News

MP under fire for accusing candidate of leasing hypocrisy

CREATING CONTROVERSY: Ipswich West MP Sean Choat created a storm after accusing Labor candidate Jim Madden of hypocrisy for leasing his law offices.
CREATING CONTROVERSY: Ipswich West MP Sean Choat created a storm after accusing Labor candidate Jim Madden of hypocrisy for leasing his law offices. FILE

ELECTRICAL Trades Union (ETU) state secretary Peter Simpson has described it as "one of the stupidest comments" by an elected public official that he has ever heard.

Ipswich West MP Sean Choat has created a storm, which has blown up in his own face, after accusing Labor's Ipswich West candidate Cr Jim Madden of hypocrisy for leasing his law offices from Somerset Regional Council while opposing the LNP's proposed 50 to 99-year lease of the state's power and transmission networks.

"Jim Madden is saying that leases are no good and that a lease is like a sale," Mr Choat said.

"But I've found out he leases his business premises in Lowood off Somerset Regional Council.

"So he's quite happy to be part of an organisation that leases out its assets and is happy to be a lessee of government assets.

"So the question is: If leases are bad then why doesn't he buy his premises?

"If he is absolutely opposed to leasing then he wants to have a look at his own business interests and come clean."

Cr Madden said Mr Choat had his facts wrong for a start, and added that his comments were "a low blow".

"When Queensland Railways pulled out of town in Lowood the council took over all of the land they occupied," Cr Madden said.

"But the railways had this weird arrangement where they'd lease land to people and allow them to put a building on the land.

"I lease the land my building stands on, but I own the building. So Mr Choat has his facts wrong."

Other businesses that surround Cr Madden's also sign a land lease with council.

"He (Mr Choat) is trying to say there is some hypocrisy in me and the Labor Party opposing asset sales when I happen to lease the land my building is situated on from Somerset Regional Council," Mr Madden said.

"But to try and draw that inference is ridiculous.

"Hundreds of thousands of businesses in Australia lease their premises and a good percentage of those would lease them from government organisations. It is the way business operates.

"That is a completely different issue to wholesale asset sales by a way of 99-year lease.

"When the LNP originally started talking about asset sales, poles and wires weren't an issue. But the minute they talk about leasing, then poles and wires came on the agenda.

"Mr Choat is not just drawing a long bow. If this is the only thing he can find to criticise me on it is a low blow. What sort of brain explosion did this come from?"

Mr Simpson said Mr Choat's comments showed "he doesn't know what he is on about".

"That is one of the stupidest statements I have heard. The man is an imbecile," Mr Simpson said.

"In South Australia under the 99-year lease arrangements, if the new lessee works on any part of the network it becomes theirs for the life of a lease. So if a private company replaces a pole, that becomes their property.

"Over the 99 years everything becomes their property."

"What (State Treasurer) Tim Nicholls is now saying is that after the election they will work out the details of the leases.

"But people are going to get sucked in. We can see what has already happened in South Australia.

"Choat should understand that, because we sent him a report that explains it. But clearly he doesn't understand."

Topics:  asset sales, editors picks, electrical trades union, jim madden, privatisation, sean choat




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

OPINION: Pauline Hanson supporters deserve a voice

SPEAKING OUT: Pauline Hanson is a love or hate figure who is sure to spark controversy.

My Two Cents with QT journalist Adam Davies

Ipswich the place to fill up the tank

RELIEF: Coffs Harbour fuel costs have remained fair in the lead-up to the long weekend.

RACQ benchmark fuel price near you

Blues under most pressure after selection gamble

Anthony Breeze

NSW can still win State of Origin game one

Latest deals and offers

Cameron Smith talks about 37 Origins

Cameron Smith, the most Origin games by a Queenslander.

Qld Captain Cameron Smith talks about his record-breaking 37 Origin appearances.

Winternats New Sponsor

The Ipswich City Council has taken over as the major sponsor for the 2016...

Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce tour Rockhampton sweet potato farm

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce visit a...

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked

Caloundra’s former Centrepoint Buffet site up for sale

FOR SALE: The home of the old Centrepoint Buffet

Restaurant fined for unhygienic practices closed months ago