his press conference that it remained to be seen whether allegations leveled against Dr Flegg by his former media advisor would be proven."

 

EARLIER: Premier Campbell Newman believes Housing and public Works Minister Dr Bruce Flegg did the right thing in resigning.

Addressing media this afternoon after Dr Flegg announced his resignation to State parliament, Mr Newman sang his praises before admitting the senior minister had made the right choice.

"He has done the right thing," he said.

"I think he has acted with a great deal of courage and integrity.

"What has happened is he has taken accountability for the distraction he has caused the Government."

Mr Newman said Dr Flegg only tendered his resignation 20 minutes before Parliament started today.

He said he has not had a chance to look at who would replace Dr Flegg, who will remain as the Moggill MP.

Mr Newman paid tribute to Dr Flegg as a decent person who did a very good job as Minister.

 

PREVIOUSLY: Housing Minister Bruce Flegg's resignation comes after he discovered additional emails in his office he attributed to a "sloppy administrative oversight".

Dr Flegg claimed he was not aware of the matters and they did not represent any misdoing on his, his staff or anyone's behalf.

"They were administrative oversights or if I could put it that way, sloppy administration," he said.

"It does not have to be something that you have done yourself or known about yourself. If you hold the office of a minister you have a responsibility over those matters.

"Not any of these matters involved any personal gain for any person. Not one of these matters had any impact on the life or well-being of a single Queenslander."

After a minute of highlighting his achievements and explaining the oversights, he could not avoid the inevitable any further.

"Madame Speaker you might guess from my demeanor today that I am tendering my resignation to the Premier," he said.

"I want everybody in this place to understand fully I am taking that action.

"The Premier has not asked me or approached me in anyway about that."

In his parting words Dr Flegg urged the political debate to focus on things that really mattered, not "political trivia".

"I would say and hope that the Premier is given the opportunity that the media, commentarians and others know the difference between something that is trivial and something that really matters in the lives of Queenslanders," he said.

"I have been very, very proud to serve with my colleagues and all other matters aside and with great sincerity I can tell the Ministers they are a fabulous cabinet of ministers and people need to give them a go - not get carried away by nonsense and political trivia.

"Let's discuss in this state things that matter, like the people that are homeless, like the people that need to get into hospitals like the people that need police because this government will deliver it for them."

Premier Campbell Newman issued a statement accepting the resignation.

"Dr Flegg knows I expect the highest standards from my Ministers and that there is a level for which they must perform, and as such has tendered his resignation," Mr Newman stated.

Mr Newman said his government was committed to accountability and Dr Flegg showed great integrity "by taking ultimate responsibility for shortcomings in his Ministerial office."

"Dr Flegg has done an exemplary job over the past eight months to introduce significant public housing reforms and start tackling the massive public housing waiting list Labor left behind," Mr Newman said in a statement.

"He approached this difficult task with vigour and energy, and the public housing reforms he introduced will leave a lasting legacy for all Queenslanders.

"However, it has become apparent that difficulties within his office are distracting the Government from the very important task of getting Queensland back on track by growing a four pillar economy and revitalising front line services.

"It is now beyond doubt there are serious shortcomings with the governance and administration of his office."

 

BREAKING 2.20pm: Housing minister Bruce Flegg has resigned this afternoon following accusations he misled parliament.

In Parliament at 2pm, Dr Flegg said he was not prepared to be the person, as a result of attacks on him, that caused damage to the government's image.

As his voice began to break Dr Flegg paid tribute to his fellow Ministers and said Queensland had a "fabulous cabinet of ministers" that people needed to give a go.

The Moggill MP's resignation comes after his sacked media adviser alleged on Tuesday Dr Flegg misled parliament about how many contacts he had with his lobbyist son and lied about being in his electorate when he was really working at a medical surgery.

Premier Campbell Newman told Parliament Dr Flegg demonstrated incredible dignity and a great sense of honour in the way he took responsibility of the administrative failings in his own office.

"I am proud of him," he said.

"Proud of him for coming in here for having the courage to deliver the address he just did."

Dr Flegg is the second minister to depart the Newman government cabinet with Gympie MP David Gibson quitting as police minister shortly after being sworn in as a result of unlicensed driving revelations.

Dr Flegg, who plans to stay on as an MP, told Parliament the decision to quit was his alone.

"I am taking that action. The Premier has not asked me or approached me in any way about that," he said.

He criticised the media and commentators for focusing on "trivia".

Should Bruce Flegg have resigned?

This poll ended on 17 November 2012.

Yes. Ministers need to be held to account for mistakes. - 74%

No. It was a minor matter in the scheme of things - 25%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  bruce flegg, campbell newman, resignation




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